LI woman battling insurance companies — seven months after Hurricane Sandy

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SEAFORD, NY (PIX11) – When we first met Rosemary Marano in February, her home was gutted, without any flooring.

She had already been fighting with her insurance company Liberty Mutual for months but she had hope then because a law firm took on her case, with a public adjuster, to help her fight for enough money so she could rebuild her home.

Months later, we stood in her gutted living room that looks exactly the same.

“I really thought I’d be farther along by now.  It’s just taken so long,” said Marano.

This long road has taken it’s toll on her, especially financially.

“I’m paying my mortgage, my insurance and school and property taxes on a home I can’t live in. And now, I’m paying rent,”said Marano who also says, her physical and emotional health is paying the price.

She recently came down with a medical condition that needed surgery.

“The stress is really killing me,” said Marano, as her eyes welled up.

Since most of her neighbors were in the same boat, she says, there was once community camaraderie.

That’s all gone now.

“I had a violation notice placed on my door the other day because the neighbor said I wasn’t keeping up my property, so what can you do,” said Marano.

The next step for her is something many homeowners may not know about.  In fact, some insurance companies may not want you to know about it.  It’s called the Appraisal process.

Appraiser Dave Charles says once the insurance company calls it quits on negotiating the cost of the loss.

That’s when the homeowner can invoke this Appraisal process, where the insurance company and the homeowner get independent parties to represent them.

“These two independent parties argue the loss without any influence at all from the insurance company. In fact, it’s illegal for the insurance company to get involved,” explained appraiser Dave Charles.

Most of the time, Charles says, the end result, is in favor of the homeowner.

If the homeowner wins, they can get up to their policy limits which can, based on your personal policy, be enough to rebuild your entire home.

Rosemary hopes that happens for her.

“I still have hope but it’s just difficult…. I feel like I’m in the fight of my life.”