Many people in the U.S. find it a challenge to stay out of debt, even without any emergency or disaster. However, a sudden windstorm or tornado can cause so much damage that families cannot recover financially from the losses. For some families who cannot pay off their bills after a natural disaster, bankruptcy may offer a chance to start over.
Natural Disasters in Missouri
People who live in Missouri are all too familiar with the frequency of natural disasters. Even earthquakes are happening more frequently, as are fires and heatwaves. Based on the geography of the state, common natural disasters in Missouri include:
- Ice storms,
- Wind storms, and
In March and May of 2019, two separate states of emergency were declared relating to severe weather, flooding, strong winds, and tornadoes.
In April of 2017, a state of emergency was declared after severe storms, widespread flooding, and flash floods.
In May and December of 2015, two more states of emergency were declared involving severe storms, widespread flooding, tornadoes, hail, heavy rain, and flash floods.
Homeowners and Businesses After a Tornado
A tornado can demolish a home or business. Even areas that are not directly hit by a tornado can suffer serious damage, including flooding. After a natural disaster, property owners may be left fending for themselves. Property insurance generally covers windstorm damage. However, flood damage is usually a separate policy and many property owners are surprised to find out that the insurance company will not pay out for water damage caused by a severe storm.
There may be more relief available after a state of emergency is declared through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). However, the relief may take time, leaving families struggling to pay for a mortgage when they cannot even live on their property. A natural disaster often has a larger economic impact on the community, which may result in losing one's job or loss of business income.
Long-Term Financial Impact of a Natural Disaster
A tornado may pass by in a matter of minutes. Flooding can last for days or even weeks. However, the long-term financial impact of a natural disaster can last for years.
According to an article from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, there was nearly a 50% increase in state bankruptcy filings 3 years after a hurricane in states where landfall occurred. Even states that were nearby to landfall states had a 20% increase in bankruptcy filings, 3 years later. For example, after Hurricane Elena hit Mississippi in 1985, bankruptcy filings over the next 3 years were up more than 71%.
Bankruptcy Relief a Natural Disaster
After a natural disaster, many people who are directly impacted are working hard to put their life back in order. Unfortunately, over the coming months and years, an individual may realize that their debt is not getting any smaller and may even be increasing. The stress from financial worries, providing for a family, and dealing with debt collectors can be harmful to your well-being. Debt relief through filing for bankruptcy may be a chance to erase the debt and start over.
If you have any questions about filing for bankruptcy after a natural disaster or other emergency, contact the Joshua Wilson Law Firm in Raymore today. Contact us online or by calling (816) 331-9968. We maintain a virtual capable law office to keep you safe.