NIAGARA FALLS (WKBW) — Heavy rain caused major flooding in Matthew Semsel and Christina Church's home in Niagara County.
“It came through the backyard, onto the back patio and just rushed through all the doors,” Semsel said.
Normal homeowners insurance does not cover “acts of God,” for natural flooding, you need a separate policy. So, when the couple called their insurance, they were told there’s nothing they can do to help.
“You’re looking at the walls just sucking up the water, you’re thinking wow, how much is this going to cost at the end, and you have insurance for what,” Church said.
Now they’re wondering, without any help from their insurance, who they can turn to.
“You’re looking at time and energy and where do you begin? That’s the question, where do you begin?” Church said.
“Call your county's emergency management agency, every county has it,” Public Affairs Specialist at SBA Disaster Assistance Kathy Cook said.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) says they can make a disaster declaration if at least 25 homes or businesses in a county reach 40% uninsured loss.
“Tell your neighbors, tell the businesses, because the more damage that is reported, the more likely it is that federal help will come,” Cook said.
Cook says once you file and the damage is assessed, it is likely you will receive a loan at no more than 4% interest. Homeowners can apply for up to $200,000 dollars 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.
“If you are not in a hundred-year flood plain, then insurance is a lot cheaper, and you can get it,” Cook said.
Here are more ways you can apply for financial assistance.
Here is the couple's GoFundMe page.