Judge: County residents can file disaster claims
Just one week ago we were dealing with an historic freeze in Milam County. We experienced record cold temperatures of almost 300 hours below freezing! Obviously when the pipes began to thaw we all realized we had a lot of property damage. Thankfully, there is FEMA help for those that have damage related to the freeze.
This all started back on Feb. 12, 2021, when the Governor declared a disaster for all of the 254 counties in the state. Later I declared a State of Disaster specifically for Milam County and the Commissioners Court ratified and extended the order on Feb. 22, 2021. All of this paved the way for FEMA to declare Milam County a disaster area. After some wrangling on our part, FEMA did declare Milam County a disaster area on Monday, Feb. 22, 2021, which is very important for those who have damage.
The FEMA disaster declaration for the county means that individuals that have property damage may now make claims directly to FEMA! The big question is what is covered and how are claims made? The answer is most types of property damage caused by the freeze will be covered, such as home damage caused by a water leak. If there is any question about what is or what is not covered, make the claim. The worst thing that can happen is that FEMA will decline the claim. Remember, that even an insurance deductible may be a covered expense.
The steps for making a claim are not hard: 1. Document the damage, with photos and any other way possible; 2. Contact your insurance company and have the company estimate the repair damage (FEMA does not pay what insurance pays); 3. Contact FEMA and file the claim. For example, your insurance company estimates that a burst pipe in the ceiling causes $700 in house damage, but the deductible is $1,400, meaning the insurance will not cover the $700 damage. This is damage that FEMA would pay, so make the claim for $700.
One may make a claim by going on line at www.disasterassistance.gov or simply calling (800) 621-3362. It is really not that difficult to make a claim, especially if you have documented your damage. This is a great opportunity to recover the uninsurable damage that was caused by this historic freeze. We worked long and hard to make sure Milam County was included, so do not let this opportunity pass you by.