A complete picture of the damage wrought by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma is still coming into focus, but what is clear is that among the hardest hit are homeowners.
For these homeowners, many without flood insurance, starting the rebuilding process can be an overwhelming task, and just knowing where to begin to get the money needed to rebuild may seem complicated. According to BBVA Compass Insurance Agency Managing Director Analicia Geisen, a good place to start is with the homeowner’s insurance company.
Geisen: It’s prudent to check with the insurance company.
“Without flood insurance, much of the damage from the recent hurricanes may not be covered,” said Geisen. “Even so, it’s prudent to check with the insurance company - even going as far as filing a claim - to be sure as water may not be the only damage. It’s always best to exhaust all options.”
The Federal Emergency Management Agency - or FEMA - can also provide some relief in the form of grants for eligible individuals and families that may help them return to their homes, and in some cases help pay for damage repair. Typically though the grants do not cover all needed repairs. In these situations, FEMA directs homeowners to apply for a Small Business Administration disaster loan to help repair the damaged primary residence.
According to BBVA Compass SBA Division Manager Greg Clarkson, the SBA, while known for their business lending, is a primary source of lending for the government to individuals needing post-disaster rebuilding assistance. The borrower can apply for loans up to $200,000 for primary residence rebuilding and recovery with rates as low as 1.75 percent and repayment terms from 3 to 30 years.
“Most people aren’t aware of the multi-faceted nature of the SBA,” Clarkson said. “But, when it comes to disaster assistance loans for homeowners, it’s the main source the government uses.”
Clarkson: Most people aren’t aware of the multi-faceted nature of the SBA.
Many financial institutions are also available to help when it comes to rebuilding and recovery, with many, including BBVA Compass, offering special programs that include discounted loans and lines of credit to help those affected by disasters.
“The recovery period for those impacted by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma will last for months,” said BBVA Compass CEO Onur Genç. “BBVA Compass intends to be here for customers and non-customers lending support, an ear and a helping hand through all of it.”
FEMA Grant Application: (800) 621-3362 or visit DisasterAssistance.gov to apply online
SBA Customer Service Center: (800) 659-2955 or visit disasterloan.sba.gov to apply online
BBVA Compass special programs information: (800) 266-7277 or visit a local branch
For more stories and articles related to Hurricane Harvey, click here.
For more information on how BBVA Compass is helping those impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, click here.