In July 2023, many northeastern states experienced heavy rains, resulting in significant flooding, washouts, and road closures. President Biden declared a federal disaster in New York and Vermont.
AUGUST 2023 VERMONT UPDATES
- The State of Vermont Agency of Agriculture Food and Markets offers recovery advice for food-producing business and individuals on their website.
- The State of Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development is offering Business Emergency Gap Assistance grants to for businesses and nonprofits that suffered physical damages from flooding dating back to July 7, 2023.
If your home or business has been damaged or destroyed due to high winds, wind-driven rain, fallen trees, the first step is to get your property/items started on the process of drying out and move ahead with restoring/repairing/replacing damaged or destroyed property.
The information you’ll find here and throughout our website can help you understand what types of damage are typically covered in a home insurance policy (wind-driven rain that enters through openings in the building envelope, tree damage, backed up sewers and drains, damaged culverts/drains) versus typically excluded (rising flood waters from an inundation, landslides, mudslides). In almost all cases, property insurance policies exclude flood damage, mud and landslides unless triggered by a wildfire in the region. A flood insurance policy covers flood damage and mudflow.
FEMA Individual Assistance is available for Vermont residents in the following counties: Caledonia, Chittenden, Lamoille, Orange, Orleans, Rutland, Washington, Windham, and Windsor. More information about the federal response for this disaster is available on the FEMA website. Other counties that also faced flooding could be approved as FEMA continues to assess damage on the ground. If your disaster is eligible, SBA loans and FEMA resources will be available. Survivors can apply for federal aid, even if uninsured. Disaster assistance may be able to fill insurance gaps or provide help if you’ve been waiting more than 30 days on a homeowner’s claim.
UP recommends focusing on drying out and preventing further damage, photographing and documenting damaged and destroyed property if you can access it, getting a complete current copy of your insurance policy, and finding temporary lodging that is comfortable and safe. If you are unable to return to your home, you may be able to access insurance funds through your “Additional Living Expense” Coverage.
Tips on wind-driven rain, flooding and storm damage:
- Do your best to prevent further damage and dry out your property to prevent mold growth.
- Find and read the parts of your home or business insurance policy that explain what types of water damage is covered and excluded, including backed up sewers and drains and the definition of “flood” or “flooding”.
- Check your deductible. If damage is relatively minor and repair won’t be above your deductible, filing a claim may not be the smart move. If your insurer isn’t going to pay it anyway, it’s best to avoid having the claim on your record/risk profile.
- Focus on completely inventorying and valuing all damage and costs to repair or replace your property, regardless of your insurance situation.
- Keep a diary of conversations with insurance, repair, government, and other professionals
- Flood policies have different rules than home policies.
- If you did not have flood insurance, there may still be damage that may be covered under your homeowner’s policy, depending on how it is written. Examples could be wind-driven rain, sewage backup due to electrical failure of a pump or other device, other damage due to power outages or surges.
- Give your home and/or flood insurer a chance to do the right thing, but advocate for yourself and get help from your Department of Insurance and/or experienced professionals if you feel you’re not being treated fairly.
- If a home or flood insurance adjuster says damage isn’t covered, but you feel it should be, get an independent professional opinion before giving up on getting some or all of your claim paid.
UP offers tips, information, sample letters and tools to help each person recover the full amount they’re entitled to and avoid and solve problems during the insurance claim adjustment process. Our resources draw on the personal and professional expertise of our volunteers and staff, many of whom lost homes in past disasters. UP does not sell insurance, give legal advice, or represent individuals in claim matters. Rest assured, our information and resources are designed to help you, the consumer…no catch, no hidden agenda. Sign up on the right hand side of this page to receive information and alerts from United Policyholders.
Expert Answers to Your Questions: The ”Ask an Expert” tool is an easy and safe way to ask direct questions to attorneys, claims professionals and previous disaster survivors who serve as UP volunteers and get the answers you need. The expert doesn’t see your contact info, but you can contact them if you want to follow up on their answer. Please visit the “Ask an Expert” forum here.
Taking it in and Getting Started
If you need help with debris clean up and muck out, you can call Crisis Clean-Up at: 844-965-1386.
Crisis Clean-Up will help facilitate cleanup by various aid agencies standing by to assist those affected by the flooding. All services are free, but service is not guaranteed due to the expected overwhelming need. Important reminder: The hotline cannot assist with social services such as food, clothing, shelter, insurance, or questions about FEMA.
FEATURED VIDEOS:Resources General
- Insurance tips for storm damage
- First Steps After a Flood
- Top 10 Insurance Claim Tips
- A Simplified Guide to Your Homeowners Policy
- "The dirt" on insurance protection for mud flow damage
- Flood Insurance Claim Basics
- Sample Letter Requesting Complete Copy of Homeowners Policy
- Speak UP: How to communicate with your insurance company
- Mold Contamination Insurance Coverage 101: The Basics
- UP Handout: After the Storm, Insurance and recovery tips for wind-driven rain, flooding and storm damage
Arranging Temporary Housing
If your home is damaged from flooding, expenses like temporary rent and other costs you incur due to losing the use of your home are not covered under NFIP policies.
If you have flood insurance through a private flood insurance company (outside the NFIP), it is likely to have ALE coverage.
If your home is damaged from storm damage from falling rain, temporary rent and other costs may be covered under your home insurance policy.Resources General
- Getting Organized, Informed and Empowered
Being Pro-active in Documenting and Valuing Your Losses
- Sample Letter Asking for a Personal Property Claim Settlement
- Sample Letter Requesting Re-inspection and Re-testing of a Partially-Damaged Home
- Depreciation Basics
- What’s UP with Trees, Shrubs, and Landscaping Insurance Coverage?
- Sample Inventory/Personal Property Claim Worksheets (Excel doc)
- National Flood Insurance Program Proofs of Loss, Damage Estimates, and Supplemental Claims
- Homeowner's and Renter's Guide to Mold Cleanup After Disasters
- Creating Your Home Inventory and Navigating Your Contents Claim
Making Housing and Financial Decisions
Working with Your Mortgage Company
Your mortgage company cannot require you pay off your loan with your insurance proceeds, but they will typically be listed on the insurance payments along with you. Fannie Mae’s Here2Help program can help eligible homeowners navigate the broader financial impacts of disaster and the challenging recovery process with a team of HUD-approved housing counselors offering:
- A personalized recovery assessment and action plan
- Help with claims and denials from FEMA, insurance, mortgage servicers, and other sources
- Web resources and ongoing guidance and check-ins from experienced disaster relief advisors
Homeowners can call 877-437-3243 to access this program or other available resources.
Visit Fannie Mae’s FannieMae.com/HERE2HELP consumer website for housing resources, including details on disaster relief.Resources General
- Getting help if/when you need it
Taking Care of Yourself Along the Way