Owners elevate houses to avoid damage after hurricane

Owners elevate houses to avoid damage after hurricane
Regina Yahara-Splain poses for a portrait in front of her home, which had been damaged due to Superstorm Sandy and which she has since raised on stilts to protect it from future storms, October 22, 2013 in Highlands, New Jersey.

NEW JERSEY - Home owners in New Jersey, in north-eastern US, have been elevating their homes to avoid extensive damage in the event of floods.

Almost a year after Hurricane Sandy left a trail of damage worth US$65 billion (S$80 billion), home owners are paying more than US$100,000 in some cases to get their houses higher up from ground level.

Residents who live in areas marked as at high risk of flooding and who choose not to raise their homes face rocket ing flood insurance premiums.

Most used to pay less than US$1,000 a year on these premiums, but that is said to have shot up to US$9,000.

Ms Eileen Benner told AP that elevating her home in Atlantic City was a "no-brainer".

"I would tell anybody who has the money available to go ahead and do it," she said.

The flood water in her home rose to about 30cm last year. She paid US$21,000 to raise her home by about 4m.

Mr John Paynter, whose home at Long Beach Island is now almost 4m higher, said the process was nerve-racking.

"I heard a lot of cracks and creaks," he said.

The National Flood Insurance Programme said that insurance claims for flood damage has averaged more than US$3 billion every year over the last 10 years.

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