With the recent devastation people have experienced in Louisiana by the floods, some new light is being shed on what financial moves you may need to make after you are hit by a Flood. Over the prior weekends, I did a small piece on the Weather Channel to give some financial guidance for people in Louisiana who were hit by the flood. With only 12% to 14% of the homeowners actually having flood insurance in an area that was not considered a flood plain, the big question is what money moves you should make after the flood comes through your neighborhood. Source (FEMA.gov)
TIME TO MAKE AN INSURANCE CLAIM
- The first thing is you should try to go back and take photos, but be safe as water damage may make parts of your home extremely unsafe.
- One thing you should determine is whether or not you want to hire a licensed independent insurance adjuster to work as an advocate for you or go directly to your insurance company. Remember, the insurance company will want to limit what you can get back on a claim.
- You must ultimately file a claim, because a failure to file a claim may affect your eligibility for federal assistance.
LEARN WHAT FINANCIAL RESOURCES ARE AVAILABLE
- For federal disasters, you could get temporary housing and non-housing needs (medical, dental, clothing) covered by FEMA. However, the most you will be eligible for from FEMA is $33,000, but you are likely to get less. (Source: DisasterAssistance.gov)
- Exhaust all charitable organizations you can uncover that have raised funds for flood victims in your area. Shorter term, the Red Cross, Salvation Army, and United Way can be helpful.
- The Small Business Administration, SBA, may provide a federally subsidized disaster loan to repair or replace your home up $200,000. There is more money for small businesses and farms if you qualify.
ALERT YOUR FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS
- If you are worried about identity theft, you could freeze your credit by calling the major credit agencies.
- Alerting your bank will allow them to more closely monitor your accounts in case there is suspicious activity from someone who got their hands on your financial information.
- Be level headed about how you pay for what you need to replace so you don’t over leverage credit card debt.
KNOW THE IRS RULES
- Get your hands on IRS Publication 547 (The big question will be whether a federal disaster declaration was made for your area).
- You will most likely be able to deduct uninsured losses come tax time, so keep very good records.
Ted Jenkin is a frequent guest columnist for the Wall Street Journal and Headline News Weekend Express. He is the co-CEO of oXYGen Financial. You can follow him on LinkedIn @www.linkedin.com/in/theceoadvisor or on Twitter @tedjenkin.
Securities offered through Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS), an affiliate of Kestra IS. oXYGen Financial is not affiliated with Kestra IS or Kestra AS. Kestra IS and Kestra AS do not provide tax or legal advice.