For all of the uncertainties that await Houston and coastal Texas, we can be reasonably sure about one thing: Many of those flooded out by Hurricane Harvey will watch their investments and savings collapse into debt and bankruptcy. And the heaviest burdens, of course, will fall on the shoulders of low- and middle-income residents.
Preliminary estimates put losses from the storm at $30 billion to $40 billion. If past disasters are any indication, those numbers will only grow in the coming days and weeks. Whatever the ultimate figure, the losses will represent, in part, the aggregation of hundreds of thousands or more individual financial calamities. When the waters recede and Houstonians and others hit by this storm return home, with all their pluck and determination, to muck out and clear debris, many will learn too late that their homeowners’ insurance does not cover flood damage.
Even for the lucky 15 percent of homeowners in Houston and surrounding Harris County, who have a federal flood policy in place, collecting claims will most likely be a protracted and contentious process. (Hurricane Katrina and Sandy victims have stories to tell about fraudulent or erroneous claims adjustments, delayed payments and their homes being unlivable for years.) Many of the other 85 percent were not required to have a flood policy because they were not officially at “high risk” on the region’s flood maps — maps that President Trump no longer wants the government to pay for.
Read the rest of the article in the article in the New York Times