As residents assess damage from Hurricane Matthew and begin repairing or rebuilding, the following information can help expedite storm victims file insurance claims and apply for other assistance.
To File an Insurance Claim:
The following steps should be taken to file an insurance claim:
- Contact your insurance agent as quickly as possible and ask for instructions on what to do until the adjuster arrives.
- Prepare an inventory of personal property that has been damaged or destroyed; take pictures of the damaged property.
- Keep all receipts. Reasonable expenses to protect your property are part of the loss and are generally reimbursed by insurance companies.
- Do not have permanent repairs made until your insurance company has inspected the property and you have reached an agreement on the cost of repairs.
- If your home is uninhabitable, most homeowner’s policies pay additional living expenses while your property is being repaired. Before renting temporary housing, check with your insurance company or agent to determine what expenses will be reimbursed.
- Review the settlement steps outlined in your policy. If you are dissatisfied with the proposed settlement offer, explain your position. If there is a significant difference between what the insurance company offers and what you believe you are entitled to, you may wish to submit the dispute to arbitration.
If you have questions about the insurance claims process or need assistance, you can call the Consumer Services Division of the N.C. Department of Insurance at 1-800-546-5664, your county cooperative extension agent or the N.C. Insurance News Service at 1-800-936-7475.
FEMA Disaster Assistance
Homeowners, renters and business owners in 23 counties are eligible to apply for assistance under the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Individual and Households Program. They are Beaufort, Bertie, Bladen, Columbus, Cumberland, Dare, Duplin, Edgecombe, Gates, Greene, Harnett, Hoke, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Lenoir, Nash, Pender, Pitt, Robeson, Sampson, Wayne and Wilson counties. Other counties are gathering the necessary documentation and may be added later.
Assistance can include grants for:
- Temporary housing
- Essential home repairs
- Uninsured and underinsured personal property losses
- Other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance
Applicants will be asked for the following information:
- Social Security number
- Address of the damaged primary residence
- Description of the damage
- Information about insurance coverage
- A current contact telephone number
- An address where they can receive mail
- Bank account and routing numbers for direct deposit of funds
Residents can apply at DisasterAssistance.gov, 800-621-3362 or (TTY) 800-462-7585. Applicants who use 711 or Video Relay Service may also call 800-621-3362. The toll-free numbers are open 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week. Multilingual operators are available. Disaster Recovery Centers also will be opening in flood-impacted communities during the next several weeks for those who would like to talk with someone in person.
Small Business Administration
Low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are available for businesses of all sizes (including landlords), private non-profit organizations, homeowners and renters. Disaster loans cover losses not fully compensated by insurance or other recoveries.
Business and nonprofits can apply for up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged real estate, machinery, equipment, inventory and other business assets. Loans for working capital, known as Economic Injury Disaster Loans, are available even if the business did not suffer any physical damage.
Homeowners can apply for up to $200,000 to repair or replace damaged real estate. Homeowners and renters can apply for up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged personal property, including automobiles.
Small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations in many of the counties listed above also may apply for SBA Physical and Economic Injury Disaster Loans.
For information or to request application forms, call the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dial 2-1-1 or 1-888-892-1162 to speak with a trained call specialist about Hurricane Matthew assistance in your area. The 24-hour service is free, confidential and offered in any language. Information is available about:
- Feeding sites and food banks
- Clean up assistance
- Water distribution sites
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) assistance
- County-specific resources
- General disaster recovery