What is a basement? For superstorm victims in NJ, the definition may be expensive

  • Article by: KATIE ZEZIMA , Associated Press
  • Updated: January 20, 2013 - 1:48 PM
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mkuldaJan. 21, 13 9:18 AM

While I do feel very bad for Mrs. Sobolev and her family and everyone else who suffered losses in the storm, she simply can't play the ignorance card. Her statement that "no one told us about this basement thing" is just not true. All of the coverage terms and all of the definitions are clearly spelled out in the policy that she was delivered. Had she read the policy, then she would have known exactly what was covered and what was at risk. The basement definition is clearly spelled out in the policy as any room who's floor on all four sides is below the grade. Had she read her policy she would have known that and would have known she was at risk for not having coverage for personal possessions. That's a risk you take when choosing to live in that situation. What would be better is for FEMA to come up with a way to better define and better cover living areas that are below grade and are used for primary living accomodations. The rule is in place to help prevent insurance fraud. If people knew they could get coverage for personal items if their basement flooded, then if the flood came, they'd throw all their old stuff down in the basement and try to use insurance to get all new stuff, which would rip off the system. But a better option by FEMA would be a great first step toward lessons learned here.

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