Milford Residents Still Rebuilding One Year After Sandy

Skip Ziebell of Milford is one of thousands of people who are still trying to rebuild after Superstorm Sandy hit one year ago.

Ziebell and his wife are still living in their rental property as they continue to fix up their main home.

He said he’s learned several lessons along the way others can use if another storm hits.

"Hire (an) adjuster," Ziebell said. "And with the insurance companies, you gotta have tenacity. You ... have to be tenacious. You have to stay on the insurance company."

Skip, who has two different homes in Milford, has to deal with four different insurance companies.

"God, there's no easy way out of this -- you known, with the engineering and the permits. Shop around for the different contractors because if they're busy, you're going to get highballed," Ziebell said.

Skip said he got highballed, was left out to dry and discovered that the contractors he hired were ripping up his specially-made floor with a sledgehammer and crowbar.

He installed the wide plank pumpkin pine, specially ordered from South Carolina, more than 20 years ago and thought that he could could salvage some of it, but that will not happen now.

Ziebell also has to raise his main home because more than 50 percent of it is damaged.

"The estimates ran on that one house -- $11,000 difference between. I'll just give you two contractors," Skip said. "The same raise, the same amount of work, same height, same elevation."

He said it is crucial to keep the pages of statements from insurance companies organized, along with all the business cards from the organizations he's had to battle.

"The stress level dealing with the different agencies, and with FEMA, your insurance companies, both your flood damage insurance, if you have wind damage, you have two different policies there," said Ziebell.

But he's trying to put the stress into perspective.

"The biggest thing for me is that my wife and I are healthy, compared to other people, the problems they have, this is nothing," Ziebell said.

While he and his wife might be without the Elvis and Beatles records they lost, an old bookcase with a painting on it survived.

"And you know what the funny thing is? The artist on that -- Sandy," he said.

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