On the way to that cool million we've learned some vital lessons, and we'll go over 7 top tips that could save you big bucks before the next catastrophe.
We badgered an insurance company to finally pay up and tow a storm tossed boat out of a backyard.
And took a chainsaw to a price gouging tree contractor's bill.
Now we've gone back to the future, for some lessons learned.
Last March the Scala's Staten Island home was a shell. Work stalled when no claim checks came through.
We helped get them $40,000 in insurance money. And today? Their home's gone from gutted to glorious.
But before the next disaster they'll do a contents inventory, making copies of sales receipts and keeping photos in a safe place out of their home to prove losses to insurance.
And on the south shore of Long Island, Jane Letterman still has a ways to go.
7 months ago we stepped into Jane's nightmare. And helped get her more than $200,000 in relief.
The lesson: she's using "licensed contractors" to raise her house up 14 feet. If your contractor's unlicensed, you'll have no recourse with consumer affairs if there's a dispute.
Last February, Maria Puglisi learned a $12,000 lesson. Check out disaster tax deductions. If your losses offset your salary you could get a big tax break.
And there's Union Beach's Joanne Keating. Sandy washed away her home and then her cruise. Next time she'll look into getting trip insurance. Weather delays are covered. But we got her family a cruise anyway.
And for homeowners, check your trees now. And get them pruned before a disaster happens. Check all used cars out with a licensed mechanic to make sure you don't get a flood salvage car. And after a disaster, watch for gouging. Remember gouging laws are only triggered if your state is declared a disaster.