There are many steps to take before you can FEMA help for flood damage to your home when you DO NOT have flood insurance. This a brief guide to the process of making a successful claim for home and content damage.
Where to Start
1. File asap with your homeowners.
2. Receive a denial notice.
3. Take denial and file with FEMA. Asap. You can't file until you have denial from homeowners. Unless you have no insurance, and then just file with FEMA.
4. Take 1,000,000 pictures of the damage including personal property and document. Put pics in an electronic file easily accessed by your email.
5. When applying for FEMA, best to do at the office they will set up. Take all documents including loan papers deeds and proof of identity. You can bring your estimate of work to be done at that time if you want. If not just list things: 22" Sheetrock and insulation on 2200sf Home; wood flooring 2200sf, baseboards 110', 35' lower wooden cabinets etc. Then tell them you want to apply for an SBA loan there. The rep will be there. Have an idea of amount for building and for personal property. Have a list of damaged items.
Start Clean Up
6. Start cleanup. (Sheetrock FIRST and drying house). Damaged personal property needs to be kept for view by the adjuster. You can toss Sheetrock flooring insulation but put on the side of the road in a pile for collection in a few weeks. DO NOT MAKE REPAIRS NO MATTER WHAT FEMA SAYS if you will need an SBA loan (FEMA loan is an SBA loan). If you won't need an SBA loan you can repair and save receipts (renting blowers/dryers, sprayers for bleach, etc count). SBA cannot approve loans on homes where even one thing has been added/replaced!! Note: you CAN replace personal property. Just cannot replace parts of the house.
Let the System Work
7. The FEMA/SBA inspector will come to your place and you show them everything. At some point you might need a written estimate.
8. FEMA meantime will send you some money, probably for housing plus money to fix the basics, I.e. Sheetrock.
9. When they call you to finalize papers, be ready to file the documents yourself at the courthouse. It's easy and super cheap. Then you wait. Still you cannot make repairs. They'll call and tell you when it's approved.
10. SBA will approve you and dispense money in stages depending on your damage. You'll have to show receipts (from cleanup and replacing personal property counts too) where you've spent the FEMA money and then the SBA first portion before they release the next one. Keep your receipts. Good luck.
An SBA loan is a good loan. Around 1.5% in many cases.
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