State provides options for Missourians for severe weather season

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JEFFERSON CITY - Monday is the deadline for Missouri residents to apply for federal disaster aid following December and January’s flooding. In addition, the Missouri Insurance Coalition warns homeowners to check to make sure they have the proper and adequate insurance coverage ahead of the spring severe weather season.

“Yesterday was the first day of spring, of course spring brings in bad weather often. There are thunderstorms, flooding and tornadoes,” Stephen Witte, director of the Missouri Insurance Coalition, said.

Witte said now is a good time for people to check their insurance policy and do an inventory of the personal property in their homes in case severe weather causes any damage.

“Most people don’t have any idea if their homes are destroyed by tornado, first thing they are going to be so stressed out they are not going to remember at all what they have property wise,” Witte said.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provided two types of federal assistance for people with losses from the severe storms and flooding Dec 23, 2015 to Jan 9, 2016, but residents must register before Monday at midnight.

"We have approved 12 million dollars in federal grants for more than 2,300 approved applications,” Kurt Pickering, FEMA Media Relations Manager, said.

Pickering said many people who register are also referred to the Small Business Administration for loans.

“While those are loans, not grants, they're very low-interest and can provide much higher amounts per household,” Pickering said.

In addition, Pickering said the National Flood Insurance Program paid about $53 million in claims. Thus, the total federal money distributed to Missourians equaled more than $75 million.

"FEMA cannot duplicate insurance proceeds to survivors, so we have to consider insurance claims paid to households by private insurance.” Pickering said, “flood damage is different, because most private insurance doesn't cover floods. That's why FEMA does flood insurance. We and the SBA (U.S. Small Business Administration) work together to help survivors with a variety of recovery needs including not enough, or no, insurance."

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