If a flood wrecks your house and belongings, and you don’t have flood insurance, what can you do?
That’s the billion-dollar question with Irma headed to Florida and cleanup after Harvey beginning.
Some help from the federal government will be available, and many will need it.
CoreLogic, an analytics company, estimates Harvey caused $25 billion to $37 billion in damage to homes in Texas and Louisiana. Of that, 70% — $18 billion to $27 billion — of the damaged property is uninsured, the company says.
Only about 12% of homeowners nationwide and 14% in the South had flood insurance in 2016, according to an Insurance Information Institute poll.
Home insurance does not pay to repair the house or replace belongings damaged by flooding. Flood insurance is separate coverage. Most flood policies come through the National Flood Insurance Program and are serviced by private insurers (like your home insurance company).
Comprehensive car insurance, an optional coverage, pays for flood damage to a vehicle. If you have purchased only the minimum liability insurance required by your state, you don’t have coverage for flood damage to your car.
Getting help if you don’t have flood insurance
If your home and belongings are flood-damaged and you don’t have flood insurance, some help may be available from the federal government through small grants and larger low-cost loans.
The maximum amount of FEMA grant money for repairs is $33,000 for a household. Up to $200,000 is available through loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration. You don’t have to own a business to qualify. Federal help is available only for a primary home, not for second homes.