Ike Recovery? Not Necessarily…

October 9, 2008

I read today about a Catch-22 for homeowners who, although they are well-insured, have had more than 50 percent of their homes damaged by Ike’s flooding in Galveston.  As Leigh Jones of the Daily News explains, although the insurance covers the cost damage from the storm; it does not cover the actual storm-related costs imposed by government requirements:

We expect the city to find our house is substantially damaged, meaning repairs would cost more than 50 percent of the structure’s value. We thought that would make our home a total loss. We expected to be able to use the full value of our insurance policy to pay off our mortgage and start over.

But I learned today that we will be paid only for damage the storm did, not for the damage city officials do several months later when they require us to tear it down. For us, that means we’ll only be able to pay off a part of our mortgage. We’ll be saddled with the balance as we try either to rebuild or buy another house somewhere else.

A federal official told me today it was not the government’s job to make me whole. I agree. But surely, if I paid for an insurance policy to make me whole, I should get the full value of that policy. We were trying to be responsible. Turns out, that really doesn’t matter.

You read something like this, and you don’t know whether to cry or to slug someone.

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2 Responses to “Ike Recovery? Not Necessarily…”

  1. Amy Musick Says:

    Well i want to help clarify a little bit for you. If you didn’t already know FEMA is who pays out windstorm. You have an insurance agent that sells you the coverage but they are only an agent. Your flood on the other hand does come from your insurance company. This is why you have two agents that come to your house for the two policies. With this said if the city red tags your house and they declare that it must first be torn down and then built back to certain requirements. Then say your insurance says no your house is repairable. Here is where it gets complicated. The city wont give you a permit to make those repairs b/c they say it needs to be torn down. Well you can fight this. Insurance adjusters do not know construction they take a couple of classes and learn the computer program to make up your estimate. So what you need to do is get at least 3 state licensed general contractors to come out and say otherwise. Now if you still hit that wall and there are still issues FEMA/ the city has to offer you full market value of what your house was worth pre-Ike. So if you want to rebuild somewhere else you have that money minus the lot cost to go and rebuild with. Its so confusing but i just want to assure you that there are several options and right now you are just caught in the middle of finger pointing basically. The city is more willing to red tag you and demolish your house than it is to go in and do its homework. So by red tagging you they are buying themselves time. i know this is all really confusing. if you want i have a website ________ and all our contact info is there. We are not soliciting business i really could care less. I am just a BOI that has the knowledge to explain things to you. I feel blessed to have this job because it affords me the opportunity to help anyone who needs it.

  2. robertangelo Says:

    Hi,

    In case it wasn’t clear from my post, it’s not me personally. This was from a post one of the Daily News reporters had on their web site regarding her own experience. If you read through my blog, you’ll see that although I have many connection to the Island, I currently live in Pearland and am not faced with these challenges.

    I will take the liberty of deleting the link to your web site, though, since it’s not really appropriate for a personal blog. Thanks for your comments.


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