This year’s hurricane season has been tough for millions of people both here in Florida and across the southern and coastal United States. There will be a long process of rebuilding and recovering lives as many homes, businesses, communities and even entire metropolitan cities were devastated by high winds and rapidly rising flood waters.
There are many things that people should be aware of when sifting through the mess and figuring out how to proceed with their lives after being directly affected by a massive destructive force of nature like a hurricane. It starts with checking out your homeowners/renters insurance and/or flood insurance. Look at your policy and see what is and is not covered before you begin to submit your claim. With the massive influx of claims that coincide with the aftermath of a natural disaster, it will help expedite the process if you try to minimize the amount of back and forth communication due to ignorance of your own policies.
Even if you don’t have insurance, there may still be options available to help you and your family through the difficulties of coping with tremendous personal losses due to a huge tropical storm or hurricane. For instance, you can apply for federal disaster relief aid through FEMA. You may be eligible for grants that can help with temporary housing or emergency home repairs. Head over to www.fema.gov to get started.
As far as food and medications are concerned, don’t put you or your loved ones health at risk by trying to salvage compromised food stuffs or prescription medicines. Food that requires constant temperature control can spoil after an extended period of time without regulation, even if it still looks and smells ok. And any medications that were damaged due to flood waters can also be tainted by various contaminates that are commonly found during flood situations, like common trash, toxic chemicals and even human waste.
It is also prudent to find out if any of your losses due to a hurricane hitting your community are tax deductible. For instance, if the area you live in has been deemed a federal disaster area by the United States government, you may be able to claim your losses you took due to the storm on your taxes.
There isn’t much that you can do after a hurricane to avoid all problems associated with their devastating force, but doing your level best to be informed about your home and business insurance policies and having a well prepared emergency plan can go a long way in making your recovery process an easier road to travel.
Here are some helpful resources:
Call Congressman John Rutherford’s office in Jacksonville (904-831-5205) for any assistance you may need working with federal agencies regarding Hurricane Irma recovery.
Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA)
Visit www.disasterassistance.gov to learn more and apply for assistance programs, including the Individual and Households Program (IHP), or call 1-800-621-3362.
Veterans can contact the Health Resources Center Disaster Hotline at 1-800-507-4571.