No one ever wants to experience property damage. Whether it’s a natural disaster, a fire, or some other type of accident, it can be a very traumatic event. Not only is your home or business damaged, but also your personal belongings.
And if you’re not insured, it can be an even bigger financial blow. But even if you are insured, recovering from property damage can be a long and expensive process.
Possible Damage to Your Home After a Disaster
Many kinds of disasters hit the US every year. The most common are hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes. But other types of disasters, such as wildfires and earthquakes, can also cause a lot of damage to homes and businesses. In general, these involve hiring professionals for restoration and preventing further damage.
For instance, a water damage restoration company in Greater Upper Marlboro, MD, provides water damage restoration, mold remediation, and other services to help people recover from disasters.
Here are some of the most common types of damage that can occur after a disaster:
- Roof damage
- Water damage
- Wind damage
- Fire damage
- Structural damage
Having the damage fixed as soon as possible is essential if you’ve experienced any of these. Otherwise, further damage can occur and could cost you even more money. Visit water and smoke damage clean up in Bowie if you’re nearby for fire and water damage services.
How to Recover Financially After Property Damage
1. File a claim from your insurance company.
The first step in recovering financially from property damage is to file a claim with your insurance company. If you have homeowner’s or business insurance, you should be covered for at least some repairs.
However, remember that there may be a deductible that you have to pay before your insurance coverage kicks in. There are other options if you’re having a hard time paying for your deductibles, such as:
- Government assistance. FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) provides financial assistance to those who have experienced a disaster. For example, they can grant you a loan to pay for flood restoration services or help you relocate if your home is uninhabitable.
- Personal loans. You may apply for a personal loan from a bank or other financial institution to help you pay for repairs. Just ensure you understand the loan terms before you sign anything.
- Credit cards. You can also use a credit card to pay for repairs, but be aware that this will likely result in high-interest rates. But if you have good credit standing, you may be able to get a 0% APR introductory credit card. In other words, you don’t have to pay any interest on the money you borrow for a set period, usually 12-18 months. However, after the intro period ends, the interest rate will increase, so be sure you can repay the full balance before that happens.
2. Get a loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA).
If your business has been damaged, you may be eligible for a loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBA offers low-interest loans to businesses affected by disasters.
You can use the money from the loan to repair or replace equipment, inventory, or property. You can also use the money to help with other expenses, such as payroll or rent.
3. Get help from a public adjuster.
If you’re having difficulty getting your insurance claim approved or feel like the insurance company is lowballing you, you might want to hire a public adjuster.
A public adjuster is a professional who works on behalf of the policyholder to help them get the maximum settlement possible from their insurance company.
4. Start looking into your spending habits.
If you’re struggling to make ends meet after a disaster, it might be time to look at your spending habits. There are a few ways to cut back on your spending, such as:
- Eating out less often
- Canceling unnecessary subscriptions
- Downgrading your cable package
- Cutting back on shopping trips
5. Create or adjust your budget.
If you don’t have a budget, now is the time to create one. If you already have a budget, then now is the time to adjust it.
A budget can help you track your spending and ensure you’re not spending more than you can afford. It can also help you make changes to your spending habits if necessary.
6. Start an emergency fund.
One of the best ways to prepare for a disaster is to start an emergency fund. This is money you set aside per month to use in case of an unexpected expense, including a car repair or a medical bill.
Ideally, you should aim to save up enough money to cover three to six months of living expenses. But even if you can only save up a few hundred dollars, it will still be helpful in the event of a disaster.
7. Consider getting disaster insurance.
If you don’t have disaster insurance, now might be the time to consider getting it. Disaster insurance is a type of policy that covers damages caused by natural disasters, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes.
Note that standard homeowners insurance policies often do not cover damage from these disasters. So if you live in an area prone to these kinds of events, it’s worth considering getting disaster insurance.
8. Reduce your risk.
You can take a few steps to lessen the risks of a disaster. For example, if you live in an area prone to hurricanes, you can take steps to hurricane-proof your home, such as installing hurricane shutters or reinforcing your roof.
You can also reduce your risk by being prepared. This means creating an emergency plan and a disaster kit containing food, water, and other essentials.
9. Look for ways to increase your income.
The following are tips for increasing your income:
- Start a side hustle: If you have some extra time, you can start a side hustle to make extra money. Many options are available, such as dog walking, ride-sharing, or freelance writing.
- Get a part-time job: If you cannot commit to a full-time job, consider getting a part-time job instead. This can be a good way to make extra money and help you get your foot at the door of a company you’re interested in.
- Ask for a raise: If you feel underpaid, don’t be afraid to ask for a raise. This is especially helpful if you’ve been with a company for a while and you feel overdue for a raise.
- Look for other sources of income: There are other sources of income that you can tap into, such as investment income, social security benefits, or unemployment benefits.
10. List down your debt.
If you’re in debt, now is the time to start paying it off. The sooner you can get out of debt, the better. Start paying off your debt with high interests first, then move on to your other debt.
Also, you can try negotiating with your creditors to get a lower interest rate or set up an affordable payment plan.
11. Consider filing for bankruptcy.
Filing for bankruptcy is sometimes your best option. You must only consider this as a last resort after exhausting all other options. Hire a professional who can help you through the process if you decide to file for bankruptcy.
Your Mental Health After a Disaster
The psychological effects of a disaster can be just as devastating as the physical ones. If you have experienced a disaster, you may feel:
- Shock and disbelief
- Anxiety and fear
- Anger and frustration
- Guilt and shame
- Sadness and depression
- Loneliness and isolation
Tips for Coping with the Mental Effects of a Disaster
1. Acknowledge your feelings.
You must understand that it’s normal to feel a range of emotions after a disaster. Don’t bottle up your feelings. Instead, find an outlet to express them.
2. Talk to someone who will understand.
Talk to someone who you trust about what you’re going through. This can be a friend, family member, therapist, or hotline worker.
3. Take care of yourself.
Take care of yourself physically and emotionally, including getting enough sleep, eating healthy foods, and exercising to help you cope with stress.
4. Seek professional help if necessary.
If you have a difficult time recovering from the aftermath of a disaster, you may need to seek professional help from an expert.
Disaster can happen anytime, anywhere. You should be prepared both physically and mentally. Following the tips above can increase your chances of weathering the storm.
On top of these, choose a reputable restoration company to help you with the aftermath of a disaster. For example, PuroClean flood cleanup is a professional service that can help you with water damage restoration, mold removal, and more.