Filed Under:Claims, Catastrophe & Restoration

Sandy: The Debate About "Hurricane Deductibles" Begins

Doppler radar image courtesy of Forensic Weather Consultants, LLC.
Doppler radar image courtesy of Forensic Weather Consultants, LLC.

(Editor's Note: This story has been contributed by Howard Altschule, a forensic meteorologist who has appeared on The Today Show and Court TV, as well as The Weather Channel and The New York Times.)

According to NBC News, Gov. Andrew Cuomo stated that New York homeowners will not have to pay “hurricane deductibles” on insurance claims stemming from Hurricane Sandy. Superintendent of Financial Services Benjamin Lawsky said the state told the insurance industry that deductibles weren’t triggered because Sandy did not sustain hurricane-force winds when it hit New York. As a veteran forensic meteorologist, I have worked on numerous hurricane-related lawsuits and insurance claims of this sort, whether the weather system was a “named storm” or not. 

The questions that could arise as a result of this could have significant impact on homeowners or the companies insuring them. 

According to the NBC news report, the deductibles typically range from one to five percent of the home’s insured value. This means, for example, with a five-percent deductible, if a home was insured for $400,000, then the homeowner would have to pay $20,000. In the wake of the enormous damage that was inflicted by Sandy, this would be very significant to many homeowners. 

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