Who Pays for Disaster Services?

After a disaster has impacted your home, you may face many challenges. One is paying for cleanup, restoration, and repair services. Fortunately, financial difficulties don’t have to impede your ability to restore your home after a fire, flood, or other devastating event. Several options can cover the cost of disaster services and get your home and life back in order. 

Homeowner’s/Renter’s Insurance

The type and amount of coverage varies depending on your insurance policy. Most standard policies include some coverage for damage related to lightning strikes, tornadoes, winter storms, fires, falling objects, vehicles, and aircraft. However, flood damage is often excluded from standard insurance policies. 

You would need separate flood insurance coverage either from your insurance carrier or the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The same goes for earthquake coverage or sewer backups (as a separate policy or an endorsement to your existing one).

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

FEMA disaster assistance can help you recover but only covers basic needs to make your home safe, sanitary, and functional. For example, it can provide assistance to replace or repair HVAC systems, refrigerators, and stoves damaged by a disaster. The cost of restoring your plumbing, gas, and electrical system can also be covered. 

However, FEMA doesn’t cover non-essential items like dishwashers and home entertainment systems. But if you have ceiling and roof damage, a damaged subfloor (not carpets, tiles, and other floor coverings), or broken windows, FEMA can cover repairs/disaster services.

If you receive a FEMA disaster grant, it must be used for disaster-related expenses. Using it for travel, entertainment, or other discretionary expenses can disqualify you from future eligibility for federal assistance.

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

If federal disaster assistance is not enough to restore your home to its original condition, you can apply for an SBA loan. If referred to the SBA, you should complete the application whether you plan to accept a loan or not. As of 2021, businesses can receive up to $2 million for property damage, and homeowners can receive up to $200,000 to cover disaster services or to repair/replace their primary residence. To replace personal property, including vehicles, homeowners and renters can receive up to $40,000

California Department of Social Services, Disaster Services Section

The California Department of Social Services (CDSS) is responsible for three programs that provide victims of disasters with various types of support. These include:

  • Mass Care and Shelter: The Disaster Services Bureau supports local emergency agencies to shelter those who cannot safely remain in their home. It mainly provides a disaster response function, while the American Red Cross operates the shelters with assistance from county or local employees. The Disaster Services Bureau tracks shelter status and feeding services, coordinates state resources, and supports sheltering operations.
  • Individuals and Households Program (IHP): A joint federal and state program under FEMA, the IHP provides assistance to help cover home repair/replacement, transportation repair/replacement, and medical, dental, and other personal expenses when the President issues a disaster declaration. Each situation is handled on a case-by-case basis.
  • State Supplemental Grant Program (SSGP): Can provide grant funds to those who’ve suffered damage in a federally declared disaster area or when the federal government provides assistance to the IHP. The state-funded grant is available to people who have applied to FEMA and received the maximum IHP award. It covers items the IHP has not previously addressed.

Other state-funded support includes the CalWORKs Homeless Assistance Program. It will pay for up to 16 days in a motel to eligible families that receive CalWORKs assistance. It’s operated by county welfare departments. In counties with a Housing Support Program, you can receive help finding longer-term housing.

Beyond repair or housing support, you can receive assistance from CalWORKs, which provides cash aid and services to eligible families with children. Monthly food benefits can be provided by CalFresh. It also replaces food purchased with benefits if spoiled due to a power outage or fire. During federal disaster declarations, a 30-day benefit is available to those normally not eligible.

Restorerz Works with Most Insurance Companies

Restorerz – Emergency Services is authorized to work with most insurance companies and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We can respond to emergencies of any size in 60 minutes or less. Whether your home has been affected by a fire, mold, or water damage, our team can assist with the initial cleanup and the entire repair and restoration process. Financing options are available to help you budget for restoring your home to its original condition. To request disaster services, call 323 402-6156 now.

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