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Your reverse mortgage after a

natural disaster
A guide for borrowers with
a Home Equity Conversion
Mortgage (HECM), the most
common type of reverse
mortgage loan.
After a natural disaster you may
experience damage to your home,
unexpected expenses, and a
sudden loss of income.
Follow this guide to understand how § Take pictures or videos of the damage
you can meet your reverse mortgage to help with your claim. Do this before
obligations while recovering from a and after any repairs are performed.
natural disaster.
§ Apply for financial assistance with
the Federal Emergency Management
Obligation 1: Keeping your home Agency (FEMA), if your home is in a
in good repair Presidentially-Declared Major Disaster
If your house was damaged by a natural Area (PDMDA). You can find out if you
disaster: qualify and apply for assistance at,
DisasterAssistance.gov or call (800)
§§ File a claim with your insurance 621-3362 or (800) 462-7585 (TTY).
company as soon as possible—some
policies may require you to file within a § Contact your state emergency
certain period after a disaster. management office to find out what
other assistance is available. Go to
§§ Notify your lender or servicer of the fema.gov/emergency-management-
damage by certified mail. Keep a copy agencies to locate your state office.
of the letter.

Consumer Financial
Protection Bureau Learn more at consumerfinance.gov 1 of 4
Avoid home repair scams Obligation 3: Pay your property
§§ Beware of contractors going charges on time
door-to-door. Do not feel If you cannot pay your property charges
pressured into making a decision
after a natural disaster:
right away.
§§ Check with your local tax authority
§§ Get estimates from several
to see if you can delay property tax
contractors on what they think
filing deadlines, pay your taxes in
the repairs will cost.
installments, or waive penalty fees. If
§§ Make sure written contracts you enter into one of these options, let
match any verbal promises made. your servicer know.

§§ FEMA can provide additional §§ Reach out to Area Agencies on Aging


information on home repair scams (AAA) to find state and local assistance
and make referrals on where you programs that may help you pay for
can report instances of fraud. missed property charges. To find the
nearest AAA, call (800) 677-1116 or
visit eldercare.acl.gov.

Obligation 2: Occupy your home §§ If you miss a payment, contact your


as your principal residence lender or servicer as soon as possible.
Your lender or servicer may pay your
If you cannot live in your home because property charges by
it was damaged by a natural disaster: using money from your monthly loan
payout or line of credit.
§§ Send written notice to your lender or
servicer that you plan to return when §§ If your loan is in default, ask your lender
your home is repaired. Send your or servicer what options are available.
notice by certified mail. See if your lender or servicer has special
“hardship” options or repayment plan
§§ Provide your lender or servicer up- options for disaster victims.
to-date-contact information such
as a forwarding address, email, and §§ Ask your servicer for an “at-risk
telephone number. extension.” This may help you delay
a foreclosure if you are 80 years or
older and are experiencing critical
circumstances (such as long-term
disability or terminal illness).

Consumer Financial
Protection Bureau Learn more at consumerfinance.gov 2 of 4
How to deal with your §§ If you cannot pay your remaining
insurance company loan balance, work with your
lender or servicer to avoid
§§ If your insurance policy covers the
foreclosure. Consider seeking
damage, your insurance company
the advice of a housing counselor
will issue a check to the lender
or attorney.
as the payee or to you and the
lender jointly. If you receive a joint §§ If your insurance company
check, contact your lender or denies coverage or does not
servicer for instructions on where pay you what you believe you
to forward it. are owed, ask the company to
provide in writing the reasons
§§ If the estimated cost of repairs
for denial and if there is an
is greater than your insurance
appeals process.
coverage, you can use money
from your homeowners §§ If you believe your insurance
insurance and your own money company wrongfully denied you
to complete the necessary coverage, consider seeking the
repairs or pay off the reverse advice of an attorney or filing a
mortgage loan. claim with your state insurance
department or commissioner.

If you are facing foreclosure §§ If HUD extended the foreclosure


timeline in your area, try to bring
§§ Take immediate action. Do not ignore it. your account up to date before the
foreclosure resumes. You can find out
§§ Check with your lender or servicer to
when it resumes by checking HUD’s
see if the U.S. Department of Housing
website, contacting your lender or
and Urban Development (HUD)
servicer, or calling a HUD-approved
extended the foreclosure timeline for
housing counseling agency.
your area. Sometimes HUD requires
foreclosure delays in Presidentially-
Declared Major Disaster Areas.

Consumer Financial
Protection Bureau Learn more at consumerfinance.gov 3 of 4
Where to get help About us
§§ Consult an attorney. You may qualify The Consumer Financial Protection
for free legal services through legal Bureau regulates the offering and
aid. If you need help finding an provision of consumer financial
attorney, visit your local or state bar products and services under the
association’s website. federal consumer financial laws,
and educates and empowers
§§ Talk to a housing counselor. HUD-
consumers to make better
approved housing counseling
agencies offer free or low-cost expert informed financial decisions.
assistance. You can find a housing Learn more at
counselor by going to hud.gov or consumerfinance.gov
calling (800) 569-4287.

§§ Submit a complaint with the Consumer Connect with us


Financial Protection Bureau if you Submit a complaint
are having problems with your consumerfinance.gov/complaint
lender or servicer, by going to
consumerfinance.gov or by calling toll- Tell your story
free (855) 411-CFPB (2372). consumerfinance.gov/your-story
§§ For more information on disaster-
Get answers to money questions
related issues to go: cfpb.gov/recover.
consumerfinance.gov/askcfpb

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9/2019