POST HURRICANE WILMA LUNCHBAG PRESENTATION Presented by Cary Mitchell Legal Assistance Attorney 7th Coast Guard District Legal Office
Agenda: • Military Personnel & Civilian Employees Claims Act • Lessons learned from HAT Experience • FEMA Benefits and Eligibility Requirements • FAQ regarding Homeowner’s Insurance • FAQ regarding Flood Insurance • Renter’s Insurance Issues
Agenda • Available Legal Assistance • Avoiding Consumer Fraud • Websites of Interest • Preventative Law Reminders • Question and Answer Period
Military Personnel & Civilian Employees Claims Act: 14 USC 1946 • You may file a claim with the US Coast Guard under the above act if you sustained a loss on: • (1) You resided in Government owned or Government leased housing; • (2) military installations (including U.S. Navy bases, U.S. Coast Guard stations, federal property);
CG Personal Property Claim Procedures—who may file a claim • (3) Temporary housing that the claimant is authorized to occupy in the performance of temporary duty, or in the performance of an authorized temporary military assignment; or • (4) An area identified by the Coast Guard as a storage or parking facility AND you were directed by the Coast Guard to store property or park vehicles at the identified area.
Personal Property Claims through Coast Guard • You may receive payment for: Damage to or loss of personal property while traveling under government travel orders; • Damage to or loss of personal property during the performance of your duty to save lives, to assist people during a declared public disaster, or to assist in quieting a civil disturbance
CG claims procedure • If you have private insurance that covers the loss, you must first file a claim with your insurance company. • This also applies to motor vehicles. • Food spoilage claims and deductibles may be reimbursed through CG for members eligible under above criteria.
To file a damage claim with the U.S. Coast Guard the following forms are required: CG-4112 and CG-4111 (page 2 only) needs to be completed by the claimant, authorized agent or legal representative. Documentation needed to file a claim with US Coast Guard
Documentation needed to file a claim through US Coast Guard • CG-4112A needs to be completed by the Investigating Officer (i.e. assigned by claimant's Command or JAG) and endorsed by the claimant's Command. • You need to attach proof of ownership (i.e. vehicle registration; vehicle title, bill of sales; receipts) and proof of damages (i.e. photos; insurance policy; repair or replacement estimates).
Claim payment amount by US Coast Guard • Maximum claim amount is $40,000. Remember: personal property claims will be processed under depreciated vs. replacement process. • Call MLCLANT, Claims and Litigation Branch for more information, or the onsite JAG Officer or Legal Assistance Attorney. • USCG Hurricane Relief Legal Assistance at 1-866-811-3323.
LESSONS LEARNED THROUGH HAT EXPERIENCE BE PREPARED
Lessons Learned from Hurricane Assistance Team Experience (HAT) • HURRICANE PREPAREDNESS TRAINING SHOULD BE “ALL HANDS” • Purchase Renter’s Insurance • Purchase “Replacement vs. Actual Cost Policy” • Review Homeowner’s/Hurricane Policy—it doesn’t usually include Flood Insurance
Lessons Learned • Purchase flood insurance • Obtain comprehensive coverage for your automobile. • Research car history before purchasing used vehicle. • Prepare SPOA for spouse or other party to file claim before you are deployed or unavailable.
WHAT BENEFITS ARE AVAILABLE THROUGH FEMA? What are the eligibility requirements?
FEMA Individual and Households Program (IHP) • If disaster hits--you may be eligible for FEMA assistance if your residence is in an area classified as a Presidential disaster area. • The IHP provides money and services to people in the disaster area when losses are not covered by insurance and property has been damaged or destroyed. DEDUCTIBLES AREN’T REIMBURSEABLE.
Types of IHP Benefits • Q. What types of benefits are available under the IHP? • Temporary Housing: Money is available to rent a different place to live for limited time, or a government provided housing unit when rental properties are not available. • For homeowners, this money may be provided in addition to Home Repair, if needed.
FEMA Benefits • Repair: Money is available to homeowners to repair damage from the disaster that is not covered by insurance. • The goal is to assist with the cost of labor and materials for repairs to your home to make it safe, sanitary and/or functional, such as windows, doors, walls, septic system, heating, gas and electrical systems,.
