NORTH PORT, Fla. (WFLA) — Sasha Greto tried to return home the morning after Hurricane Ian made landfall only to find her entire neighborhood underwater.
After days of helping her neighbors get in and out of their homes by boat, the water finally receded enough Monday to drive back to her house.
“I had some fantasy in my mind that I was going to come home and it wasn’t going to be that bad. And I was going to be able to bring my daughter home and my pets and we were just gonna clean some floors. And that’s just not the case for anyone here,” she said.
Her home off Sumter Road isn’t in a flood zone, so she and many of her neighbors never bought flood insurance. Now they fear a lengthy battle with their insurance company as they start the process of moving forward.
“It’s a nightmare. I feel like I’m in a war zone. A war against the company now, apparently,” said Kathleen Hall, Greto’s neighbor.
Hall says her insurance company told her much of the damage was caused by a flood. But she contends that the hurricane caused high winds that threw debris into her house, causing holes and broken windows. She’s shocked to be told that the only room insurance might help her with is her bedroom.
“It makes me want to take my money and stack it up and pay for my own insurance,” she said. “They don’t want you to touch, even though they’re not going to cover, they don’t want you to touch the stuff. So now mold is gonna build up. Now what do we do?” she lamented.
Several homeowners tell us they’ve filed claims, but are waiting until adjusters can make it to their house to assess the damage. Some have hired private adjusters to give assessments so they can begin cleaning their homes before the insurance companies can send theirs. They anticipate a lengthy battle.
“People need to be able to get back into their homes to try to rebuild their lives. We need the help. We don’t need the fight from them,” Greto said.