Flood Impacts Westchester County; Insurance Companies Can’t Come Up With the Funds to Help

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October 30, 2021

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(TUCKAHOE, NY) — “We can replace furniture, but we can’t replace pictures and memories,” Isabel Brewster of Tuckahoe, New York, said when speaking about all of the damage to her finished basement after Hurricane Ida hit just about one month ago in Westchester county.  Brewster’s basement got hit hard by floodwaters, leading to the destruction of her washing machine, dryer, refrigerator, cabinets, carpet, and hardwood flooring.

“I had to have about a foot of sheetrock ripped out so that my walls could dry. My carpets had to be ripped up, and so did my hardwood floor,” Brewster said when assessing the damage to her finished basement.

Westchester County faced immense damages from the hurricane. The Commercial Observer reported that the hurricane “ caused somewhere between $16 billion and $24 billion in property damage in the northeast.” They also reported that “New York is dealing with about 19 percent of the total destruction.” At least five Westchester residents died due to the floods, said Westchester County Executive George Latimer, according to The Intelligencer. The Eastchester Review reported that “excess of 1,200 residents have suffered damage.” 

Brewster had a company, called Servpro, come to have everything in her basement professionally cleaned and disinfected. “They left large fans and dehumidifiers in my basement for about five days. They only came and picked them up yesterday. It cost us $2,000.” 

Now that the clean-up has started, insurance companies are not being much help, with their first question being, “ did you have flood insurance?”  She did not have flood insurance. 

Isabel only received $10,000 for all of the damage to her basement because that was all they would cover under her homeowner’s insurance because some of the floodwater was from sewage backups. Brewster is estimating that she is going to have close to $15,000 in repairs, and after that Servpro service mentioned, she is only left with $8,000.

When she asked the adjustor how the payout was broken down, he said it was one lump sum and that even though her damage is over the max amount that they can payout, if she were to save receipts from anything she had to re-purchase, they would review it and possibly cover it.  

“ I applied for the FEMA disaster aid, and I have been checking the website daily to see if it was approved, but it still says it is in process.” All in all, Brewster  says she is lucky “ it could have been so much worse.”

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