WARWICK, R.I. -- Insured Rhode Islanders with Hurricane Sandy losses related to their primary homes may benefit from registering for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, because insurance may not cover all storm-related costs.
If you're insured, you must file a claim with your insurance company and let FEMA know what your policy covers before you can be eligible for federal aid. By law, federal disaster assistance cannot duplicate insurance benefits.
When insurance doesn't cover all your disaster related expenses FEMA may be able to help. Here are some examples:
- You have Additional Living Expenses (ALE) your insurance doesn't cover. If you were displaced from your home due to disaster damage, you may have additional living expenses for temporary housing until you are back in permanent housing (your repaired home or a new rental). Some policies--and this includes National Flood Insurance--do not provide benefits for Additional Living Expenses. Other policies may provide some coverage, but not enough. FEMA may be able to help.
- You have losses that were not insured, such as: Sandy may have damaged your vehicle and you have no coverage for that. You may have been injured by the hurricane and have uninsured medical or dental expenses. You may be a student who lost your books and computer or a worker who lost tools that your insurance doesn't cover.
After registering, many insured applicants will initially receive a letter from FEMA stating they are ineligible because they have insurance. FEMA can reconsider this determination after you provide information about storm-related losses your insurance didn't cover. You will receive instructions on how to do this with your letter from FEMA or call the FEMA Helpline, 800-621-3362, for more information.
It's important not to put off registering even if you don't yet know whether insurance covers all your losses. Registration is open only until January 14. After that, even if you later discover uninsured losses, it will be too late to ask FEMA for help.
FEMA evaluates each situation on a case-by-case basis. By registering before the deadline, you will be assured of access to all available FEMA aid even if you do have insurance.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.
FEMA's temporary housing assistance and grants for medical and dental expenses, funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA loan officers to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.
SBA disaster loan information and application forms may be obtained by calling the SBA's Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for people with speech or hearing disabilities) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications can also be downloaded from www.sba.govor completed on-line at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.