Category Homeowners Insurance

FEMA to Review Every Sandy Flood Claim

Sandy-Second Summer Buyouts

Wayne Parry/APIn this 2014 photo, heavy machinery tears at the roof of a house in Sayreville N.J. that was damaged by Superstorm Sandy.

TRENTON, N.J. — Federal Emergency Management Agency officials have agreed to reopen and review every flood insurance claim filed by Superstorm Sandy victims.

The review will involve approximately 144,000 claims and not limit corrective action to 2,200 that are currently in litigation.

The announcement comes following allegations of fraud involving the way some insurance companies assessed damage.

Sens. Robert Menendez and Cory Booker of New Jersey and Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York met with FEMA administrator Craig Fugate on Wednesday.

Those who filed claims will receive letters from FEMA about the new review process...

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Get Aid After Superstorm Sandy? FEMA May Want It Back

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John Minchillo/APGary Silberman holds a copy of letter that identifies himself as a tenant outside his parent’s home that was destroyed by Superstorm Sandy in Lindenhurst, N.Y. After receiving nearly $17,000 in assistance from FEMA, the agency is demanding a return on the funds.

NEW YORK — After Superstorm Sandy hit the East Coast nearly two years ago, the federal government quickly sent out $1.4 billion in emergency disaster aid to the hurricane’s victims.

Now, thousands of people might have to pay back their share.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is scrutinizing about 4,500 households that it suspects received improper payments after the storm, according to program officials and data obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request...

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Check FEMA flood maps now before flood insurance rates rise

FEMA flood insuranceWhile residents and businesses of Rhode Island and Connecticut are looking to FEMA for help after flooding, those in California are screaming because new FEMA flood maps may mean they have to buy flood insurance for the first time. FEMA is updating flood hazard maps nationwide. After the update, if your home is deemed in a high flood risk area, you could be required to buy flood insurance.

Most mortgage companies will not let you close on a home without flood insurance if your home is deemed by FEMA to be in a flood area. If you are determined to be in a flood area after the purchase and you don’t get flood insurance, mortgage companies can buy it for you.

You definitely won’t have a choice if your loan is backed by the federal government — Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or the FHA — and you’re...

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Hoarders, beware: Homeowner’s insurance could be pulled

%image_alt%Are you a hoarder? If so, your homeowner’s insurance could be canceled or your rates could be raised.

Often, insurers don’t know if you like to hoard because they don’t inspect the home on the inside at the time the insurance is written. They just take pictures of the outside of the property and, if it looks good, write the policy. Sometimes they don’t find out that someone has a problem with hoarding until a claim is filed.

At the time a claim from a hoarder is filed, the “claim would be paid according to contract,” according to Dick Luedke of State Farm, and most contracts do not exclude hoarding.

So your claim would likely be paid, but then the problems could start...

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Oklahoma’s Tornado Tragedy Could Send Your Insurance Costs Higher

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The tornado that devastated Moore, Okla., this week reminded everyone of how important it is to protect yourself from the potential financial impact of natural disasters. But as essential as homeowners’ insurance is, catastrophic events like this also make it more likely that you’ll end up having to pay more for that protection.

Higher Rates Have Already Been Coming
One reason insurance premiums are subject to government regulation is to protect policyholders from potential price-gouging from insurers. Yet regulators are also aware of the fact that if they force rates to remain low, insurers won’t be profitable and will go out of business, destroying the vital insurance market.

In recent years, a number of high-profile disasters — including two major East Coast hurricanes an...

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11 Secret Ways to Save on Your Homeowners Insurance

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You know you need homeowners insurance, but what you may not know is how many different types of discounts that your carrier offers. According to Bankrate.com, there are at least 11 types — and chances are, most will be a surprise to you.

That’s because, unless you seem like you’re about to jump ship and hand your money over to someone else, an insurance agent has no incentive to tell you about them. Agents typically are paid commissions on policies, so the more you pay, the more they make.

“They don’t really want to give that information out,” Crissinda Ponder, Bankrate.com insurance analyst, told DailyFinance. “They don’t have to, either. Some homeowners might not know they need to be asking these questions. It’s up to consumers to take the initiative.”

There are two main ...

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Simple Tip Can Save You Big on Homeowners Insurance

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Answer: If your deductible is $500 now, increasing it to $1,000 can lower your premiums by up to 20 percent. Most insurers offer much higher deductibles, too, which is a popular strategy for people who have enough money in emergency funds to cover potential costs. Raising your deductible is a good way to reduce your premiums, and it makes you less likely to file small claims that could result in a rate hike.

At Chubb, about half of the wealthiest customers choose a deductible of $10,000 to $50,000. “For homes here in Malibu that are valued at $10 million to $25 million, having a $25,000 deductible isn’t out of the ordinary at all,” says Derek Ross, president of Kulchin Ross Insurance Services, an independent agency in Tarzana, Calif.

The higher the deductible, the bigger the...

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Housing Bubble 2.0? Cheap Financing Comes Back Into Style

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Most Americans remember all too well the housing bust and subsequent financial crisis, which left millions of homeowners owing more on their mortgages than their homes were worth and made it nearly impossible for many people to sell without taking huge losses. In the past five years, housing prices have recovered considerably, but tougher lending standards have left many would-be homeowners unable to buy. That’s the rationale behind the latest move from government-sponsored mortgage-lending enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that opens the door to buyers getting into the home of their dreams with as little as 3 percent down.

Most policymakers see encouraging home ownership as a positive thing...

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Better not pout, better not cry if homeowner’s insurance covers holiday disasters

%image_alt%You probably wouldn’t send a holiday card depicting the family dog biting the boss. Or one that shows a brand new flat screen falling out of the back of your truck.

While these scenes aren’t ones you’d like to experience at the holidays, experts say it’s wise to keep in mind that accidents (like these, as well as ones similar) do happen. Even at the most wonderful time of the year.

“Holidays mean more guests, more driving, and more new possessions than any other time of year. It’s important to make sure all your presents, parties and travels don’t fall outside your current coverage,” said Tim Gaspar, president of Gaspar Insurance Services in Los Angeles.

It’s also important to make sure you know if any holidays mishaps and disasters are covered by your insurance policy.

Bill Begal is the...

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Just One Claim Could Raise Your Homeowners Insurance 32%

NEW ORLEANS - General views of damage in the Oak Island apartment complex in New Orleans East, Friday, February 24, 2006 in New

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By Krystal Steinmetz

You may want to think twice before filing a claim on your homeowner’s insurance policy. According to a new study from insuranceQuotes.com, filing just one claim — even a small one — can send your premium soaring. Of course, the increase depends on a number of factors, including where you live, insuranceQuotes.com said.

The average premium increase is 9 percent for the first claim. Homeowners in Texas are lucky, their state prohibits a premium boost for the first claim. But if you’re a homeowner in Wyoming, file a claim and prepare to pony up an additional 32 percent for your policy. Ouch.

Homeowners also face soaring premium increases after filing a single claim in Connecticut (21 percent), Arizona (20 percent), New Mexico (19 percent) and Ca...

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