NIAGARA FALLS (WKBW) – Heavy rain caused severe flooding at the home of Matthew Semsel and Christina Church in Niagara County.
“It came through the back yard, onto the back terrace and just stormed through all the doors,” said Semsel.
The normal household contents insurance does not cover “higher powers”; you need a separate policy for natural floods. When the couple called the insurance company, they were told there was nothing they could do to help.
“You see the walls just soaking up the water, you think, wow, how much is that going to cost in the end, and you have insurance for what,” Church said.
Now, without the help of their insurance company, they are wondering who to turn to.
“Are you looking for time and energy and where do you start? That’s the question, where do you start? ”Church said.
“Call your county emergency management agency, every county has it,” said Kathy Cook, public affairs specialist with SBA Disaster Relief.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) says they can file a disaster declaration if at least 25 households or businesses in a county have an uninsured loss of 40%.
“Tell your neighbors and businesses because the more damage is reported, the more likely federal aid will come,” Cook said.
Cook says that once you’ve filed the lawsuit and the damage has been assessed, you will likely get a loan with no more than 4% interest. Homeowners can apply up to $ 200,000 to replace or repair their primary residence. Renters and homeowners can borrow up to $ 40,000 to replace or repair personal property such as furniture, cars, and appliances. But Cook says the first line of defense should be flood insurance.
“Unless you’re in a hundred-year-old floodplain, insurance is a lot cheaper and you can get it,” Cook said.
Here are other ways you can apply for financial assistance.
Here is the couple’s GoFundMe page.