There have been a lot of disasters lately so here are some numbers to help. Take pictures of your home TODAY BEFORE disaster strikes. Especially if you've added a brand new railing on your deck or anything expensive that you think your insurance would cover. Call your insurance agent and update her on any changes or improvements you've made. Make sure your policy is up to date. To prepare for disaster you need more than a gallon of water per person per day. Your camera is important. Keep your camera safe and have batteries. If disaster strikes take PICTURES before you clean up or pick up ANYTHING!
Then call your flood, wind and homeowners insurance agent immediately! My insurance agent was my grandmother's insurance agent. Who would have thought Rebecca H., with Atlantic Pacific Insurance would do bad things to me? Don't take it for granted that your agent cares about you, your money or a disaster that may strike your family.
Don't help your insurance company squirm out something they owe you and deny your claim. Don't let your lack of a phone call and PICTURES to back up what you say cost you a lot of money.
Call your lender next. Many lenders offer grace periods and postpone foreclosure actions if there is a national or regional disaster.
A borrower who lives in a zip code published by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as a federal disaster area will not be charged late fees or have late payments reported to credit agencies during the grace period.
Call your lender to confirm the length of the grace period. Ask about a long term solution to deal with the late payments.
If your lender does charge you late fees or report late payments to your credit call your lender. You may hit a Brick Wall so have plenty of time when you call. I put my phone on speaker phone and do other things when I'm on hold so that I don't spontaneously burst into flames from the frustration. Prepare your mind so you are prepared for the time and indifference you may encounter to decrease anxiety and anger. You may be put on the "Hold Transfer Hold Treadmill." You may or may not get anywhere with your lender.
If you don't get help try 3 times anyway. Document the day and date of your call, the exact minute that you placed your call and track every single person you were transferred to. As you are transferred around like a pin ball keep track of the time and write every name down of every person that you talk to and write down the time as you hang up the phone.
Now that you have made 3 attempts make a complaint to the Better Business Bureau, State Attorney General, Office of Thrift Supervision and Department of Financial Services. If you have problems with your insurance company contact the Office of Insurance Regulation (Dept. of Financial Services) in your state. Nothing will happen unless a lot of other people make complaints so follow through if you don't get the service that you should. You'll feel better because you did something.
10 or 15 years ago New South put an incorrect late payment on my credit report. I contacted the Office of Thrift Supervision and they straightened out the matter when New South would not correct the information.
Office of Thrift Supervision (regulates Federal savings & loans & Federal savings banks)
1700 G Street NW
Washington, DC 20552
Here are some lender numbers to call after a disaster:
Customer Service (800) 783-8900
Aurora Loan Services
Customer Service Department (800) 550-0508
Insurance Claims Center (800) 723-6578
Chase Home Finance
Customer Service (800) 848-9136 (mortgage)
Customer Service (800) 836-5656 (home equity)
Chevy Chase Bank, FSB
Customer Service (800) 933-8467
Citicorp Trust Bank
Customer Service (800) 997-8467
Customer Service (800) 753-3673
Customer Service (800) 283-7918
Colonial Savings, F. A.
Customer Service (800) 937-6002
Countrywide Home Loans
Customer Service (800) 669-6607
Customer Service (800) 723-3004
Customer Service (800) 766-4622
Customer Service (800) 781-7399
Insurance Processing Center / Loss Draft Dept. (888) 680-6808
New South Federal Savings Bank
Customer Service (800) 504-7110
Customer Service (800) 986-2462
Customer Service (800) 634-7928
Wells Fargo Corporation
Wells Fargo Home Mortgage (888) 818-9147
You can find me in the Florida Keys and Key West at (305) 522-1398 or e-mail me at MayaMarieThomas@Hotmail.com.com.
Maya M. Thomas