Senate Approves $50 Billion Hurricane Sandy Relief Bill

Earlier this week, the Senate passed an emergency spending bill which provides $50.5 billion in relief funds to aid citizens of New York and New Jersey who are recovering from Hurricane Sandy.  The bill was passed by the House two weeks ago, and will take effect once approved by President Obama.  The President has issued a statement supporting Congressional efforts to provide Sandy relief, and will likely sign the bill before the end of the week.

The new relief bill passed 62 – 36 after a proposed amendment to offset the cost of the bill by a reduction in discretionary spending (such as defense spending) was rejected.  The bill will provide immediate aid to people whose homes and property were significantly damaged last October when super-storm Sandy ravaged the east coast. 

Other Sandy Relief Legislation

This Sandy relief effort is the second such bill from Congress, following a $9.7 billion bill that allowed the National Flood Insurance Program to increase its funds.  The National Flood Insurance Program, operated by FEMA, exists because insurance policies do not provide coverage for flood damage, which is a common problem after hurricanes.  Individuals whose homes were destroyed by flooding that is not covered by their insurance company can work with FEMA to receive assistance funds to repair their home.  For more information on FEMA flood insurance, click here.

Insurance Needs After Hurricane Sandy

While the federal government continues its efforts to provide aid to victims of Hurricane Sandy, most home and business owners will rely on their insurance policies to cover the cost of their damage.  Because most home and business insurance policies do not cover for flooding, disputes over what damage is covered can arise as obstacles that delay or deny receipt of insurance funds.  Insurance companies will evaluate every claim that is filed, and if an adjuster determines that the damage is caused by flooding then the company will deny or short pay the claim.

Home and business owners faced with the task of working with an insurance company afterwards are not alone.  Insurance resources including public adjusters, insurance policy holders advocate groups, and informative websites offer a wide range of services to individuals preparing to file an insurance claim.  Even with an additional $50 billion in federal money available to residents of the Northeast, property owners will need to be prepared to work with their insurance companies in order to get back on their feet after Sandy.

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