Lynchburg, VA -- When a disaster like February's floods in Southwest Virginia occurs, insurance proves its value - but it may not cover or apply to all disaster-related expenses.
If you live in a declared area and the storms and floods did more damage to your personal or business property than your insurance will cover, or if you had no insurance at all, don't panic. You may be eligible for a variety of state and federal disaster aid programs.
"Because of the complexities of insurance coverage in a disaster setting, FEMA is reviewing the cases of Southwest Virginia residents who have applied for aid and have some level of insurance," said Michael Cline, Virginia's state coordinating officer. "There may be more help available for them."
Almost 1,000 residents have applied for assistance in the declared areas of Buchanan, Dickenson, Montgomery, Russell, Tazewell and Wise counties and the cities of Norton, Roanoke and Salem.
There may be gaps in insurance coverage. Homeowners' insurance doesn't cover damage from floods; it may not cover all damage from freezing rain, sleet or fallen trees and flood insurance doesn't cover losses from backed up sewer systems or polluted wells.
"Do not pre-judge your eligibility," said Justo Hernandez, federal coordinating officer for FEMA. "Everyone affected by this disaster should apply. Don't rule yourself out."
Anyone in the declared areas who lost personal property, real property or income may be eligible for grants for temporary housing, minor home repairs and serious disaster-related expenses. U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest loans also may be available to cover residential and business losses not covered by insurance.
If you are in doubt about your eligibility, call now and register at FEMA's toll-free number 1-800-462-FEMA (3362). TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the speech-or-hearing impaired. Operators will take calls from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.