The recent flooding in Louisiana is having a disastrous affect on the lives of those who live in the state. An estimated 90 percent of homes in some areas have been flooded, forcing thousands to leave everything they own behind as they seek safety.
While the situation may seem hopeless, Louisiana residents are well known for their perseverance. Additionally, help is available.
How to get financial help
The federal government has designated 20 parishes as disaster areas. This means that you are eligible to request financial aid, including:
- Rent for temporary housing
- Grant money for repairs and replacement of personal items
- Unemployment benefits for qualifying employees
- Loans to cover residential, business and agricultural losses
All of these and other relief programs are available free of charge from FEMA. Register at www.disasterassistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362.
How to file a flood insurance claim
Flood insurance policies are separate from homeowner policies. If you purchased flood insurance for your home, take the following steps for filing a claim:
- Contact your insurance agent right away. With the number of claims that are sure to be placed, it is important to act quickly.
- Take photos and make lists of damaged and lost items. For health reasons, waterlogged belongings may need to be thrown away quickly. Create a list of everything you lost and document all of the damage you sustained. Take lots of photos in each room and outside of your house and any other buildings that were damaged. Photograph the water level, structural damages and individual items as well. These photos will help the adjuster calculate what you are owed.
- File a "Proof of Loss" form with your insurance company within 60 days. This is a sworn statement that is used to support your claim. This document is required in order for you to recover your losses.
If you are unsure whether you have flood insurance coverage, contact your insurance agent directly