The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

January 20, 2013

Superstorm challenges definition of basement in NJ

(Continued)

HOBOKEN, N.J. —

“A store or apartment that requires you to walk down one or two steps is plain and simply not a basement,” Zimmer told the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. 

“For many people, that’s their primary residence. It’s where they have the kitchen, the bedroom,” Zimmer said in an interview. “It’s their home.”

A basement is classified as “any area of the building, including any sunken room or sunken portion of a room, having its floor below ground level (subgrade) on all sides,” according to a spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Basement flood coverage is limited to items including central air conditioners, hot water heaters and “cisterns and the water in them,” according to the program’s website.

Floors, paneling and most personal property in buildings classified as basements are not covered.

Jersey City resident Patrick Donnelly is suing a number of insurance companies, saying he and others were denied damage claims after Hurricane Irene in 2011 and Sandy. A judge will decide if the suit can move forward as a class action.

“We’re seeing situations where the insurance company is denying claims in buildings we do not believe met the definition of a basement,” said Jeffrey A. Bronster, Donnelly’s lawyer. 

Jersey City mayor Jerramiah Healy said he thinks the lawsuit is a “valid argument.”

Elsewhere, “traditionally a basement is where you throw stuff. It’s 8 to 10 feet below the ground,” Healy said. “Here in Jersey City we have a lot of places that are ground level or 3 feet below. It’s living space.”

Property owners with a mortgage are required to have federal flood insurance. The policies are issued by private insurance companies.

Robert Hunter, director of insurance for the Consumer Federation of America and former federal insurance administrator, said insurance is typically calculated on the ground level of a structure. Anything below that is typically classified as a basement, he said.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • Congress racing to finish Congress races to finish veterans, highway bills

    July 31, 2014

  • Target New CEO [Duplicate] Target names Pepsi's Cornell as chairman, CEO MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Target has hired Pepsi executive Brian Cornell as its new chairman and CEO as it looks to recover from a huge data breach and troubles in Canada. Cornell replaces interim CEO John Mulligan, who is chief financial officer for the M

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brain wave monitoring is better gauge than using a focus group, study says To predict a large population’s likely response to something — a product, politician or policy — political consultants, marketing gurus and advertising execs have long favored the focus group. Ask a small segment of the target audience what it thinks

    July 31, 2014

  • Argentina slides into default as debt talks fail NEW YORK (AP) — The collapse of talks with U.S. creditors sent Argentina into its second debt default in 13 years and raised questions about what comes next for financial markets and the South American nation's staggering economy. A midnight Wednesd

    July 31, 2014

  • Exchange Bee Researcher [Duplicate] Bee researcher takes aim at central Minnesota park WAITE PARK — Crystal Boyd strained four bees, three flies and one leafhopper from a yellow pan trap, the third of 12 in a transect topping a granite outcrop in Quarry Park Scientific and Natural Area.She popped everything into a labeled, zip-top plas

    July 31, 2014 4 Photos

  • Cinema verite documentarian Robert Drew dies at 90 Filmmaker Robert Drew, a pioneer of the modern documentary who in "Primary" and other movies mastered the intimate, spontaneous style known as cinema verite and schooled a generation of influential directors that included D.A. Pennebaker and Albert M

    July 30, 2014

  • Homeowner killed, another injured in Vegas crime spree LAS VEGAS — A horrific carjacking and home invasion spree ended with two people dead and a woman in critical condition. One victim, Richard Ramos, a 59-year-old father of four, “fought to his death” to protect his wife and children from their attack

    July 30, 2014

  • Officer Shooting Minnesota-9 [Duplicate] UPDATE: Suspect in Minnesota officer killing in custody WEST ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Police in Minnesota say a man wanted in the shooting death of an officer is in custody after being shot by police. St. Paul police spokesman Sgt. Paul Paulos says 39-year-old Brian Fitch Sr. got out of a minivan firing at

    July 30, 2014 4 Photos

  • Officer Shooting Minnesota-3 [Duplicate] Minnesota officer killed making traffic stop WEST ST. PAUL (AP) — A police officer in Minnesota was fatally shot Wednesday while making a traffic stop and authorities said they were searching for a suspect. Mendota Heights police officer Scott Patrick, 47, was shot about 12:20 p.m. after pulli

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Possible suspect caught in Minnesota cop shooting WEST ST. PAUL (AP) — A potential suspect in the shooting of a police officer in Minnesota has been captured. Minnesota Public Radio News reports that the officer was killed. Television news footage showed the man being pulled from his vehicle Wednes

    July 30, 2014