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“Homeowners living in a low to moderate risk area like Bergen County can expect
to pay an annual premium of between $1500 and $2000 for flood insurance."

Disaster-Proofing Your Home

Following Hurricane Sandy's devastation of the East Coast last October, millions of homeowners were left with damaged houses but no insurance coverage to provide funds to repair the extensive damage. One report estimated that nearly 70 percent of homes experiencing water damage during the hurricane may have had insurance but did not specifically carry flood insurance. Because hurricanes do not normally hit areas that Sandy destroyed, most people owning homes or businesses there did not think they would ever need flood insurance.

However, the National Flood Insurance Program states that close to 25 percent of all water damage claims are filed by people living in regions where a low to moderate flood risk exists. The NFIP also says that expecting FEMA to come through with financial aid in the event of a flood is a mistake. In fact, any funds that flood victims receive to repair homes are usually from low interest rate loans that need repaid. Further, if you own a vacation home, that home is ineligible for FEMA aid.

Should you purchase a flood insurance policy? Representative Robert Hunter of the Consumer Federation of America suggests that homeowners find out from their city planning commission office if their home is less than 10 feet from flood level. If it is, Hunter recommends investing in a flood policy that covers at least $30,000 in damages, around the amount of the average claim.

Damage from Trees
Hurricane Sandy demolished well over 100,000 trees, sending them crashing onto power lines, cars, roofs and buildings and increasing the total amount of damage by several billion dollars. Much of this tree damage could have been prevented if home owners as well as city officials had performed maintenance on potentially ruinous trees that needed trimmed or cut down. While most house insurance policies do take care of any structural damage occuring to a house due to fallen trees, removal of a tree that did not strike the house is not covered and will probably cost the homeowner several thousand dollars to remove.

Reduce potential tree damage by clearing branches away from electrical lines, cutting down dead or dying trees and planting trees made of strong wood (dogwood or hickory), to limit damage caused by falling trees during a hurricane.

Emergency Energy
Homeowners trying to maintain some sort of normal life following Hurricane Sandy ran their gas-powered generators constantly and quickly ran out of gas. Even those who were able to find enough gas to refuel their generators, the cost of keeping one running was too expensive to continue refueling. Energy experts suggest using your generator no more than five hours each day (or less if possible) to conserve energy.

Keep laptops fully charged if you know a hurricane is coming. Later, you can use laptops to recharge dead cellphones when electricity is off. Investing in a cordless charger or external battery pack is also suggested, in addition to having an old-fashioned radio and extra batteries on hand.

Flood insurance is actually quite affordable. Homeowners living in a low to moderate risk area like Bergen County can expect to pay an annual premium of between $1500 and $2000, a small amount when compared to the tens of thousands of dollars in damages that 12 inches of floodwaters can do to your beautiful Bergen County home.

RE/MAX of Tenafly

                    RE/MAX Associates lead agents
                     of competing companies in
                    professional designations which
                 denote specialized training and
               education. They dominate the Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR), Certified Relocation Professional (CRP), Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) and Leadership Training Graduate (LTG) ranks. Read more...

About Orly Chen

  Orly Chen is a leading
Tenafly real estate agent
in Northern New Jersey
specializing in the Bergen
County area. Her
outgoing personality,
honesty and
approachability and
integrity make Orly
one of the most sought-
after agents in the
Northern New Jersey
real estate market

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