ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Three months after Hurricane Idalia flooded more than 1,000 homes in St. Petersburg, hundreds of Shore Acres residents are still fighting to get their homes back in working order.
Liane Jamason has owned her Shore Acres homes for roughly three years and with a pool, boat slip and brand new kitchen, it was everything she could have asked for.
Jamason and hundreds of other Shore Acres residents also filed for FEMA assistance. The deadline to file is 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 29.
Despite blocking her doors and garage with sandbags, Hurricane Idalia brought about an inch of water into her home.
“I took four days of clothes with me just thinking it would just be a dry out and maybe cut a little bit out,” she said. “I had no idea it was going to be this much of a project.”
Now, three months later, Jamason’s kitchen is still unusable and her doors and frames remain torn apart.
She says she started the process of cleaning up by hiring a restoration company, who she says charged her $17,000 for demolition work. She parted ways with that company and is now working with a general contractor to finish her kitchen and repairs.
Jamason has worked as a realtor in the area for 17 years and says despite being well versed in home buying, she didn’t know there was such a difference between federally backed flood insurance and private policies.
Her federally backed policy didn’t cover loss of use, meaning she’s been paying out of pocket for a second place to stay as her home is being fixed up.
“That is huge and people don’t understand that when they’re buying a policy and trying to just get whatever matches their mortgage,” explained Peter Vasti with Florida Strategic Insurance, “But in the event of a loss there’s a huge cost there.”
When trying to replace her furniture, Jamason also learned her policy only covered the depreciated value of the items and not the replacement value.
She says knowing what she knows now, she would have looked closer at her flood insurance agreement and considered private options. She’s sharing the lessons she’s learned with her clients as well.
“The trick is now finding a private policy that will insure an area that has flooded,“ she said. “At this point, it will probably be really difficult.”