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Finding NYC Homeowners Insurance for Your ‘Foot On the Ground’

Posted on July 13, 2011

A New York insurance broker like Gotham can guide you to the policy you need

The Dakota Apartments, NYC. Photo by 'Fedorbazhenov,' Wikimedia Commons.

If you’ve lived in NYC for a while and have some money, the French term pied-á-terre may be familiar.

It is not a type of pastry. It means, literally, “foot on the ground,” and it refers to a second home, usually smaller than a primary home, in the midst of a big city. A pied-á-terre can be in any city, but the idea is practically custom-made for New York. Think of an affluent, early-retired couple in their 60s — NYC born and raised — who enjoy the peace and quiet of their renovated farmhouse up in Dutchess County but still love to catch Broadway shows on the weekend. So they keep a tidy one-bedroom apartment on the Upper West Side near the park and stay there on Friday and Saturday nights in the fall. That’s a pied-á-terre.

At Gotham Brokerage Co., Inc., we noticed some eyebrow-raising changes in the depressed NYC real estate market this spring. Mainly, we started seeing studio apartments that wouldn’t have sold for less than $1 million five years ago sell for $300,000 or less — and in prime Manhattan locations, too. Not all of these were selling as pieds-á-terre, but plenty were; folks took advantage of lower prices to buy small apartments in dream locations for a relative pittance. Because they aren’t full-time residences, the small size isn’t a big problem.

Later in the spring, bigger apartments, two-bedroom units, started to open up, too. Now, by “open up,” we mean “selling for just under a mil,” but in Upper Manhattan, that qualifies — and makes those apartments perfect for the couple in Dutchess with some money and a longing for a second home in the city.

Those grabbing these killer deals have some NYC insurance matters to think about. Many lower-priced studios are in co-ops that place restrictions on renting, a possible source of income for a pied-á-terre owner, and people buying a place they don’t intend to use as a primary residence need to understand the homeowners insurance New York City demands.

In these cases, having a real NYC insurance broker working for you and helping assemble the right package of coverage for your specific needs makes all the difference. Gotham Brokerage is a family-owned independent NYC insurance brokerage that works with some of the biggest insurance underwriters to provide you with the right coverage at the lowest possible price. What’s more, Gotham is a true NYC insurance resource. We’ve operated in all five boroughs for more than 50 years and sell policies throughout the Tri-State area.

If you’re looking at buying a freshly affordable “foot on the ground” as a second home, Gotham can help you size up your situation and secure the best policy for you and your new investment.