The Individuals and Households program (IHP) will help anyone with damage, regardless of income. The first step is to get into the system.
TAMPA, Fla. – Tens of thousands of families across the Tampa Bay area are trying to rebuild after Hurricane Ian, but what do you do if you don’t have enough coverage – or the right coverage? Survivors of last week’s storm say they’re tired, and many have lost everything. So 8 On Your Side wanted to simplify how and where they can get help.
Gary Alesio and his wife Carol live in Port Charlotte and feel lucky they survived Hurricane Ian. But still, on their face, you can see the trauma.
“If you had some control – you have no control over anything,” Alesio said.
To help survivors like the Alesios file claims, and rebuild, the state set up two insurance sites. One is located in Port Charlotte, the other is in Fort Myers. Gov. Ron DeSantis visited one of the sites Tuesday and explained that most Hurricane Ian claims will be for flood damage.
“I think it’s going to be, probably, more of a flood event whereas Hurricane Michael was almost entirely a wind event,” said Gov. DeSantis.
But a standard homeowners policy only covers wind damage, not flood. That means tens of thousands of homeowners are in trouble. 8 On Your Side asked Tasha Carter, the state’s Insurance Consumer Advocate, what people without flood insurance are going to do.
“So the resource right now for those individuals that experience flood damage but don’t have flood insurance is to request assistance through FEMA,” Carter said.
If you don’t have flood insurance
It’s called the Individuals and Households program, or IHP. According to a FEMA spokesperson, anyone with damage, regardless of income, is eligible to apply for the assistance.
IHP will pay to fix windows, walls, floors, plumbing, air conditioning systems and more. While it is no substitute for insurance, the basic repairs will make your home safe and livable.
The first step is to get into the system by applying on FEMA’s app or going to DisasterAssistance.gov. There’s only one claim per household.
The application will ask for your name, address, phone number, social security number, list of losses and banking information if you choose direct deposit. Make sure you fill out your application properly so there are no additional delays.
The application requires you to list damages and losses. A FEMA inspector may come to your home to determine how much you get.
The best part is you don’t have to pay it back.
If you do have insurance
If you have insurance, you need to contact them first. FEMA cannot duplicate benefits.
FEMA help is possible only if you’re under-insured.
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