The damage caused by Hurricane Maria to the Puerto Rico’s economy may take years to recover. As an individual or a business person, however, your quest to rebuild starts by knowing where to get help, as soon as possible. We explore various available options.
How to Get Insurance Help for Home Damage
Insurance could very well be your first line of defense to getting back on your feet. Even then, nearly 50% of homes in Puerto Rico don’t have an insurance policy that covers wind damage. The first step, therefore, is to get in touch with your insurer to inquire about the steps to follow to assess damage to your home.
You will then file a claim and let your homeowners’ policy take its due course.
How to Get Legal Advice
You can get free legal advice by calling (800) 310-7029. This hotline operates through a joint effort by Legal Services Corporation of Puerto Rico, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the American Bar Association (ABA) Young Lawyers Division, and the Louisiana Civil Justice Center (LCJC).
Be sure to bookmark AyudaLegalPR.org as well. Here, you can learn more about your legal rights and get frequent updates. Other than that, visit Services Legales Puerto Rico to find out where you can get legal aid in your area.
How to Find a Good Restoration Company for Your Home
At this moment in time, you could certainly make do with a restoration company – and there are lots of them in Puerto Rico. However, be skeptical of organizations asking for upfront payments in cash for work they’ll never deliver. Whenever possible, pay using a check or credit card. If you will part with a deposit, it has to be reasonable with the full amount payable upon satisfactory completion of work.
Appropriate certification must back a good restoration company. The firm has to be credible and respected by members of the community. Its workers ought to have excellent home restoration skills.
Choose a company that can work with your insurer to help you prepare the paperwork you will require to ask for compensation for your home restoration project.
How to Apply for a Disaster Loan
You can apply for disaster relief assistance through Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Visit DisasterAssistance.gov to fill the anonymous questionnaire. Answer the questions to the best of your ability to get as personalized assistance as possible. Alternatively, you can call 1-800-621-3362 (TTY: 1-800-462-7585).
FEMA can approve up to $33,000 if you’ve lost everything, but you’re most likely to get a $6,000 payout.
Resources for Business Owners who were Affected by the Storm
Business owners can apply for low-interest loans through the Small Business Administration (SBA) to help them recover from the effects of Hurricane Maria. The maximum SBA loan amount for business is $2,000,000. However, the SBA, at its discretion, may increase this amount depending on the nature of your business. Visit www.sba.gov or call +1 800-827-5722 for more information.
You can also apply for a disaster recovery loan through FEMA. Note – officials from SBA and FEMA will visit your business premises for inspection.