First West Insurance Blog

All You Ever Wanted to Know About Insurance

Disaster Preparedness, FEMA and More

If the unthinkable happens, First West understands that your most valuable assets are more than just items on a balance sheet. That information is critical during a time of catastrophe.

Sites to Check Out
The following sites are additional resources to assist with preparing for and recovering from disaster.

  • American Red Cross
    The American Red Cross not only provides disaster relief nationally, but is part of a global humanitarian network, responding to those in need.
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
    FEMA is an independent agency of the federal government, which provides preparedness and response and recovery support to the nation.
  • National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
    NOAA is a federal agency and the primary source of weather data and warnings for the United States.
  • U.S. Small Business Administration
    The SBA is an independent agency of the federal government that aids, counsels, assists and protects the interests of small business concerns.

Frequently Asked Questions about FEMA

What if I don't have enough (or any) insurance?
You may qualify for grants from FEMA, low-interest loans from the Small Business Administration, or the Farm Service Agency, or you may qualify for tax refunds for items that were not covered by insurance.

How do I get assistance?
Information on tax assistance, grants and loans can be obtained at a Disaster Recovery Center, or by calling FEMA at 1-800-462-9029. After your application is reviewed, the damaged property is inspected to verify the loss, and that will determine the type and extent of assistance that will be provided. Audits are done later to ensure that the aid goes only to those who are eligible and that the funds are used for their intended purposes.

What services are available?
FEMA may be able to provide Disaster Housing for up to 18 months, Low Interest Disaster Loans (from the SBA) to cover uninsured property losses, Disaster Grants to earthquake victims who would be unable to repay a loan, and other services such as crises counseling, unemployment assistance, legal aid, and assistance with income tax implications.

When should I apply?
FEMA encourages earthquake victims to apply for aid as soon as possible. The deadline for most individual assistance programs is 60 days following the Presidents major disaster declaration.

What assistance is available from the SBA?
The SBA has a Disaster Loan program that helps homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and nonprofit organizations fund rebuilding after a disaster. The loans generally have low interest rates and long repayment terms to make SBA recovery more affordable.

What if I need more information?
More information is available by visiting FEMA's website at www.fema.gov, and by visiting the SBA website at www.sba.gov. Additionally, you can also contact the IRS about tax relief by calling 1-800-829-1040, or visiting www.irs.gov.

For more advice on protecting things that matter to you most through California car insurance, home insurance and more, contact us today