Arthur Chew Consulting, LLC

Tips on recovering from Hurricane Sandy

Navigating the path to restoring your home from flood damage can be complex. There are many things to know to be sure you are doing all you can to get what you deserve. Here are some frequently asked questions to get you started. 

  • I heard that there are new flood elevation maps.  What is the new flood elevation for my house? 

    You can get your new flood elevation here. Scroll down and enter your address.  The new elevations are on a new datum that is about 15" lower when compared to the old elevations listed on your flood certificate (e.g. old elevation was 10' now it is listed as 9').  The new 9' elevations equates to a 10' 3" on the old scale.

  • I heard that you can get a grant from FEMA to raise my home.  How do I do this? 

    Whether your home was damaged or not by flood waters during Hurricane Sandy, you may be eligible for a grant to bring your home up to current flood standards.  With every disaster FEMA sets aside up to 15% percentage of the damage costs for hazard mitigation grants.  The total value of these grants has yet to be determined for Hurricane Sandy but the process has been established.  Contact the municipality that your property is located in and ask about applying for a hazard mitigation grant to elevate your home.  Your municipality must apply for the grant on your behalf by February 1, 2013.  If your home was damaged by flood waters, you must first utilize all the funds provided through your flood insurance policy before being eligible for additional grant funds.

  • My home had flood damage during Hurricane Sandy.  Do I have to elevate my home?

    If the repairs and upgrades that you plan to make to your home exceed 50% of the value of the home, you are required to bring your home up to the current construction codes which could include raising your home, depending on the current elevation of the structure.  Your flood insurance policy has a clause in it for increased cost of compliance (ICC) which could provide you with up to $30,000 for costs related to bringing your home up to current construction codes.

  • How is the value of my home determined for the comparison to the repair/upgrade costs? 

    The value of your home is shown on your tax bill as the “Improvement Value”.  This value is a portion of the total value of your property and is usually less than your land value in barrier island communities.  You can also hire an appraiser to provide you with a appraisal for the value of the improvements on your property.

  • What repair/upgrade costs should I include when making the comparison to the 50% value of my home?

    The following items shall be included in the repair/upgrade costs:  All structural elements (spread or continuous foundation footings and pilings, monolithic or other types of concrete slabs, bearing walls, tie beams, trusses, floors, and ceilings), attached decks and porches, interior partition walls, exterior wall finishes (brick, stucco, siding, painting, and moldings), windows, doors, reshingling or retiling a roof, hardware, interior finishes (tiling, linoleum, stone, carpet over subflooring, drywall, painting, stucco, plaster, paneling, marble), bathroom tile and fixtures, kitchen cabinets, bathroom cabinets, utility cabinets, all utility and service equipment (HVAC equipment, plumbing and electrical services, light fixtures, ceiling fans, security systems, built in kitchen appliances, central vacuum systems, water filtration-conditioning-recirculation systems), demolition costs for storm damaged building components, labor and other associated costs associated with moving or altering undamaged building components to accommodate improvements or additions, overhead and profits.

    Items excluded from the repair/upgrade costs:  plans and specifications, survey costs, permit fees, post-storm debris removal and clean up, landscaping, sidewalk, fences, yard lights, swimming pools, screened pool enclosures, detached structures (garages, sheds, and gazebos), and irrigation systems.

  • My insurance adjuster is requesting a letter the municipality as proof that as proof that I am required to elevate my home.  How do I get this letter? 

    Obtain costs to repair/upgrade your home that include itemized estimates from licensed contractors or other professional estimators in the construction industry.  Make copies of all the estimates along with a copy of your tax bill.  Then contact city hall in your town to determine who within the municipal government should receive these copies so that they can provide you with the letter you need.

  • My home was more than 50% damaged.  What will happen if I do not elevate my home? 

    Your flood insurance may increase significantly, damage during a future flood event may not be covered by your insurance, or a potential future owner of your home may not be able to obtain flood insurance for the property which will prevent sales of the property to individuals who need a mortgage to purchase your home.  This could negatively impact the value of your property.

This list is far from exhaustive. Call Arthur Chew today at (609) 992-8409 to set up a time to discuss your specific situation and needs.

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