December 2021 Tornadoes – Insurance Claim and Recovery Help
If your home or business was damaged or destroyed in the recent tornadoes, United Policyholders’ Roadmap to Recovery® program will help you on your road to recovery and make good decisions or repairing or rebuilding or replacing your home. The December 10th tornadoes took the lives of many and damaged or destroyed homes in Kentucky, Tennessee, Illinois, Arkansas, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio and Alabama.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has declared a major disaster declaration for 8 counties in Kentucky which means that SBA 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.
In the months ahead, you will have to deal with lots of paperwork and make important financial decisions. The word most commonly used to describe people’s mind set after a natural disaster is “overwhelmed.” While insurance payments can’t bring back your cherished momentos, they are critically important to a successful recovery.
At this time, take care of your family’s immediate needs first. UP recommends focusing on photographing and documenting damaged and destroyed property, 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.
Understanding some basics about the insurance claim process from the start will help you navigate:
Insurance is a vehicle to get you back where you were before your losses, but it won’t drive itself. You have to drive it or get help if you can’t.
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 if they come up. We have your back when insurance matters.UP is a charity…a non-profit with expertise on insurance and helping consumers. We do not sell insurance, give legal advice or represent individuals in claim matters. United Policyholders has almost 30 years of experience in communities hit by catastrophic losses from disaster. We’re rooting for you and here to help. No strings attached. You paid for an insurance safety net and we are here to help you get what you paid for.
- Take photos of the damage before any clean-up or repairs are done and completely document and value all damages and costs to repair or replace your property.
- Keep a diary of conversations with insurance, repair, government, and other professionals.
- Check your home policies for special deductibles or coverages related to wind damage.
- Start working on a detailed and itemized “proof of loss” form but don’t rush and leave things out.
- Give your home insurer a chance to do the right thing, but advocate for yourself and be prepared to get help if you’re not being treated fairly. Sources of help include professional claim advocates and attorneys, FEMA, and your state’s Department of Insurance. Please visit our State-by-State library for additional resources.
- If an 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.
Click Here to Download First Steps After a Tornado
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Taking it in and Getting Started
If you need assistance finding shelter, the American Red Cross may be able to help.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has declared a major disaster declaration for 7 counties in Kentucky.
United Policyholders encourages all impacted households to click here and register with FEMA to get information and aid. Remember to register with FEMA, disaster survivors can apply for federal aid even if insured. 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.Resources General
- Arranging Temporary Housing
Getting Organized, Informed and Empowered
- Organizing Carrier-Specific Disaster Survivor Groups
- Speak UP: How to communicate with your insurance company
- Survivors Speak: Forced Choice Matrix for Decision-making
- Insurance Consumer Rights in Kentucky (2022)
- Don't Pay Before You Plan
- Planificacion de indemniz aciones después de un desastre (Fannie Mae)
- Getting Debris Removed
Being Pro-active in Documenting and Valuing Your Losses
- Creating Your Home Inventory and Navigating Your Contents Claim
- Making Housing and Financial Decisions
- Choosing a Contractor
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 Disaster Response Network™ 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 needs assessment and personalized recovery plan
- Help requesting financial relief from FEMA, insurance, mortgage servicers, and other sources
- Web resources and ongoing guidance from experienced disaster relief advisors
Homeowners can call 877-833-1746 to access the Disaster Response Network or other available resources.
Visit Fannie Mae’s KnowYourOptions.com consumer website for housing resources, including details on disaster relief. Homeowners can visit www.knowyouroptions.com/relief to learn more and find out if they have a Fannie Mae-owned mortgage and access to the full benefits of their Disaster Response Network.Resources General
- Getting help if/when you need it
Taking Care of Yourself Along the Way