OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. -- Disaster assistance often covers more than insurance. That is why Oklahomans affected by recent severe storms, tornadoes and flooding are urged by the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management (OEM) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to apply for assistance even if they have insurance.
"We want everyone who is eligible for assistance to receive help as soon as possible," said Federal Coordinating Officer Philip E. Parr. "By law, we cannot duplicate what insurance already covers. But we may be able to help with some disaster-related expenses, within our program limits."
Disaster assistance that may be available includes grants to help pay for:
- Temporary housing;
- Repairing wells and septic tanks;
- Household items and clothing;
- School supplies and tools required for a job;
- Chain saws, generators, dehumidifiers and other equipment necessary to deal with disaster-caused damage to a home or business; 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 Fred W. Liebe. "Then call again after receiving your insurance settlement to update your information."
Applicants can call the FEMA toll-free Helpline number 1-800-621-FEMA (3362), or TTY 1-800-462-7585 for the speech- or hearing-impaired.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- FEMA cannot duplicate what insurance already covers or pay deductibles;
- Applicants will be asked to submit proof of settlement.; and
- Applicants should save receipts for expenses that may be eligible and be ready to show them to the inspector when he or she visits to assess damage.
FEMA coordinates the federal government's role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.