Categories: Hoboken Condos
From City Hall:
In a meeting with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, who President Obama has tasked with leading the Sandy recovery effort, and Senator Robert Menendez, Mayor Zimmer stressed the need to address the inequity in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The program provides only limited benefits to those who live in garden level apartments, despite requiring that they pay for coverage. In addition, since NFIP only covers individuals, damage to common areas is typically not covered because they are the responsibility of condominium associations, which are registered non-profits. This is problematic for the building’s residents since the individual property owners are ultimately responsible for the condominium association expenses.
Secretary Donovan noted that he and the federal government are working to ensure that better and more assistance becomes available, and that in order to do so, everyone that was affected needs to register with FEMA.
Mayor Zimmer has also raised her concerns with Vice President Joseph Biden during his recent visit to Hoboken and with senior officials from FEMA.
Hoboken residents are learning more about flood insurance than ever before – and finding out that often times they are paying for insurance but not receiving coverage. This has to do with Elevation Certificates, Base Flood Elevation, and a lot more technical FEMA jargon. What it basically comes down to, is that, according to Floodsmart.gov, the Official Site of the National Flood Insurance Program, you are not typically covered for much damage to parts of the building below the lowest level of “living space.
If you have a basement with storage bins, or a garage and lobby on the first floor with apartments above, the basement and lobby & garage level, the contents of the basements and improvements made to the lobby may not covered by flood insurance.
Renters Need Insurance Too
I am shocked at how many owners in Hoboken do not have ordinary homeowner’s insurance policies. The liability risk is huge. Take, for example investors, many of whom bought their units long ago and have paid of their mortgage. They often don’t have insurance on their units. This is inexcusable. Anyone with a mortgage has insurance because the lender requires it. Why do you think the bank requires it? It’s the prudent thing to do.
Even if you rent, you should have a renters policy to cover the contents of the apartment (your clothes, computers, furniture, etc.) and to protect you from liability claims. What happens when a delivery guy walks inside your door, slips and falls and cracks his head open? It’s not expensive – get insurance!
It is unfortunate that it often takes a disaster like Sandy to make people realize they have been irresponsible. It is not too late. If you are on the board of your condo, it is time to take a close look at your current association policy. If you are a homeowner, call your agent and go over your coverage. If you rent, call and agent and get coverage if you don’t have it. People may call Sandy a once in a hundred year storm but I bet the next one will be a lot sooner than that.