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Hurricane Sandy: A reality check about flood insurance

Flood_11012_optBY WARREN BOROSON
NEWJERSEYNEWSROOM.COM
BOROSON ON MONEY

The first dumb thing I did regarding that nasty Frankenstorm, Sandy, was not buying flood insurance.

I figured that if I lived in flood-prone Wayne I would need it. But New Milford? Besides, flood insurance is pretty expensive.

I was away when the hurricane threatened. But my apartment-house agent phoned to urge me to move my car from the parking lot. The lot, she said, would probably get flooded, as it had in the past.

Not only that, but she urged me to raise up everything valuable in my apartment. Like carpets.

Because I was far away during Frankenstorm, in Woodstock, N.Y., I wound up paying a towing service $100 to move my car to higher ground. And, of course, it was too late to buy flood insurance. Fortunately, no water came into my apartment, and even the parking lot remained comfortably above water.

To See What Hurricane Sandy Did to the Jersey Shore, Click Here for ABC News' Amazing 'Before and After' Graphic

Onto my next mistake.

I needed to get flood insurance now, so I checked my current renters’ policy, which came through American Bankers Insurance Company of Florida.

No phone number on my policy. Curious.

So I Googled the company — and found 17 customers had left comments. My favorite was a succinct: “F*&^ this company.”

Other comments:

  • Why the F don't they have a functioning website.
  • Terrible insurance company!
  • Although the lowest HOMO Insurance I found, they won't return phone calls. Yeah, I have been with them for 3 years because of low rates but based on the responses here, I'm afraid if I ever have to make a claim!
  • I am still waiting for my claim to settle. My claim has went through three people and now Tom has it and he just says he has more than 10 people ahead of me so I will have to wait after already waiting 3 months.
  • [Name] is the devil and therefore working for the correct company. Avoid these people like sin.
  • This billion dollar company has no email address nor employees to answer the phone during the weekend or after hours either. Customer service? Not since I checked last time.

And so forth.

American Bankers was 0 for 17. Every comment was negative. Some 16 of the customers had rated the company a one out of 5; one had given it a 2. Wow.

Anyway, I’m going to cancel this insurance…and get insurance from another carrier, including flood insurance.

I should, of course, have checked whether the area had ever flooded before turning down flood coverage. And I should have checked out the insurance company before I signed up.

But readers now have a warning.

Avoid American Bankers Insurance Company of Florida. Why New Jersey lets this company even sell policies here is a mystery.

You can read all the customer comments on this page

Warren Boroson’s blog is This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . To receive his column regularly, drop him a note at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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