If your home or place of employment was impacted by Hurricanes Harvey or Irma, here are some important steps you should take right away to help you get on the path to recovery.
- Reach out to your mortgage company as soon as possible. This is the company to which you make your monthly mortgage payments. A list of servicers is available from the Mortgage Bankers Association here. Let them know you've been impacted by Hurricane Harvey and provide them with your contact information and address if you're currently displaced so they can stay in touch with you. Many mortgage companies can offer you mortgage relief options like suspending your mortgage payments for up to 12 months.
- Register for disaster assistance at the federal (FEMA) and state levels. Even if you have insurance, it's a good idea to register. Whether you own or rent, if you are in a FEMA–declared disaster area, you are encouraged to register now at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or call 1–800–621–3362.
If Freddie Mac owns your mortgage and you live, or are employed, in a FEMA–declared disaster area with individual assistance available, your mortgage company can suspend your mortgage payments for up to 12 months.
- Contact your insurance agent(s) about your homeowners, flood, and car policies to find out what you can expect — including an explanation of benefits. For example, many homeowners policies cover alternative living expenses that can help provide you and your family with temporary housing needs, meals and other life necessities.
- Document the damage to your home and belongings with photos or videos, if possible. You'll also want to secure your property as best as possible, keeping it safe from potential vandalism while it sits empty.
Unfortunately, crises like this tend to bring out scam artists that don't have your best interests in mind. Please be wary of post–disaster scams and anyone offering to provide you with immediate assistance for money. Government officials will never ask for money and will always show their ID badges. If you do suspect fraud, please call the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866–720–5710 or 844–889–4357.
Please continue to follow our 2017 Hurricane Help blog series, for important information you need to get help.