WEEKEND EDITION

Left High and Dry by Insurers, Homeowners Reluctantly Borrow Sandy Rebuilding Funds

March 7, 2013 10:28 AM

After Sandy’s floodwaters swept into Catherine Mulholland’s Breezy Point home and destroyed her first floor, her rough calculations led her to expect a check for at least $100,000 from her National Flood Insurance Program policy, which maxes out at $250,000. So she was surprised when she only received $48,000 — just enough, she says, to cover cleanup costs.

“Every human being that I talk to agrees with me that it’s not enough,” she said.

Four months out from Sandy, Mulholland is far from the only one who has found herself in the kind of position she didn’t expect after faithfully paying for flood insurance: stuck with unrepaired damage and left to track down other sources of funding. She got close to $6,000 from FEMA to pay rent elsewhere after the storm, and a few hundred dollars more to help with cleaning.

Before Christmas, she reluctantly accepted a $49,400 U.S. Small Business Administration disaster loan in order to cover the cost of all the other work, including new appliances and fixtures.

Interactive map credit: Michael Sullivan

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