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Guest Blogger: Finding Financial Assistance for Emergency Home Repairs

Guest Blogger #823, Entry #1937, December 14, 2012

Being a homeowner is a position fraught with worry, mainly because you are maintaining such an expensive asset. And you just never know when something could go wrong, leading to tons of costly repairs and potentially forcing you to find another place to live, either temporarily or permanently. For example, a pipe might burst, causing water damage and even mold if you don’t discover and address the problem quickly. Or your outdated wiring could blow a breaker, leading to a house fire.  You may also have to contend with natural disasters like blizzards, earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and the like. You could end up with a tree through your front window, a basement full of water, or a roof that collapses under the weight of a snowstorm. Or your house might be torn away completely by a twister. And when these types of emergency situations arise, you’ll want to know where you can turn for help in paying for your home repairs. Here are a few potential sources for assistance.

lake living house

Is your home ready for a natural disaster?

Image via: BHG

Speak to your insurance provider

The first place to turn is to your insurance provider. Although your average homeowner’s insurance isn’t designed to help you pay for common wear and tear, premium insurance plans will cover a lot of different emergency situations. Often included are natural disasters, although some exclude flood and fire damage, so you’ll have to check with your provider to verify. In many cases you’ll have to purchase an additional policy specifically for natural occurrences that are common in your area, like earthquakes in California or tornadoes in Kansas, for example. But your regular insurance may also cover break-ins or civil commotion (riots, vandalism, etc.), automobile damage, explosions, and internal problems caused by external sources (frozen pipes, for example). Since you’re already shelling out for insurance, there’s no reason to pay out of pocket for emergency repairs that are covered by your policy.

Try disaster relief funds

However, not everything will be covered, or if a natural disaster is big enough your insurer may go belly up or get so backlogged with payouts that it could takes weeks, months, or even years to get the help you need. On such occasions you may be able to take advantage of disaster relief funds or get government assistance from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) if you are dealing with a low-income situation. But these could be limited and hard to obtain. Or you simply might not qualify. While it’s always nice to have someone else pay for emergency home repairs, there will be some situations where it’s just not possible and you’ll find yourself stuck with the bill.

home exterior windows

Do you have emergency money for a disaster?

Image via: Japanese Trash

In this case your best bet is probably to take two steps. The first is to contact your county Building Office to see about hiring a building inspector. This professional can assess the damage to your property and make recommendations about repairs, as well as potentially suggest a qualified and reasonable contractor to get the work done for you. Once you have an estimate on repairs you can go to your bank to see about taking out a home equity line. The lender that holds the deed to your property may be motivated to grant you additional funds to ensure that the property retains its value. As a last resort you could even get a payday advance loan for minor repairs (from vendors like dollars direct Toronto), but you may want to explore other options first.

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