Natural disasters can kill you in the blink of an eye, but it can take months to eliminate the financial damage. Still, the affected people have many sources of help.
Here’s how you can get help and be strategic with your resources when you get started Reconstruct after a disaster..
Address your immediate needs first.
First of all: Contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency and text the zip code and “DRC” to 43362 for assistance via the Disaster Recovery Center. Send a text message to the same number with “Apple” or “Android” and FEMA’s mobile app with additional resources such as shelter locations.
We can also support local and state agencies and non-governmental groups such as the Red Cross. Call 211 from any phone or 211.org Get information.
Also check your credit card and hotel loyalty account. You may have points or a free accommodation voucher.Most hotel loyalty programs offer Generous extension of expiration date For certificates that are no longer used due to a pandemic. In addition, some general award credit cards allow you to use your points to book hotels directly from your own travel portal or transfer points to specific hotel loyalty programs.
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Second, it tends to be a financial problem.
Look at the processing of your finances as soon as possible. FEMA provides unemployment support, rental support, legal services and more. You can register in several ways, including online registration. Disasterassistance.govAt the disaster recovery center, via the FEMA app, or by phone at 800-621-3362.
Money Management International, a non-profit credit counseling institution, Project porch light It provides victims with up to a year of support. This program helps people navigate unfamiliar processes, meet deadlines, and deal with trauma that makes task processing difficult.
There are several tasks to handle.
Please contact your insurance company as soon as possible.
Act quickly to get the most out of it Home insurance, Lessee coverage or car insurance.
Please check the policy regarding the types of damages covered, the limits of coverage, and the deductions.Housing and renter policies usually do not cover flood damage, so check the following: Flood insurance Similarly.Flood and wind damage to your car will be covered as long as you have Comprehensive insurance To your automatic policy.
Mark Friedlander, director of corporate communications at the Insurance Information Association, said in an email that he would report the damage to the agency or insurance company as soon as possible. Insurance companies face a large number of claims, so the sooner you submit, the better.
According to Friedlander, ask about coverage, timeframes for filing and processing claims, whether claims exceed deductions, and whether you need a quote for repairing structural damage. You will need to ask about compensation for living expenses and car rental refunds if you move. Some insurance companies also cover the loss of spoiled food.
When you talk to your insurance company, ask what you can throw away and what you should document for your claim. According to Friedlander, he will take pictures and videos of the damage and do what he can to protect his property. Take detailed notes about all interactions with the insurance company.
Call your mortgage company and other creditors.
If you’re worried about your monthly mortgage payment, contact your mortgage servicer as soon as possible to discuss it before you miss a payment. Mortgage grace option..
Foreclosure is a way to avoid foreclosure and may allow you to make partial payments or suspend payments altogether for an agreed period of time.
Actively communicate with creditors, Bruce McClary, a spokesman for the National Credit Counseling Foundation, said in an email. Impassable roads, power outages, internet access, and telephone services are all factors that can prevent you from paying on time. “If your creditors become aware of these things, they may be able to provide temporary payment relief,” McClary said. Hardship program For some time, we may waive fees or lower interest rates.
You may have to use a credit card to receive cash from an ATM, as cash is the king in areas where power and communication are lost. Note that interest rates are usually higher, according to McClary.
Contact your university for assistance asking for a student loan suspension.
Federal student loan payments remain suspended until January. However, some private student loan lenders can withstand natural disasters in these situations.
If your or your family’s finances are affected, please contact your school’s financial assistance office. Ask about the expert’s judgment to reassess the eligibility of financial assistance as circumstances change. You can also apply for more immediate funding through the school’s Emergency Financial Assistance Fund.
If you move, please notify the financial assistance office of your move. Inform teachers and advisors about changes in their ability to attend classes and complete course work.
Be strategic with aid, credit and debt when you dig.
Kate Bulger, Senior Director of Business Development at MMI, said in an email: “Today, applying for as much help as possible and saving cash means that more money remains when consumers are ready to rebuild.”
After you run out of aid and your emergency funds, you will probably need to buy essentials or rely on credit to repair the damage.Recently, some major credit card issuers Make it easier (and cheaper) Often at lower continuous interest rates to turn available credit lines into installment loans. Alternatively, you may be allowed to split a large emergency purchase into predictable monthly payments.
Once your debt situation is clear, consider strategies for paying off your balance. Debt Snowball, which focuses your efforts on the minimum debt first, while maintaining the minimum payments to others, can give you some quick wins and motivations.
Finally, be careful Debt relief options For fighting an amount that exceeds your repayment capacity.
This article was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website Nerd Wallet.
NerdWallet: Looking for financial support after a disaster https://bit.ly/nerdwallet-financial-help
Federal Disaster Assistance: https://www.disasterassistance.gov/
NerdWallet: What is a Credit Card Tribulation Program? https://bit.ly/nerdwallet-hardship-program
NerdWallet: Debt Relief: Understand Your Options and Results https://bit.ly/nerdwallet-debt-options
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