Pinellas got lucky with Elsa, but that may not be the case for long. This summer is predicted to be an active storm season and, after a storm passes, businesses and residents may not know where to turn for help. Here are resources to get you started on the path to recovery.
Filing Insurance Claims
You may need to access the coverage of both your homeowners and automobile policies to put things back together. Be sure to immediately report property damage to your insurance agent. If you make temporary repairs, document them. Keep all receipts and take photographs, before and after an emergency repair, to submit your claim.
Criminals prey on vulnerability. The county advises businesses and residents to be cautious of anyone coming to you uninvited to do repairs, and to be alert to individuals canvassing your neighborhood in an unmarked van or truck.
Insist on a written estimate, get estimates from several companies, and be sure the contract or business card has an address, telephone number and license numbers. Ask for references and check them out, and do not pay the final balance for work performed until it is completed to your satisfaction.
Contact the Pinellas County Department of Justice and Consumer Services for more at 727-464-6200.
Assistance from Relief Agencies
After a storm, FEMA may set up Disaster Recovery Centers in the county. Depending on the storm’s severity, assistance may include temporary housing, low-interest small business loans, unemployment assistance, individual and family grants and crisis counseling. Learn more at fema.gov/disaster.
Find these resources and more at pinellascounty.org/emergency/afterthestorm.htm.