After the Hurricane: Insurance, Mortgage and Finances
You survived the storm, not you have to deal with repairs, insurance, your mortgage/lease and other pressing financial concerns.
Insurance Policy and ClaimsPrepare inventory of home contents/personal property. Keep inventory/pictures and documents in digital form and/or on cloud based service.
Collect contact information for insurance agent or carrier before the storm in order to call in claim after storm. Prior to the storm review your insurance policy to determine any post loss obligations (reporting time). Determine if the policy imposes any imposes of damages preparation (tarps, sand bags, window coverings, debris).
Mortgage/LeaseWhile your insurance may or may not cover the damage to your home, your mortgage lender is offering programs where your payments are suspended. What do you do? Keep making your payments? Sign up for one of these programs? It is vital that you know what you are getting into before you sign anything or stop making payments. Many lenders and servicers offer loan forbearance after storms, hurricanes and natural disasters. This means that you don’t have to make your regular payments for a set period of time. In some cases payments are suspended for a little as 90 days and as long as one year. Some lenders/servicers require homeowners apply for forbearance while others make such programs automatically available if you are in a region affected by a natural disaster.
Before accepting the forbearance you must understand how you will have to repay these missed payments. Lenders and servicers also offer standard repayment plans, which allow you to simply make up missed payments over a period of time. Before you agree to any program get answers to the following questions.
-Does the lender require a lump sum payment after the forbearance?
-Does the lender offer a payment plan after the forbearance?
-Does the lender roll the missed payments into the loan balance?
-Does the lender add a portion of the missed payments to the resumed payments?
It is also important to ascertain if accepting the forbearance or repayment will result in late fees or derogatory credit reporting. What if these programs eventually result in a mortgage default….or worse a foreclosure? Here are five tips to avoid problems with your home loan after a hurricane or storm.
Before you stop making payments or sign anything read the fine print. Don’t pay anyone anything up front to start such a program. Be wary of third parties offering help on your mortgage.
Contact your lender/servicer directly to address your questions.
Contact an attorney if you have legal questions about your loan.
Helpful ResourcesConsumer Financial Protection Bureau Disaster Website