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Important facts about applying for Federal Disaster Assistance

Part Two. View Part one here

1. FEMA only pays for temporary living expenses

If a home is destroyed in a storm that is later declared a disaster by the federal government and grants are made available, claims still need to be made through the homeowner’s primary insurance company.

2. One storm can be categorized as multiple events requiring separate deductibles

When the tornadoes hit Oklahoma City in May 2013, many homes were destroyed. For those homeowners who sustained property damage, what seemed like one large storm was labeled by their insurance companies as multiple tornadoes. Why does this matter? Because multiple tornadoes require separate deductibles.

3. There is a 30-day waiting period for flood insurance to kick in

Many people may not be aware that flood insurance is something that you have to purchase separately from your regular home insurance policy, When the storm is on its way, it’s already too late to buy flood insurance.

4. Catastrophe adjusters can change frequently so document everything

During catastrophes, insurance companies may send in large teams of adjusters to deal with the high volume of claims. They are often independent contractors, not permanent employees of the insurance company. They move around the country from disaster to disaster. So you might deal with more than one adjuster. Your good records will keep the process moving forward.

5. Most people are underinsured for storm damage

A full 65 percent of homeowners, including those hit by recent hurricanes, tornadoes and wildfires, were underinsured. Many owners are not able to fully rebuild because of that. Be careful about relying on the number set by your insurer.

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