Possible solution found for woman denied by FEMA due to flood insurance

Published: Aug. 26, 2022 at 6:03 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) - On Friday, FEMA opened a fourth disaster recovery center in the St. Louis area. The new center is at the University City Recreation Center at 7210 Olive Boulevard and will operate from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week until further notice.

The other disaster recovery centers are at the Hazelwood Civic Center at 8969 Dunn Road, Ranken Technical College at 1313 N. Newstead, and the Developmental Disabilities Resource Board at 1025 Country Club Road.

Bre Moore went to the location in University City in hopes of getting a Small Business Administration loan for repairs at her business, Unconditional Care Services.

“The whole store is flooded, I mean completely flooded,” said Moore.

Another victim of flooding who visited the location is Carol Horth, who had more than five feet of water in her finished basement. She has flood insurance but it doesn’t cover all her costs and when she applied for assistance from FEMA, she got a letter saying she was ineligible.

“I was so livid it was beyond comprehension. And all of the publicity that everyone put out there that FEMA was going to help all of us and then I get this letter that just slams the door in my face,” she said.

News 4 checked with FEMA and learned it doesn’t pay for repairs that are already covered by a flood victim’s insurance. FEMA needs to know what a victim’s insurance will cover and won’t cover, which is usually laid out in a letter from the insurance company. Without the information in the letter, victims will be told they’re ineligible.

“That’s when you can bring that letter to FEMA and say here, this is what they’re not covering and this is what I need covered,” a FEMA spokesperson said.

Horth took her paperwork from her flood insurance company to the FEMA center and came away saying she was hopeful that she would get assistance. She said she still needs to get some estimates on repairs to know the full extent of financial help she needs.

Another issue that came up at the FEMA center is whether the agency would assist a flood victim with a flooded car if its license plates had expired at the time of the flood. In order for FEMA to assist a survivor with a replacement or repair of a disaster-damaged vehicle it must meet the following requirements:

  • A copy of the vehicle registration valid at the time of the disaster for the damaged vehicle(s)
  • A list of all vehicle(s) owned (year, make, and model). Normally FEMA will only assist if the survivor has no other operable vehicle
  • Proof of insurance policy showing type of coverage or proof the vehicle meets the State’s minimum insurance requirement
  • Insurance settlement, denial, or statement that insurance coverage does not exist. FEMA cannot provide funds that would duplicate what insurance has covered
  • The person who suffered damage to their vehicle does not have to reside in the designated areas as long as the vehicle was damaged in the designated areas
  • Applicants who had a vehicle destroyed will have to provide proof of salvage for eligibility for vehicle replacement assistance.

A FEMA spokesperson said the agency would deny assistance on a car that’s been broken down for a long period and has been declared inoperable by the state because its license plates hadn’t been renewed for years.