Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Local News

July 2, 2013

Property losses should be documented

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — All city residents who suffered property damages due to the June 28 rain storm should take care to catalog their losses for insurance purposes and, possibly, federal reimbursement.

After the flash flooding that struck in all four quadrants of the city last week, residents' primary line of defense against property losses will be homeowners' or renters' insurance.

Most policies don't cover flood damage — flood insurance is a specialty product offered only by the federal government — but according to Mary Murphy of Murphy Insurance Co., Pine Street, special riders on homeowners' insurance policies, covering damages due to sewer backups and sump pump failures, are increasingly prevalent in the industry.

Among her customers, she said, "more have it than do not."

Any property owner who suffered losses due to the storm should get in touch with their homeowners' or renters' insurance provider as soon as possible to learn what losses may or may not be covered, Murphy said.

And before hauling water-damaged stuff out to the curb for trash pickup, be sure to list and photograph the items first, Murphy said. That'll help validate loss claims.

"We're telling (customers) to start cleanup as soon as possible, to prevent mold, and as they're doing that, to list and photograph everything that's been damaged, everything they're throwing away," she said.

The City of Lockport is encouraging property owners to file notices of claim with the City Clerk, to help create a record in the event the Federal Emergency Management Agency approves disaster aid to private property owners. U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., on Tuesday pledged his effort to help persuade F.E.M.A. to sign off on such Individual Assistance.

A notice of claim is a written document listing property losses and approximating repair or replacement values.

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