From the Claim Files: Accident Prone in a Brick & Brownstone

We talked with Sally Winsted, owner of a newly renovated Brooklyn brownstone, about the loss of some of her most treasured belongings after an unfortunate fire ravaged her home.

Three years ago, brick & brownstone owner Sally Winsted had an unexpected fire loss. While she was fortunate enough to save her home, she lost some of her most treasured antiques in the blaze. Unfortunately, her personal lines insurance did not adequately cover the cost of the lost items. A hard but important lesson for those who have valuable personal property.

A cautionary tale

Sally Winsted has always been a cautious woman. A lifelong affliction with “bad luck” has taught her not to take chances. After renovating her two-unit brownstone in Cobble Hill, she had her home reappraised — and as one might expect, the value had increased. However, she was unaware that her insurance policy had limits high enough to cover the new reconstruction costs should a complete loss occur — but not the valuable possessions within it.

“I thought that I had crossed all the t’s and dotted all the i’s. I mean, it’s just my luck that if something bad was going to happen, it was going to happen to me, so I thought I was being extra-cautious with my insurance limits — making sure everything was on the up-and-up,” Winsted stated, recalling how the fire tore through the belongings in her home.

“It wasn’t till after the fire that I realized my mistake. The damage to my home was covered, yes, but my antiques? Unfortunately, not,” Winsted said. “The only good thing to come out of this was that, after contacting my broker, it was an easy process to switch to a policy that covered both the reconstruction cost of my home, and my personal belongings inside it — and the change wasn’t going to break my bank every month.”

Winsted is one of the many brownstone owners around the city that could have benefited from insuring their homes to the appropriate property value and possession value – and this is where we come in. Our New York Brick & Brownstone (NYBB) program was designed specifically to meet the insurance needs of owners like Winsted. Not only do we have specific insurance coverages for people with irreplaceable or valuable personal possessions — but we also offer policies with limits and features that are flexible enough to cover the steady increase in property values around the city. Bad luck or accident prone aside, it’s worth evaluating and planning for the unexpected.