NJ House Raising Information

Good news for victims of Hurricane Sandy. Those who are still fighting with FEMA over their flood insurance claims have been granted more time to appeal their settlements. Considering the hundreds, perhaps thousands, who are still waiting on sufficient money to rebuild, this relief is likely to help many still suffering as a result of the 2012 hurricane.

FEMA issued the announcement in early October 2013, saying it will add another six months to the period during which Sandy-impacted homeowners can file Proof of Loss forms. Those forms are key because they are the first step taken when you appeal your flood insurance settlement. This extension is highly unusual. Previously, the window for such claims has never been longer than a year. Thanks to pressure from New Jersey and New York lawmakers, however, FEMA agreed to the extension.

For homeowners considering NJ house raising to get above future floods, this is especially good news. Many house lifting firms have been booked solid over the last year, and without funding from FEMA claims house raising in NJ seemed like a remote option.

The lawmakers who fought for the extension include Senators Robert Menendez and Jeff Chiesa and Representatives Jon Runyan, Frank LoBiondo, Rob Andrews, Bill Pascrell and Rodney Frelinghuysen, all of whom put their names on a letter to Craig Fugate, FEMA Administrator. The lawmakers, who span both sides of the aisle, argued that many of their constituents have been stuck in in bureaucratic red tape – a typical problem when dealing with government agencies – and are only just starting the recovery process. Facing those issues, they need more time to complete the paperwork.

According to the letter, “we believe that a blanket extension for every homeowner should be in place to ensure a fair and proper process for everyone. To deny these claims based purely on the timing of their paperwork pulls the rug out from underneath homeowners who are relying on their flood insurance policies to repair and rebuild their homes.”

Insurance companies claim upwards of 99 percent of all cases are closed, but to insurance companies “closed” means a check has been issued. Many of those “closed” cases are being actively appealed.

Based on the extension, those who faced losses between October 25, 2012 and November 6, 2012 will now have until the end of April 2014 to appeal their claims. FEMA didn’t shut the door to future extensions, either – though homeowners are cautioned to not take for granted the very real possibility that the deadline is the deadline. That mean for those repairing, rebuilding, doing house lifting NJ and other projects related to the fallout from Superstorm Sandy, the time is now to get your paperwork filed and pursue your flood insurance appeals. The clock very well may be ticking.