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New York Area Is Not Immune to Wind or Hurricane Damage

Posted on October 13, 2010

Tri-State Owners and Renters Need to Check Their Insurance Policies

Wind damage is not the first peril that comes to mind when thinking about New York City and its suburbs. But it‚Äôs a real threat, and if a storm knocked a big tree limb through a window in your fourth-floor walk-up apartment and water ruined your furniture and electronics, you’d be glad you had an insurance policy that provided coverage.

We’re lucky here because major weather systems such as hurricanes usually don’t hit us full force. Still, we’ve got plenty of experience dealing with what meteorologists call the “remnants,” which can be bad enough: Strong gusts, sheets of rain and unpredictable swirls of wind that can knock you off your feet if you’re not careful.

Damage from an August 2007 storm included this car in Brooklyn.

Damage from an August 2007 storm included this car in Brooklyn.

Damage from an August 2007 storm included this car in Brooklyn.

Now think about what that weather can do to the tree-lined avenues of Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. Heck, think about the tornado that just touched down in Brooklyn a few weeks ago! Think about Hurricane Isabel in 2003, which caused $90 million in damage in New York State, and Hurricane Ernesto in ’06, which downed trees and power lines and left thousands in the city without power. Both of those storms had already weakened, but they still packed some power. And don’t think cool weather means the end of Atlantic hurricane season, which lasts through Nov. 30.

Add to that the winter nor’easters, the summer thunderstorms, the freaky things wind does in the natural wind tunnels between rows of tall buildings, you’ve got some serious risk. A brownstone or other building that’s four or five stories high is especially vulnerable. Such structures are the perfect height for tree limbs and debris to knock out a window in a windstorm. That’s the main reason why insurance companies tend to suspend the binding authority of agents and brokers when a big storm is forecast for the area. Under such conditions, brokers or agents can’t offer a new, temporary policy that holds until the permanent policy takes effect.

The good news is that windstorm coverage is usually standard with most renter’s and home owner’s policies, although it’s always good to check and make sure. What you may not realize is that most policies don’t cover gradual seepage. If your building isn’t waterproofed, and with some cheapo renovation jobs out there, you need to make sure it is, wind-driven rain can gradually leak through cracks in walls and ceilings. If that happens, unless you can prove the storm tore a hole through the roof or wall, you’re out of luck.

Mother Nature can be a formidable foe. Fill out our quote request form or give us a call at the number above to learn more about how we can help you protect you home and valuables from the worst she can throw at you.

Barry Frost, Vice President, Gotham Brokerage

Gotham Brokerage Co., Inc. is a family run insurance brokerage serving New Yorkers for over 50 years. We specialize in the insurance needs for those living in the city and provide a full range of insurance products designed specifically for the city.