GLADWIN/MIDLAND COUNTIES – September is National Preparedness Month and the flooding in mid-Michigan that caused millions of dollars in damage earlier this year, along with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, are important reminders disasters can impact anyone. Take the time this month to make an emergency plan and take simple steps to protect your home and family from future disasters.
Protect Your Home
Review your existing insurance policies and ensure the amount and extent are adequate to cover losses from any possible hazard. Homeowners’ insurance covers wind damage, but a rider needs to be added to insure against sewer backup. In addition, homeowners’ insurance doesn’t typically cover flooding, so you may need to purchase a flood insurance policy from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).Don’t wait until it’s too late: NFIP policies can take up to 30 days to go into effect. Learn your property’s flood risk by accessing your community’s flood map then talk to your insurance agent about the type of coverage that is best for your home.
Even if your property is in a low- or moderate-risk flood zone, FEMA recommends purchasing insurance from NFIP. More than 25 percent of flood insurance claims come from properties that are not in identified high-risk zones.There are many other ways you can minimize your home’s potential risk of costly flood damage, such as installing a sump pump and back flow valve, elevating utilities and landscaping to improve runoff.
Protect Yourself and Your Family
- Michigan State Police/Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division’s website MIREADY has comprehensive information on the importance of being informed and planning ahead.
- Visit Ready.gov/plan to learn how to make an emergency plan based on local weather hazards.
- Review your family’s emergency plans now to see if they should be altered due to COVID-19.
- Build disaster kits and have them ready in your home, work and vehicles. Visit Ready.gov/kit for more information.
- Make sure your kits are stocked with essential items, including those that can protect you and your family from COVID-19, such as masks, soap, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes and otherCenters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations. Consider the unique needs of each member in your household, such as supplies for seniors, individuals with disabilities, and pets.
- Download the Michigan mobile app. Basic supply checklists, Michigan-specific hazard factsheets, and links to stay connected and informed are included in the app.
- Download the FEMA mobile app. It provides severe weather alerts from the National WeatherService for up to five selected locations.- Plan how to leave and where to go if advised to evacuate. Always follow the instructions given by state, local, or tribal emergency management officials.To learn more about disaster risks and ways to prepare, visit Ready.gov.
Find more information about steps you can take before, during and after a flood at FloodSmart.gov.
Facts to know about Federal Disaster Assistance
Federal Assistance can be an important recovery resource for Michiganders with uninsured or underinsured property damage from the May storms and floods. It’s important to know the facts about the help that may be available to you.
Firstly, you won’t be taking grant money away from someone else by applying. There are enough disaster funds to assist every eligible applicant. FEMA assistance is provided to eligible homeowners and renters as grant funding that does not have to be repaid. Remember, federal assistance cannot duplicate insurance or payments from other sources.
FEMA assistance is nontaxable and will not affect eligibility for Social Security, Medicaid or other federal state benefits. While it’s a smart practice to get multiple cost estimates before hiring a contractor to do work on your home, you only need to submit one contractor quote or estimate when appealing a FEMA decision.
The Documentation Drop-off Centers are sites where survivors can submit documents to support their FEMA registration and get information about FEMA assistance. There are two centers currently open in Midland and Gladwin, with other centers due to open soon. The centers do not offer any COVID-19 testing.
If your insurance is delayed by 30 days or more, and you need immediate money to relocate, FEMA may be able to help. Contact the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585) to find out what you need to do to get this assistance. It is important to know that any money you may get from FEMA will be an advance and must be repaid when you get your insurance.
If your car had uninsured damage caused by the disaster, you may be eligible for money to help repair or replace it. Certain requirements apply, but you must register with FEMA first to determine eligibility.
If you applied for an SBA loan for the COVID-19 disaster, be aware that those loans are separate from the loans for the May flooding disaster. You should apply if you are referred to SBA for the May floods. You may be eligible for loans for both disasters.
Applicants may be eligible for an SBA loan amount increase up to 20 percent of their property’s physical damage to make their home safer. To learn more, visit SBA.gov/disaster or call 571-422-8013. If you applied for assistance through a voluntary organization or other federal or state agency, you are not registered with FEMA. If you aren’t sure, or to apply with FEMA, go online to DisasterAssistance.gov, call 800-621-3362, or download the FEMA mobile app.