Hurricane Florence
Disaster Information

Emergency Legal Aid

Visit National Disaster Legal Aid for resources or if you need legal assistance related to Hurricane Florence or other natural disasters.

Visit our pages on Federal and State Disaster Resources for further information

Links

Disaster Information for Homeowners

Homeowner’s Insurance

  • You should contact your insurance company as soon as possible.
  • Homeowner’s insurance usually covers damages caused by fire, tornados, and other natural disasters.
  • Usually, you need separate insurance for damage caused by flooding. You should check to see if this coverage is included in your insurance policy.
  • You may be qualified to receive money for living expenses from your insurance company if you need it.

Mortgage Payments

  • You must keep paying your mortgage even if your house is damaged or you cannot live in it.
  • If you are having trouble paying your mortgage, check with your lender. Some may offer grace periods. Be aware that interest may continue to be added even in a grace period.
  • If you lost your job because of a natural disaster and are having trouble making your house payments, you may qualify for Disaster Unemployment Assistance. Find out if you are qualified by calling the Department of Employment and Workforce at 803-737-2400.

What if I do not have insurance or my insurance will not cover the damage?

  • You may be able to get legal help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). You may ask about FEMA by calling 1-800-621-3362 or visit www.fema.gov.
  • You may ask about other assistance by visiting www.disasterassistance.gov.

What if I live in a condominium?

  • If you have owner’s or renter’s insurance, you should contact them as soon as possible.
  • There may also be an association insurance policy to cover other losses. You should contact that insurance company or someone with your owner’s association to get more information.

Other tips

  • Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to see what losses are covered.
  • Try to document your losses by taking pictures of the damage. You may also write a list of any property that was damaged or destroyed.
  • If you have trouble with your insurance company or think they improperly denied your claim, you can make a complaint with S.C. Department of Insurance by calling 800-768-3467.

What Renters Need to Know in a Disaster

What can I do if the home I am renting is severely damaged or destroyed?

  • You may stay in the home.
    • If the home is not considered unsafe and part of the home is still okay, then you may move out of the damaged part and continue to live in the rest of the home.
    • If you do this, the landlord should reduce your rent because you cannot use the entire home you are paying for.
    • You may want to speak with an attorney if you cannot agree with your landlord on a lower rental price.
  • You may move out immediately and terminate your lease.
    • You should notify your landlord of this decision in writing within seven days after you move out.
    • It is best to send the letter through certified mail and to keep a copy for your records.
    • Your landlord should return your security deposit and any rent you paid in advance.

What if my landlord will not make repairs?

  • You should not stop paying rent without speaking to a lawyer.
  • You should not make the repairs yourself and deduct the cost from rent without speaking to a lawyer.

What if my property was also damaged?

  • If you have renter’s insurance, you should contact them as soon as possible.
  • Your renter’s insurance will tell you what damage is covered.
  • Check with your landlord to see if they have insurance that may help cover the damages to your property.

What if I do not have insurance or my insurance does not cover the damage to my property?

  • You may be able to get legal assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). You may ask about FEMA by calling 1-800-621-3362 or visit www.fema.gov.
  • You may ask about other assistance by visiting www.disasterassistance.gov.

Other tips

  • Try to document your losses by taking pictures of the damage. You may also write a list of any property that was damaged or destroyed.
  • If you have trouble with your insurance company or think they improperly denied your claim, you can make a complaint with S.C. Department of Insurance by calling 800-768-3467.

 

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SC Appleseed Legal Justice Center is here to help provide answers to your questions during and after this emergency situation.