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.
Low-cost loans from the SBA
You might be eligible for a low-cost loan through the U.S. Small Business Administration if your home or stuff was damaged. The money is only for uninsured losses and if the damaged home is your primary residence. The maximum interest rate is 4% if you can’t get credit elsewhere and 8% if you can get credit from another lender. The terms are for up to 30 years. Here’s what’s available, along with some of the restrictions:
- Loan of up to $200,000 to repair or replace your primary home. You can’t use the loan to make upgrades or additions, unless they’re required by building codes.
- Loan to refinance up to $200,000 of a mortgage. This is available only if you can’t get credit elsewhere, suffered uninsured damage and plan to make repairs.
- Loan of up to $40,000 to replace damaged belongings, such as clothing, furniture, cars and appliances. Renters and homeowners can apply.
By BARBARA MARQUAND
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