Here’s a quick guide to getting your life back together after a storm.
- Hurricane Ian caused worldwide damage in parts of Florida.
- If you are affected by a storm, it is important to act quickly.
- Contact your homeowner’s insurance company, credit card issuer, and mortgage owner to see if you qualify for disaster relief.
Hurricane Ian has already been flagged as one of the most powerful storms to hit Florida and the entire United States. At this point Florida homeowners may be evaluating the damage caused by Ian and considering how to recover from it. There are some important steps to take.
If your home has been damaged by a storm, one of the first calls you make is your homeowner’s insurance company. You should let your insurance company know the type of damage you are seeing and ask what steps to take next. We may ask you to wait for us to come.
If your home is severely damaged, you may need to find temporary housing until it can be repaired. Be sure to check with your insurance company to see if these costs are covered by your policy.
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2. Apply for disaster assistance
Even if your homeowner’s insurance company covers the damage to your home, you may face short-term expenses such as hotel bills and other costs to keep it functioning. Therefore, it is worthwhile to check whether you are eligible for disaster assistance.
One good place to start is DisasterAssistance.gov. You can enter your zip code there to see which aid is eligible and apply through the site. You can also check if you are eligible for assistance through FEMA.
3. Replacement of damaged or lost credit cards
If your credit card seems to be missing during the storm cleanup process, it’s important to contact your credit card issuer immediately. If you explain that your home was damaged in a storm and you’re in trouble, your credit card company may be able to quickly arrange a replacement card so you can start using it right away. You may also be able to automatically move your recurring bills to your new card, so you don’t have to take that step.
4. Ask for a moratorium if you need to pay your mortgage
After the storm, you may be dealing with a number of expenses that will make it difficult to keep up with your mortgage payments. In that situation, we recommend contacting your loan servicer to see if they can temporarily suspend your mortgage payments until you get back on your feet.
5. Create a list of damaged or lost financial documents
If you didn’t have time to prepare for a hurricane, you may not have had the opportunity to store important financial documents in a safe place (like your home safe or bank safe deposit box). Take some time to figure out what important documents you’re missing. From there, you can create a list and try replacing them one at a time.
For example, you may have lost your most recent tax return. Check to see if the taxpayer has a copy on file or contact the IRS for details on how to exchange.
Recovering financially after a storm can be a process, so give yourself grace as you move forward. Do your best to practice self-care when returning to.