Everyone is looking at this title and they are hitting the snooze button. Home owners insurance is not likely to get buyers or sellers into a tizzy of excitement. I know what you’re thinking. “I’m on this blog to find out about housing prices and cool neighborhoods or to search for homes on-line! I don’t want to read boring stuff like this!” Yep, booooorrrring …..until something happens.
It was early December and I was driving (or TRYING to drive) to an appointment. The traffic was something amazing. Initially I chalked it up to the holidays. White Plains is the shopping capital of Westchester County and traffic can be an issue in December. But this was differenet. Something had happened because the traffic wasn’t moving at all. After zig-zagging around the problem I wended my way to the appointment and forgot about the incident.
Later that day I discovered that a residential fire in the downtown area had been the cause. The address I found in the Journal News didn’t ring any alarm bells, but a couple of days later The White Plains Times had a picture of the building that had been on fire. The Journal News had reported the wrong address. I knew that complex all too well YIKES!!! I had recently sold a unit in this complex! I immediately logged on to my other source of White Plains news the wpcnr (John Bailey’s White Plains Citizen Net Reporter). The complex was was a garden style complex four rows of semi attached buildings. I was hoping my client’s unit was in one of the three unaffected lines. No such luck. I swallowed hard, John Bailey’s description confirmed that my client’s unit was near “ground zero.”
I recalled our discussion on homeowners insurance. Even though it was cooperative I suggested that my client err on the side of caution – I certainly hoped that he had heeded my advice! I called and left a message. I got a text message back that he had not yet gained access to his unit, but that he had indeed taken out a substantial policy on the unit. The fire started in the building next door and the roof of that building was gone. His building was attached and had suffered severe smoke and water damage.
As these things go, my client was quite fortunate. I toured the unit a few weeks later. Had he been one unit closer to the fire, the story would have been different. The primary damage was from water, Nevertheless, when all was said and done, the bill for repairs amounted to roughly $10,000 – all of it covered. Other resident’s weren’t so lucky. The building where the fire had originated has to be gutted and rebuilt. A couple of these residents had not maintained their policies. For those with good coverage, the insurance companies had to pony up. It will be months before they are back “home.”
Later I spoke to a long time family friend, Brian Wallach owner of the Brian Wallach Agency. I buy my homeowners insurance through him as do many White Plains residents. Brian spoke briefly about the importance of homeowner’s insurance. “What happens in a fire? Smoke and water damage can be very expensive. But that’s only the beginning. Where do you go while your home is being rebuilt?”
The pictures I took were after rebuilding had started. The building undergoing rebuilding is still off-limits to its residents. So…. a note to all home owners and all home buyers. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE SUFFICIENT INSURANCE.
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