Ten tips for dealing with flood insurance and/or FEMA claims:

  1. Flood insurance is not issued by your private insurer, it is issued by the Federal Government. Your private insurer may have written the policy but it is still processed through the government.
  2. Whether you have flood insurance or not file a claim with FEMA at https://www.disasterassistance.gov/.
  3. Whether or not you have flood insurance file a claim with your homeowner’s insurance and/or renter’s insurance. You will need the denial letters for your FEMA claim.
  4. There is a cap of $33,300 per claim for Hurricane Harvey. This means the MAX money that FEMA will give you directly is $33,300 for any disaster assistance.
  5. Apply for a loan through the SBA if FEMA directs you to. Do so within 60 days of being directed to. FEMA will claim you did not do all you can to help yourself if you do not.
  6. If you are given ANY FEMA money, whether up front or later, use it for why they gave it to you.
  7. Document everything you use the money for
  8. Take pictures, not just video, of EVERYTHING. Take pictures of serial numbers on equipment if possible. Take pictures of each and every item you own.
  9. Take steps to ensure against further damage to your home or contents. If that means cutting out sheet rock do it. Remove furniture and personal belongings.
  10. Most importantly DO NOT MISS any deadlines to file any claims.
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