From the Forum:
The fact that many homeowners in Queens are still rebuilding and recovering from Sandy, more than a year later, is little surprise given the storm’s historic levels of destruction.
But, what may be surprising is some homeowners’ conclusion that they may have fared better in the end without any flood insurance whatsoever.
Such is the case for Belle Harbor resident Irene Dougherty, who moved to the Rockaways with her husband in 2000.
Dougherty, who is still in the process of rebuilding certain parts of her home, estimated her total damages from the storm in the $50,000 to $60,000 range.
She said she received around $26,000 from her flood insurance – but the majority of that money was used to replace her three sons’ sports equipment and her husband’s tools, which had all been stored in basement. The Federal Emergency Management Agency did not cover any of the basement’s contents or other damages to the room.
Dougherty said that she and most homeowners who carried flood insurance received only about $3,500 from FEMA, mainly as temporary relocation expenses.
Overall, Dougherty said that they didn’t fare as well as other homeowners in the area who had no flood insurance. Many of those people, she said, were entitled to maximum amounts of aid, close to $35,000.
And, once people received the maximum from FEMA, that often helped paved the way for other programs from the state, which could add thousands more.
“For some people in the area Sandy was the best thing that ever happened to them,” Dougherty said, referring to the fact that they had no insurance and were given maximum amounts from FEMA and thus able to rebuild their homes even better than they were before the storm.
“In hindsight, I would have been much better off had I not had flood insurance,” Dougherty said.
“We thought we were doing the responsible thing and now I feel like we were penalized for it.”