Hurricane Katrina Victims May Have Additional Assistance Open to Them

October 4, 2005

People who have applied for assistance for Hurricane Katrina losses may still be able to get help even if they have received a letter from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) saying they are ineligible because they are insured.

People who get such a letter should consider calling FEMA back at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or TTY 1-800-462-7585 after their insurance claim has been settled.

“By law, we cannot duplicate what insurance already covers or pays for deductibles,” explained Bill Carwile, the official in charge of the federal disaster response in Mississippi. “But in some cases, if insurance did not cover all your losses, we may be able to help, within our program limitations. So please contact us after you get your settlement.”

Carwile gave these examples of what FEMA may cover for insured victims:

* Expenses for renting a hotel room while a home is inaccessible or uninhabitable, if insurance does not cover the cost;
* Uninsurable items such as wells, septic tanks or access to the home;
* Cash advances, often made when insurance settlements are delayed more than 30 days but which must be paid back if covered in final settlements.

When insured applicants reapply, they will be asked to submit proof of the insurance settlement.

“Even if you have insurance coverage, don’t wait for a settlement before calling to register with FEMA at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362),” said Robert Latham, director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA). “If you wait for your insurer to act, it may be too late to register for federal assistance. So call FEMA now, and then, after receiving your insurance settlement, call FEMA back with your case number and update your information.”

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