If you live inside of the federally declared disaster area, and were not required to have flood insurance, you may be eligible for funds from FEMA’s Individual and Households Program. This program may be able to provide money for temporary housing, medical expenses and other expenses. Visit www.disasterassistance.gov or call 1-800-621-3362 to find out if you qualify. If you were required to have flood insurance and did not have it, you may be eligible for an SBA loan.
· What is an SBA loan?
Following a disaster, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) provides low-interest loans to homeowners, renters, businesses and others to recover from underinsured or uninsured losses. The first step is to register with FEMA at www.fema.gov. You can get help from the SBA Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955.
Even if you are approved for a loan, you do not need to take it out. If you are not approved, you may be eligible for FEMA grants. However, you may not receive these grants unless you first submit the SBA loan application.
· What do I do if I can’t get in touch with my agent?
With recent phone difficulties and loss of power throughout the area, it may be difficult to speak with your agent. That doesn’t mean you need to wait to start your claim though. Many of the major insurers will have a main claims phone number on their website or the ability to file a claim directly on the website. You can call the Louisiana Department of Insurance at 1-800-259-5300 who can help you get in touch with your agent or company.
· What should I do after I return to my home?
Be sure not to return to your home if it has not been cleared by the local authorities. Check the outside for structural damage before you enter. Once you can safely enter, take pictures of your home and the damage. Gather any important papers that are salvageable, particularly any paperwork about your insurance policies.
· My vehicle was caught in the flooding. Can I file a claim?
Coverage would depend on the type of policy you have on the vehicle. If you have a Comprehensive coverage within your policy on your vehicle, you will more than likely be covered for damage due to flooding. However, if you have only Liability coverage or Liability/Collision coverage, it is highly probable that you will not be covered for any flood damage to your vehicle. You should check with your agent to find out what your policy covers and in what amounts.