June 25, 2015,
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Amanda Edwards
I & E Insurance Agency
2015 Summer Season starts off with Harsh NJ Weather
(Point Pleasant NJ June 25, 2015)
Though summer has barely started, the weather has been wet and wild effecting coastal properties, especially those bordering the Gulf of Mexico which have been hit hard by tropical storms and flooding. Right here in New Jersey, residents of Long Beach Island saw a Tornado hit the beach. While residents of Medford Township saw a good part of the downtown business center hit hard with fallen trees and crushed cars, Federal weather officials hesitate to call it a tornado. Medford Residents meanwhile are having a hard time explaining how several 80 foot trees were picked up and tossed through homes and a 100 year old church, and then over turned cars. As one resident, Millie Rocco said, " If that wasn't a Tornado, then I don't want to see what a real Tornado will do, it picked up my SUV and moved it 50 feet at least, I hope my insurance covers it, cause the roof is crushed!"
Over 200,000 residents around the state lost power, and representatives from Power companies have indicated it will be days before the power comes back on. In fact, some indications have more no coastal residents losing their electric on June 23, than from Hurricane Sandy. The news coverage from the storm is a reminder that NJ residents need to pull out their Homeowners Insurance policies and make sure they have the proper coverage. The average Atlantic Hurricane season can bring around 12 tropical storms to the Northeast according to statistics out from the US Weather service and recently the late spring storms brought minor flooding to streets and basements. The would be Tornado that hit Long Beach Island should be a wake up call to property owners as some communities have seen damage to areas not hit by such problems in years..
But another storm that hit the state homeowners came on April 1st 2015, as extra charges were piled onto Home and Flood Insurance Policies, due to governmental changes. The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014, effective April 1st listed surcharges, including premium increases of up to 18 percent for primary homeowners and 25 percent for those who own vacation homes or rental properties. A new surcharge of $250 will also be added to all none primary homes. "It's not going to be as cheap as it was," said Christine O'Brien, president of the Insurance Council of New Jersey. "I can't emphasize enough that homeowners should talk to their agents about policies and educate themselves about what their options are."
O'Brien noted that the surcharges and premium increases have been put in place because the National Flood Insurance Program is $24 billion in debt, in large part due to losses incurred during Hurricane Katrina and super storm Sandy. Rates charged to many policy holders do not reflect the actual risk of coastal living, and about 20 percent are supported by subsidies that keep rates lower.
Here are three facts about the flood insurance changes that take place as of April 1st 2015—
•• All property owners will be required to pay a surcharge. It's $25 for primary homeowners and $250 for people who own vacation, or secondary homes, as well as commercial property. The money is to be used to help pay down the flood insurance program's debt. It is supposed to be eliminated when all subsidies on policies have disappeared.
"The big increases will hit those who own secondary and vacation homes said Ernest Caponegro, President of I & E Insurance Agency of Point Pleasant , we’re seeing confusion from First time home owners, and those buying for their first time vacation home , they didn’t know the Feds were changing the rules. According to statistics from the Asbury Park Press, there are 23,414 active flood insurance policies in Monmouth County, and 52,986 in Ocean County.
•• Flood insurance rates are going to rise, especially for homeowners with subsidized policies. The Federal Emergency Management Agency, which runs the NFIP, says annual premiums for primary homeowners should not rise more than 18 percent, and most will go up much less than that. But vacation and rental homes and commercial properties will face bigger increases – up to 25 percent, as will homes where there has been more than one incident of flooding. The Flood Insurance Affordability Act modifies 2012 insurance reforms that required even steeper premium increases.
•• Maximum residential deductible limits are being raised from $5,000 to $10,000. The higher deductible policies are expected to be up to 40 percent cheaper, but would likely have to approve by your lender, according to insurance experts.
Together with the new rules and the current harsh weather , pull out your New Jersey Homeowners policy and your Flood insurance and review them with your agent. Look for potential gaps in coverage, raise the deductibles if you want to save some money but understand that with higher deductibles, less money will come to you when you file a claim, you will have to meet those deductibles first. More importantly, find a Trusted Choice Indepedent Insurance Agent that looks out for your interest and NOT be captive to any one Insurance company.