What happens when ocean front property becomes ocean bottom?
November 11, 2012 3:12 PM Subscribe
How does a storm like Sandy or Katrina affect title to real estate? What happens when your property is suddenly, actually, under water?
Say someone owned a quarter acre of property adjacent to a beach, with a modest little house on it, and then a big storm comes. If the house is destroyed, I assume that homeowner's insurance would pay some compensation for that. But what if the coastline is now changed so that all or a significant part of the real estate is now under water (long term)? and the part that is still above water is now in the tidal zone, so it can no longer be privately owned or built upon?
A chunk of land that was habitable and valuable one day may now be uninhabitable or just, gone. Who bears that loss? Does any form of insurance provide any compensation for that, or is it just an uninsurable risk that comes with owning waterfront property? And what if it happens slowly, as a result of sea level rise, instead of from a sudden storm?
These questions used to be mostly weird law school hypotheticals, but they are becoming real and quite common. How is the system dealing with them? Does anyone have any personal experience with this, or know of any articles on the subject?