Nine key financial strategies for recovery after a natural disaster

Tools and resources to help homeowners and renters make financial decisions.

Photo credit: Penny Martin
Photo credit: Penny Martin

Financial recovery after a natural disaster, like the flooding this week in mid-Michigan, involves many decisions by homeowners and renters. Occasionally, Michigan residents deal with tornados, severe thunderstorms and other severe weather-related events. Where do I start? Where will I live? What is next? Several tools and resources are available to help from Extension’s Disaster Education Network (EDEN) and the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services.

Tools to help you sort out the pieces of your financial recovery puzzle are contained in Recovery After Disaster: The Family Financial Toolkit.

Unit 2 discusses these key strategies that all disaster survivors should know:

  • Document important details
  • Obtain accurate information
  • Take care of yourself
  • Help kids cope
  • Accept financial help
  • Engage a case manager to work with you
  • Obtain assistance from a Long-term Recovery Committee
  • Work with financial professionals
  • Use helpers

Units 3 to 9 give more information, worksheets and resources to help implement your strategies, depending on your situation. Where do you start when you return to your home? How do you assess your financial situation and decide your housing options? Also, tips to adjust to your new normal and find local resources. The Disaster Video Series is a visual tool to describe your choices.

EDEN has more educational resources on various types of natural disasters and advice for homeowners and farmers. The Children and Disasters page offers useful tips to help children, youth and teens respond to and recover from disasters.

The State of Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) has a website on preparing for and recovering from disasters. Some insurance related tips for homeowners and renters with insurance claims from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) include how to document the damage and understand the claim process. In addition, consider contacting your local 2-1-1 ( for additional resources in your community.

A word of caution is to beware of scams. Predators come out post-disaster with offers to assist when you are in distress. Contractors should be checked out carefully for licensing and references.

Financially recovering after a natural disaster can be less stressful when you use some available tools and local resources. Find more information about financial management and housing, visit Michigan State University Extension or

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