Hurricane Dorian and the recent waterspout spotted off of Long Island are fresh reminders of the danger of powerful storms. As tragic as the direct impacts are, some of the worst damage is the financial hurt that mounts up in the wake of these storms. With plenty of time still to go in this year’s Atlantic storm season, before we even get into the winter storms, here’s what to know about them, your property taxes and your finances…
Your House Stops Working For You, But Your Property Tax Bills Keep Coming
Whether you have had damage to your home on Long Island, or your friends and family in Florida have lost roofs in hurricanes, often the home is at least temporarily unusable, but that doesn’t stop the tax bills.
After the recent tax reassessments in Nassau County and the high hopes New York has for collecting even more in property taxes over the next couple of years, don’t expect a break.
It doesn’t matter whether your rental property is washed out, your home needs a complete gut remodel or you have to temporarily pay for somewhere else to live while patching up your roof and remedying flood damage. The government wants their money, period.
If you can’t keep up with those property tax bills, you can lose your home to foreclosure. You can at least face new fines and extra interest and penalties for being late, which make it even harder to catch up. All while you’ve missed work, have lost income and have incurred many other expenses.
You Can’t Count On Insurance Money, But There Is Relief Out There
The sad truth is that just because you had to get home, flood and win insurance and pay association or coop dues, doesn’t mean that you can ever count on a cent from any insurance claims.
Even in the best cases it can take years to get what you are owed, or a fraction of it. At the same time you may be bleeding money or your house falls apart worse due to leaks.
After superstorm Sandy, at least 1,000 lawsuits were filed alleging that insurers colluded with adjusters to rewrite engineering reports and inspections to avoid making payouts.
So, you may need to make up for lost income and extra expenses, but can’t afford to miss property tax payments.
You may find help from other creditors who will cut you a break for a couple of months. Just note that this doesn’t mean it won’t impact your credit and credit score.
If your house or business property has been impacted by a storm, one of the best things you can do to get relief is to appeal and fix your property tax assessment and challenge your bill. This can ensure you aren’t paying taxes on more than your property is worth in its current condition, and get you some financial slack while you recover.