IHP Benefits • Permanent Housing: Due to a lack of rental resources, the infeasibility of home repair and replacement housing assistance and the lack of available building contractors in your area, FEMA will have your home rebuilt. • This type of help occurs only in insular areas or remote locations specified by FEMA, where no other type of housing assistance is possible.
FEMA Benefits • Other Needs: Money is available for necessary expenses such as for medical, dental, funeral, personal property, transportation, moving and storage, and other expenses that are authorized by law. • Expedited Disaster Assistance: $2,000.00 to Hurricane Katrina; NOT Wilma • Maximum amount of FEMA assistance in Florida for Wilma according to Palm Beach Post was $27,200. Avg. payment in Palm Beach $2,359
Eligibility for Housing needs caused by a disaster • Generally, all the following must be true: • You have losses in an area that has been declared a disaster area by the President. • You or someone who lives with you is a citizen of the United States, a non-citizen national, or a qualified alien.
FEMA Eligibility Requirements • The home in the disaster area is where you usually live and where you were living at the time of the disaster. • You are not able to live in your home now, you cannot get to your home due to the disaster, or your home requires repairs because of damage from the disaster
Eligibility requirements (cont) • You have accepted assistance from all other sources for which you are eligible, such as insurance proceeds or SBA loans. • Repairs or rebuilding may not improve your home above its pre-disaster condition unless such improvements are required by current building codes.
Who is generally ineligible for IHP assistance • You are generally ineligible if: You have other, adequate rent-free housing that you can use (for example, rental property that is not occupied). • Your home that was damaged is your secondary or vacation residence. • Your expenses resulted only from leaving your home as a precaution and you were able to return to your home immediately after the incident.
Deadline for submitting claims • Generally, applications must be submitted within sixty days after the Presidential declaration: • Hurricane Wilma: declared on October 24, 2005—deadline: December 23, 2005
Monies must be used only on eligible expenses identified by FEMA • If you do not use the money as explained by FEMA, you may not be eligible for any additional help and may have to give the money back; • Is usually limited to up to 18 months from the date the President declares the disaster; • Does not have to be repaid; • Is tax-free;
Monies must be used only on eligible expenses identified by FEMA • Are not counted as income or a resource in determining eligibility for welfare, income assistance, or income-tested benefit programs funded by the Federal government; • Are exempt from claims of creditors, such as garnishment, seizure, encumbrance, levy, execution, pledge, attachment, release, or waiver; and • May not be reassigned or transferred to another person.
Cautions on IHP Benefits • You must keep receipts or bills for 3 years to demonstrate how all of the money was used in meeting your disaster-related needs • Before you begin any repairs, check with your local building department to find out what local permits or inspections are required.
While some money is available through IHP, most disaster aid from the Federal government is in the form of loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA) that must be repaid. Applicants to IHP may be required to seek help from SBA first, before being considered for certain types of IHP help. • IHP money may not be spent to cover utilities or other expenses incurred from staying with relatives or friends.
FEMA assistance • You can apply by telephone. Call 1-800-621 FEMA (3362). • You will receive a FEMA application number. FEMA will have a contractor (who is not a FEMA employee but will have a FEMA ID) inspect your premises within approximately 10 days.
FEMA Claims Process • You must be present. An inspection will be done and ownership/occupancy verified. • If eligible you will receive a housing assistance check or direct deposit within 7-10 days with a letter outlining what the money may be used on. • There is no fee for the inspection.
Homeowner’s Insurance FAQ’S REGARDING POLICY ISSUES
FAQ HOMEOWNER’S INSURANCE • Does my homeowners insurance policy cover flood damage? • Generally homeowners’ insurance policies do not offer protection against flood losses. You should check your policy under Section I Exclusions. It would probably be listed under "water damage".
FAQ Homeowner’s Insurance • The insured has replacement coverage for contents under a homeowner’s policy. Some of his property has been stolen. Can the company settle for an amount less than replacement? The company will usually pay the actual cash value for the loss or damage until the property is replaced. Once the insured replaces the damaged property and provides receipts to the company, the company should reimburse the difference.
