AUSTIN, Texas -- Individuals with insurance who were affected by the Texas Wildfires are urged by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Texas Governor's Division of Emergency Management to apply for assistance. Insured individuals may be eligible for several types of disaster assistance.
"We want everyone affected and eligible for assistance to receive help as quickly as possible," said Deputy Federal Coordinating Officer, Dick Harmon, FEMA's top official for Texas Wildfires recovery operations. "By law, we cannot duplicate what insurance already covers. However, in some cases, we may be able to help, up to our program limits."
Disaster assistance may include grants to help pay for temporary housing; uninsurable items and other serious disaster-related needs; and low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) for homeowners and renters as well as business owners.
"Call to register with FEMA now," said State Coordinating Officer Duke Mazurek of the Texas Governor's Division of Emergency Management. "Then call after receiving your insurance settlement and update your information."
The Jan. 11 presidential declaration made individual assistance available to affected individuals and businesses in the counties of Anderson, Bastrop, Caldwell, Callahan, Cooke, Deaf Smith, Eastland, Erath, Gray, Guadalupe, Hood, Hutchinson, Montague, Palo Pinto, Parker, Roberts, Tarrant, Wheeler and Wise.
To register, call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY at 1-800-462-7585 for the speech- or hearing-impaired. FEMA cannot duplicate what insurance already covers nor pay deductibles.
Examples of what FEMA may cover for insured victims include: expenses for renting a hotel room while a home is inaccessible or uninhabitable, if insurance does not cover that cost, and items that are uninsurable, such as wells or septic tanks, or the costs of obtaining access to one's home.
People who have insurance and have registered for assistance may receive a letter from FEMA telling them they are not eligible at this time because they are insured. People who get a letter denying assistance because of insurance should consider calling FEMA again at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) after their insurance claim is settled. If you are not satisfied with FEMA's decision on your application, an appeal can be filed in writing to FEMA Appeals Officer, National Processing Service Center, P.O. Box 10055, Hyattsville, Md., 20782 .
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates mitigation activities, works with state and local emergency managers, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.