CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- Pottawattamie County homeowners, renters, and business owners who have applied for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) after the recent flooding may hear soon from damage inspectors. FEMA schedules inspections to verify losses within seven to 10 days after residents have filed applications.
"You must first apply for disaster assistance before inspectors will view your damaged property," said Curt Musgrave, FEMA federal coordinating officer. If you sustained damage, call the FEMA toll-free registration number 1-800-462-9029. People who are hearing- or speech-impaired should call (TTY) 1-800-462-7585.
An inspector first examines any structural damage to your house. He assesses damage to appliances, such as the washer, dryer, refrigerator and stove. He also reports serious needs, such as lost or damaged clothing. Homeowners should identify all known damages and tell the inspector if they have a septic system or a well.
To determine eligibility, property owners should be able to show proof of ownership and occupancy to the inspector. Renters also need to show proof of occupancy. If insurance papers are available, residents should show them to the inspector. Officials will ask applicants to show identification.
"We are advising applicants to ask for identification from anyone identifying themselves as damage inspectors," said Steve Zimmerman, the state coordinating officer. All inspectors carry official photo identification. "If an inspector is not wearing an identification card or badge, ask to see it." Zimmerman advised. Official inspectors do not charge anything for this service.
If you suspect fraud, call the police, sheriff or the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division (515-281-5926) at once.