FAQ HOMEOWNER’S POLICY • I have had homeowner’s insurance with the same company for years. I had three claims last year, and now the company will not renew my policy. Can they do this? • Yes. Each company has their own underwriting guidelines which indicate what risks they will assume. Section 627.4133, Florida Statute, permits an insurer to nonrenew a homeowner’s policy as long as they give the insured 90 days advance written notice and the reason for the nonrenewal.
FAQ HOMEOWNER’S INSURANCE CONTINUED • My company cancelled my homeowner’s insurance. I am having a hard time finding another company to insure me. Where can I get assistance? You may want to call (or have your agent call) the Florida Market Assistance Plan. Their telephone number is 1-800-524-9023.
FLOOD INSURANCE Be careful!!!! In most instances, flood insurance must be purchased separately
FLOOD INSURANCE • 1. Everyone lives in a flood zone. You don’t need to live near water to be flooded. • 2. What is flood damage: floods are caused by storms, hurricanes, and water backup due to inadequate or overloaded drainage systems, dam or levee failure,etc • 3. FLOOD DAMAGE IS NOT COVERED BY HOMEOWNER’S POLICIES
FLOOD INSUR. CONTINUED • You can purchase flood insurance for up to $250,000 for the building and up to $100,000 for contents through the National Flood Insurance Program. • Warning: Contents coverage is separate. Check with your agent to ensure coverage both under homeowner’s policy and renter’s insurance. • You can buy flood insurance no matter whether you live in a high, medium or low risk area as long as your community participates in the NFIP.
Flood Insurance • Flood insurance is affordable-average annual policy costs $300 for $100,000 coverage. • There is a 30 day waiting period after you apply and have paid the premium before the policy is effective. • You can purchase through your insurance agent—your policy is backed by the federal govt.
Telephone numbers to obtain flood insurance information • For an agent call 1-800-720-1093 or the National Flood Insurance Program 1-800-720-1090
RENTER’S INSURANCE Purchase content coverage for personal belongings! What is covered under policy?
Renter’s Insurance • Generally your landlord’s homeowner’s or flood policy does not cover a tenant’s personal property losses. • Tenant responsible for obtaining own renter’s insurance. • Renter’s Insurance doesn’t cover your building (landlord’s or condo assoc. insurance does) but it does cover your “contents” or belongings.
RENTER’S INSURANCE CONT. • IMPORTANT: Ensure you purchase “replacement cost coverage” vs. “actual cash value (ACV). • Check your insurance policy. Some automatically provide one or the other coverage. • Replacement coverage premiums cost more but they will pay out more if you need to file a claim.
RENTER’S INSURANCE POLICY • Many policies for diamond rings, computers, and other valuable assets require an additional rider. • Determine whether your policy includes food spoilage under deductible provision or is paid without deductible. : MOST USAA policies pay up to $500.00 without requiring you to pay deductible.
RENTER’S INSURANCE • “Additional living expenses”: Policy may provide temporary housing, hotels, etc if your home becomes unlivable due to fire, burst pipes, or other reasons outlined in policy. • This coverage has a limit of 30-40% of total value of policy. Ex. Insured for $100,000 “additional living expenses” will be limited to $30-40,000 depending on policy.
Additional Renter’s Insurance Benefits • Insurance company will continue to pay while home being rebuilt, replaced or you permanently relocate. May have 12 month or “reasonable length of time” outlined in policy. • Waterbed liability provision is standard in most policies. If your waterbed bursts and the water damages apartment below yours, renter’s insurance may cover the damage.
RENTER’S INSURANCE PREMIUM COST • Cost depends on many factors: where you live, your deductible, your insurance company and if you need additional coverage. • Usually $150-$300 per year for $30,000-$35,000 coverage of personal possessions and $100,000-$300,000 liability protection.
Insurance Premium Issues • Dog ownership may cost you more: rottweilers, pit bulls, and Doberman pinschers mentioned by insurance companies as causing high premiums. • Look for available “discounts”-smoke and fire detectors, burglar alarms, fire extinguishers etc.
Renter’s Insurance Tips • You will need separate policy or rider coverage for flood coverage. You may also need to purchase a separate rider to cover you for windstorm damage. • Shop around for policy quotes. • GOOD PRACTICE TIP: Review all insurance policies including auto and boat coverage to ensure you are adequately covered.