AUSTIN, Texas — In the aftermath of the severe storms, tornadoes and flooding throughout Texas that began March 7, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is advising individuals who experienced damage to their homes to contact both their insurance agent and FEMA.
Homeowners and renters who live in Erath, Gregg, Harrison, Hood, Jasper, Marion, Newton, Orange and Parker counties should register for disaster assistance with FEMA. All applicants will receive in the mail an “Applicant’s Guide to the Individuals & Households Program” to assist them with the recovery process.
If your damage was caused by flooding, and you have registered with FEMA for disaster assistance:
- You should contact your insurance agent to see if your damage is covered.
- An inspector may contact you to schedule a time to review your damage.
- Make sure your phone/contact information is current.
- Inspectors do not determine your eligibility.
- You will receive a letter from FEMA explaining your eligibility for assistance.
If you have insurance, your home or personal property was damaged by tornadoes, and you have registered with FEMA for disaster assistance:
- You must contact your insurance agent to file a claim with your insurance company.
- You should be prepared to fully describe to your agent the damage caused by the storm.
- You should keep a record of all contacts you have with the agent and the insurance company.
- You should keep a record of the claim number and the date you called to make the claim.
- FEMA will not duplicate benefits that are covered by insurance, but you may be eligible for help with losses not covered or those in excess of your insurance coverage.
- You will not be contacted by an inspector immediately, but FEMA will send you a letter requesting insurance claim documentation, such as a decision letter (settlement or denial) from your insurance company, in order to further process your application.
Homeowners’ insurance policies typically provide coverage for tornado-caused damage to the home’s structure. Coverage usually includes damage to personal property and additional living expenses if the home is unlivable. Renters’ insurance covers only damage to household contents – personal property. Flood insurance, as required by the National Flood Insurance Program, provides the same sort of coverage – for both homeowners and renters – for damage due to flooding.
FEMA assistance can include money for rental assistance, essential home repairs, temporary housing, and for other serious disaster-related needs.
Uninsured and underinsured homeowners and renters may be eligible for FEMA grants to replace or repair such personal property as furniture and kitchen appliances. Survivors may also be eligible for Other Needs Assistance (ONA) grants to help with uninsured or underinsured expenses and serious needs caused by the disaster, including:
- Child care;
- Moving and storage expenses;
- Disaster-related dental and medical expenses, such as wheelchairs, canes and prescriptions;
- Repair or replacement of personal property lost or damaged in the storm, including furniture and appliances; and
- Primary vehicles, approved second vehicles and modified vehicles damaged by the disaster.
Survivors can register with FEMA online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by phone (voice, 711 or relay service) at 800-621-3362. (TTY users should call 800-462-7585.) The toll-free lines are open 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. Multilingual operators are available.
For more information on Texas recovery, visit the disaster web page at www.fema.gov/disaster/4266, Visit www.fema.gov/texas-disaster-mitigation for publications and reference material on rebuilding and repairing safer and stronger.
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.