Home damaged by the storm? Here’s what you should do right now

If your home was damaged by the storm, you shouldn’t wait until you get assistance money to begin the recovery and repair process, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Here is what the federal agency says you should do right now. All this information is courtesy FEMA.

You can apply for federal disaster assistance here while you make your repairs and file claims with your insurance company.

After the storm

  • Clean up debris as soon as possible. Don’t wait for an insurance adjuster or FEMA home inspector to come to your home.
  • Take photos or videos of the outside and inside of the building, including damaged personal property, and label them by room before you remove anything.
  • Photograph the make, model and serial number of items like washers and dryers, hot water heaters, kitchen appliances, TVs and computers.
  • Keep samples of carpet, flooring, wallpaper, drapes, etc.
  • Separate damaged from undamaged personal property items to show the adjuster.
  • After taking photos, immediately throw away items that pose a health risk, such as perishable food, clothing, cushions and pillows.
  • Before starting any structural work, be sure to get a building permit from your local building authorities. If you have insurance, you will want to call your adjuster or insurance company to let them know what structural repairs you have planned.

After applying for federal disaster assistance

It will not be necessary for all survivors who contact FEMA to have an inspector visit their home.

  • They may receive an email, auto-dialer call, or text message that allows them to provide FEMA with the extent of damage from the storm.
  • They may get a call from FEMA to determine eligibility.
  • Renters and homeowners will be asked to report their home damage.
  • Based on the information provided, they will receive a determination of award for Personal and/or Real Property.

If it is determined that a home inspection is necessary, a FEMA inspector will contact the applicant to schedule an appointment. However, because of the large number of damaged homes, it may take up to 30 days for an inspector to contact them to schedule an inspection.