The days and weeks following a disaster can be difficult. There are numerous financial issues and personal concerns to address.
Below are some steps to take following a natural disaster such as a wildfire.
- Register for Federal Assistance
If FEMA assistance is available, register online at www.disasterassistance.gov.
- Make a List of All Property Damage
Make a list of all property damage and contact your insurance company as soon as you can. Do not throw out any damaged items until your insurance company has a chance to inspect and advises you it is ok to do so. For more information visit the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner.
- Contact Your Mortgage Servicer
Talk to your mortgage lender right away and tell them about your situation. Damage to your home does not eliminate your responsibility to pay your mortgage, however your lender may be willing to work with you given the circumstances.
- Contact Your Credit Card Companies and Other Lenders
If you don’t think you will be able to pay your credit cards or loans, be sure to contact your lenders as soon as possible. Explain your situation and ask your creditor to work with you.
- Contact Your Utility Companies
If your home is damaged to the point you can’t live in it, ask the utility companies to suspend your service. This could help free up money for other expenses.
- Beware of Scams
Be cautious of scams after a natural disaster. Be careful giving out personal and financial information. If an individual is trying to sell you a product or service, this is a red flag.
- Seek Assistance from Non-Profit Organizations
WA211.org can help connect you to local resources in your area. Local organizations can help you find temporary shelter and housing, food, and other support.
- Protecting and Rebuilding Your Finances After A Disaster
Information from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on how you can protect and begin to rebuild your finances following a disaster.
- Checklist: Rebuilding Your Finances
Checklist from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for rebuilding your finances.
- What You Should Do In The Days Following A Disaster
Information from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on what you should do in the days following a disaster.
- What If I Can't Pay My Credit Cards and Loans After a Disaster?
Information from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on what you should do if you can't pay your credit card or loan bill following a disaster.
Mortgages and Homes
- What Should I Do If My House Is Destroyed?
Information from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on what to do if your home was destroyed.
- Assistance for Homeowners Impacted by Disasters
Information from Fannie Mae about assistance that may be available to homeowners following a disaster.
- What Should I Know About Using Contractors After A Disaster?
Information about what you should know about using contractors when rebuilding after a disaster.
- Handling Insurance Issues Following A Disaster
Information from the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner.
Emergency Shelter and Housing
- Red Cross Shelters
Current information on Red Cross shelter openings.
- Washington State Animal Emergency Shelters
Information about emergency shelters for animals.
- Consejos para prepararse financieramente ante un desastre
La FDIC publica consejos para prepararse financieramente ante un desastre, realizar pagos con dispositivos móviles e investigar cuentas bancarias viejas.
- ¿Cómo reconozco y prevengo el fraude después de un desastre natural?
Washington Emergency Management Division
Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner
Washington State Department of Financial Institutions
1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767)