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Major credit companies are offering short-term loans and credit limit increases to those affected by Superstorm Sandy, CNN reports. But before you sign up, look at the terms and what is being offered. Short-term loans generally come with high fees. And when calculated over the average term of 10 days, APR could amount to 270 percent or more for a 10-day loan period. Meanwhile, check out what you can get from people not out to make a quick buck…
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (known as FEMA), for example, will often cover rental payments for temporary housing when a storm victim’s home isn’t available. Grants are also available for home repairs and to replace household items that were destroyed. Other disaster-related expenses like medical, dental, funeral or transportation services, may also be covered by FEMA. To apply for assistance, go to DisasterAssistance.gov. You can apply by smartphone at m.fema.gov or call 1-800-621-3362.
Meanwhile, the Small Business Administration offers disaster loans of up to $200,000 with interest rates as low as 1.7% to homeowners needing to repair or replace homes damaged or destroyed by the storm. Loans up to $40,000 are available for homeowners or renters to repair or replace personal property that was damaged.
Many nonprofits — like the American Red Cross — are also offering free assistance to storm victims, including meals, shelter, and transportation.
Do what you have to, but that should include your money-saving homework.