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Flood Recovery Tips to Get You Back on Your Feet

Aug 25, 2016 03:33AM ● Published by Flint Zerangue, Sr.

More than 40,000 homes flooded in the state of Louisiana after historic rainfall since Friday, Aug. 12, causing more than 20 parishes to declare federal disasters. Across the state, only 20 percent of homes have active flood insurance policies.

“Our top priority is the safety of Louisiana residents,” said Tony Robinson, regional administrator for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region 6. “We are working closely with the Louisiana governor’s office to respond and help residents recover from this devastating flood. We encourage those with flood insurance to file a claim. People with disaster damage and expenses not covered by insurance can register for Individual Assistance from FEMA. Apply online at disasterassistance.gov or call 800-621-FEMA.”

Communities, families and businesses can take action to recover quickly from flooding caused by severe storms, as well as prepare for the next one. FloodSmart, the marketing and education campaign of FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program, encourages residents to protect their families, property and pets as floodwaters recede, providing these tips on what to do after a flood:

Following a Flood

  • Check for structural damage before re-entering your home. If you suspect damage to water, gas, electric or sewer lines, contact authorities.
  • Immediately remove wet carpeting, furniture and bedding. Take photos of the property before disposing of it and keep samples for the adjuster to see. For example, cut out a piece of wall-to-wall carpet. Find cleanup tips at emergency.cdc.gov/disasters/floods.
  • Keep your pet safe. Learn more at Ready.gov/animals.

Rebuilding After a Flood

  • Understand your flood insurance claim and policy, and call 800-621-3362 with any questions.
  • Get a repair permit from your local building official. A substantial damage determination is required for building repairs in the Special Flood Hazard Area. A building that is damaged beyond 50 percent of its market value is considered a substantially damaged building, which requires that all repairs meet local flood damage prevention ordinances. That determination is a factor in future premium rating for a flood insurance policy and is needed for Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) claims.
  • Learn more about ICC, as you may be able to obtain up to an additional $30,000 toward elevating, relocating or demolishing your home to comply with local floodplain management requirements. Ask your adjustor about opening an ICC claim.
  • Ask about mitigation grants that may become available for elevating homes because of a flood. Ask your parish officials about applying to the state on your behalf for Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funding.

Filing An Insurance Claim

  • Know your insurance company's name, your policy number and a telephone number where you can be reached. Take photos of water in the house and anything that is damaged. List damaged or lost items. Refer to the Flood Insurance Claims Handbook to help navigate the claims process and appeal your claims decision, if necessary.
  • Review your Summary of Coverage, which helps you understand your flood insurance policy. It provides general information about deductibles, what is and is not covered by flood insurance and how items are valued at the time of loss.
  • Ask about federal disaster assistance, which might be available if the president declares a federal disaster. Aid typically comes in the form of a loan that you pay back with interest.

To learn more about filing a flood insurance claim and flood insurance, contact your insurance agent or find one using FloodSmart’s Agent Locator Tool. Flood damage is typically not covered by homeowners insurance, so it’s important to financially protect homeowners and business owners from flooding’s costly consequences.

Visit FloodSmart.gov to learn more about staying safe after a flood, and to find other helpful tips.

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