1) Who do I contact regarding flood losses? If you have flood insurance, call your insurance company to put in a claim. They will contact a FEMA related adjuster to evaluate your house and your potential claim. Your official claim for damages is called a Proof of Loss. This must be fully completed and signed and in the hands of your insurance company within 60 days after the loss occurs.
2.) Who is FEMA and why are they involved with my insurance claim? FEMA is the Federal Emergency Management Agency. All flood insurance claims in a natural disaster - no matter who the individual insurance carrier is – are evaluated by insurance adjusters working for FEMA. Certain disaster aid grants and free funds for raising homes in floodplain zones are also available through FEMA (see # 7) For more information or questions regarding FEMA assistance: visit www.fema.gov. You can review their Frequently Asked Questions or send an e-mail to faq.fema.gov.
If you feel your insurance company is not responding or if your deductible is higher than what is stated on your declarations page, call the District Legal Services Hotline (888)-541-1900. If you are denied by FEMA, for ANY type of claim (see below) they urge you to bring in your paperwork to them to be sure it wasn't a clerical error or to see if they can help with an appeal.
If you have questions specific to your application with FEMA, please call FEMA’s Helpline Number: 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). If you have a speech disability or hearing loss and use a TTY, call 1-800-462-7585 directly; if you use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362.
3.) What do I do if I do not have flood insurance? If you are uninsured and have suffered any type of flood loss, you should apply for FEMA disaster aid. Please contact:
There is also a FEMA center at the Cape May Court House Public Library, 30 Mechanic Street in CMCH where you can go to apply for disaster aid in person. Please look at website beforehand and bring all relevant documents with you to apply. **
FEMA is advising that all town residents affected by storm losses should apply here for disaster funds, no matter what their insurance status is.
4.) I was not able to come to town for a few days (weeks) - how can I determine the extent ( if any) of flood and mold damage to my home ?First and foremost you should begin to document the status of your house with clear photographs of any potential flood damages. Be sure to photograph and document any interior and exterior water lines before they are disturbed or washed away.
You can either hire a contractor/electrician to evaluate damage to your home or do it yourself. If you are trying to determine the extent of damage on your own, the link to this article may be helpful:
Please consider that most flood damage and mold formation occurs behind walls and underneath floorboards - you need to thoroughly check underneath your top layer of construction materials.
5.) What is an adjuster? What is a public adjuster? An insurance adjuster evaluates your claim and determines the extent of loss and resulting compensation. A public adjuster is a professional insurance loss evaluator that you hire to represent and advocate for your own losses in the claims process. They will charge a contingency or percentage of your settlement as their fee to represent you in the claims process.
6.) Should I hire a public adjuster to represent me?
It is an individual decision. If you do hire a public adjuster please be sure to:
A.) Negotiate the lowest possible fee percentage. 10 to 15 percent is reasonable, 20 or 25 percent signals a potentially unscrupulous vendor.
B.) Ask for and check their references with friends and neighbors before signing any contracts with a public adjuster firm. There are many different opinions on hiring public adjusters. Some people are more comfortable representing their own interests, and some public adjusters can be opportunistic in a disaster situation. Others find that hiring a reliable public adjuster can result in receiving significantly higher claims payments.
7.) What other disaster relief or storm related aid is available to me ?
A.) FEMA related grant monies for raising homes situated in flood plains are available. You have to apply for these funds through the Upper Township Engineers office.
Your home must meet certain eligibility requirements to qualify. For more information on this program, please call the Upper Township Municipal Building - at
(609) 628 1816 or (609) 628 2011 and ask for the Township engineer's office (Mr. Paul Dietrich). More information about this program can be found on the internet at the following link: http://www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program-2/ increased-cost-compliance-coverage
B. ) Small Business owners and self-employed whose income was disrupted by storm could be eligible for Disaster Unemployment insurance, a special program to provide benefits after natural disasters For more information, contact: Your local unemployment office. Applications for this aid must be made prior to Dec. 3, 2012.
C.) Tax assessment: Homeowners whose property has been damaged and depreciated by the storm may contact the Upper Township Tax Assessor for assessment reductions based upon post-storm housing values. Request for assessment re-evaluations must be made no later than January 10, 2013.
D.) A South Jersey chapter of a national organization called The Samaritan's Purse provides free disaster relief (cleanup of debris, for example) to home owners without flood insurance. They can be reached at: (609) 927-2950.
E.) some additional resources:
1. To view and obtain copies of FEMA’s Flood guide handbook: www.fema.gov/library/viewRecord.do?id=2184
2. FEMA forms and materials link: http://www.disasterassistance.gov/forms-materials
3. A document from the Cape May Red Cross about guidelines for returning home after a flood - Highly recommended reading: http://www.capemaycountygov.net/FCpdf/ReturningHomeAfterHurrFlood.pdf
4. Disaster Assistance.gov is a website that helps you identify Disaster Assistance you may be eligible to receive. Visit us at DisasterAssistance.gov.
5. Mental health resources. The stress and trauma of experiencing a flood event can be overwhelming. The Mental Association of NJ (MHANJ) offers two different hotlines for counseling:
The NJ Disaster Mental Health hotline: (877) 294 4357, TYY line for deaf and hard of hearing: (877) 294 4356, or the MHANJ Peer Recovery Hotline: (877) 292 5588.