What do I do if my house was damaged, destroyed, or I’m unable to make my payment after a disaster?
After a disaster you still have to pay your mortgage. Start by contacting your insurance company and mortgage servicer and if necessary, seek help.
First steps if your home has been damaged or destroyed in a disaster
There are four things to do to start the recovery process when your home was damaged or destroyed in a disaster.
Step 1: Call your insurance company to file a claim.
Step 2: Apply for aid from government organizations.
Step 3: Contact your mortgage servicer and let them know what happened. If you can’t make your payments this is the time to ask for options to help you adjust your payments so you don’t fall behind and incur fees or face foreclosure.
Learn more of the details on how to recover financially from a natural disaster, including more information on how to seek help making payments for other property or loans.
Keep reading for information if you can’t live in your home, and how to avoid foreclosure after a disaster.
If you can’t live in your home
You may qualify for assistance if you’re unable to return to your home for an extended period of time
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) may provide (TSA) to eligible disaster survivors with a continuing need for shelter after the temporary shelters have closed. This initiative provides short-term lodging for eligible disaster survivors whose communities are either uninhabitable or inaccessible due to disaster-related damages.
FEMA may help you with displacement costs by providing
- Reimbursement of hotel expenses for short-term lodging
- Initial rent money to find a place to live if you can’t return to your home
- Continued rental assistance, plus a security deposit, may be available for up to 18 months for qualified applicants while your home is being repaired
FEMA has housing assistance programs for people whose homes have been destroyed including:
Replacement: Financial assistance may be available to help with any additional cost of replacing your home that isn’t covered by insurance.
How to avoid foreclosure after disaster
Call your Mortgage Servicer
If you did not already, make sure you call your mortgage servicer.
Be sure to ask:
- What options are available to help me temporarily reduce or suspend my payments?
- Are there forbearance options?
- Can you waive late fees?
The amount and type of aid you receive may depend on the type of mortgage loan you have.
If you have a mortgage loan that is not insured or sponsored by entities, like and , any disaster relief or assistance will be up to the owner or servicer of your loan. There are federal rules that allow, but do not require, an owner or servicer to offer help in the event of a disaster.
For example, government-sponsored or government-insured mortgage loans have guidelines that allow servicers to stop or delay a foreclosure proceeding.
Government backed mortgage disaster resources
Once you figure out if you have a government insured or sponsored mortgage, they may have specific programs. Here are some useful links.
- , if you have an FHA-insured mortgage and you can't pay because of the disaster, your lender may be able to help you. If you’re at risk of losing your home because of the disaster, your lender may stop or delay initiation of foreclosure for 90 days. This is called a “foreclosure moratorium.”
- The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) has information and assistance .
- The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Housing Service has for housing loan borrowers. These loans may also have protections.
Government programs and services may have application deadlines. Sometimes these application deadlines are extended, so check the program website to get the most current information.
Other foreclosure resources
- Options you may have if you can’t pay your mortgage loan
- Information on how to avoid fraud, foreclosure relief scams or bogus legal help