COVID-19 HOTLINES

Centers for Disease Control

800-CDC-INFO
(800-232-4636)

TTY 888-232-6348

These Hotlines Have Special Assistance for COVID-19 Support

Disaster Distress Helpline

800-985-5990

(press 2 for Spanish),

 

Or Text "TalkWithUs" for English or

"Habano" for Spanish to 66746.

Spanish speakers from Puerto Rico can text Hablanos to 1-787-339-2663.

 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

800-273-TALK (8255) for English

888-628-9454 for Spanish

National Domestic Violence Hotline

800-799-7233

 

Or text "LOVEIS" to 22522

National Child Abuse Hotline

800-4AChild

(800-422-4453)

Or text 1-800-422-4453

National Sexual Assault Hotline

800-656-HOPE (4673)

The Eldercare Locator

800-677-1116  

Veteran’s Crisis Line

1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Or Crisis Chat text 8388255

Natural disasters

Who’s at risk?

Research from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shows that lower-income individuals are most at risk from natural disasters. Although they receive disaster warnings, they can often not react or have the emergency funds to prepare in advance. SAMHSA considers lower-income individuals as those with lower incomes, public housing residents, and homeless or unemployed individuals.

“The elderly, disabled, and homeless are the ones more vulnerable during a natural disaster,” says Lindsey Maxwell. As the co-founder of her blog Where You Make It, she has converted two vans and traveled the U.S. extensively. 

It’s also true that some locations may pose a greater risk to its residents than others.

Types of disasters by state

Florida may be known for its hurricanes, but according to the Insurance Information Institute (III), these are the top five costliest states based upon their cumulative reported insured losses. 

Costliest states by insured catastrophe losses, 2019

StateType of natural disasters

Estimated insured loss (millions)

Number of claims

Texas

Hurricanes, hailstorms, tornadoes, flood, fire, extreme heat and cold$7,236.4583,050

Illinois

Severe storms, flood, tornadoes, snow$1,707.2168,100

 

Colorado

Hailstorms, fire, flood, droughts, blizzards$1,366.9127,450

 

OhioSevere storms, flood, tornado, snow$1,345.1106,950

 

CaliforniaWildfires, earthquakes, flood, severe storms$1,321.771,450

What is usually covered by insurance?Having insurance coverage can help in the face of a disaster with replacing lost items and giving you a place to stay while your home is being repaired. The III breaks down the basic coverage types that typically come with the standard homeowners or renters insurance policy. Below, highlights the property coverage that typically applies in the event of a natural disaster.

 

Insurance coverage by property policy type

Dwelling & personal property

 

Hazard typeBasic HO-1Broad HO-2

 

Fire or lightning✔✔

Windstorm or hail✔✔

Explosion✔✔

Smoke✔✔

Volcanic eruption✔✔

 

Falling object✔

 

Weight of ice, snow or sleet✔

Dwelling

 

Hazard type Special HO-3

 

Fire or lightning✔

 

Windstorm or hail✔

 

Explosion✔

 

Smoke✔

 

Volcanic eruption✔

 

Falling object✔

 

Weight of ice, snow or sleet✔

 

Personal property

Hazard typeSpecial HO-3Renters HO-4Condo/Co-op HO-6

Fire or lightning✔✔✔

Windstorm or hail✔✔✔

Explosion✔✔✔

Smoke✔✔✔

Volcanic eruption✔✔✔

Falling object✔✔✔

Weight of ice, snow or sleet✔✔✔

Dwelling & personal property

Hazard typeModified coverage HO-8

Fire or lightning✔

Windstorm or hail✔

Explosion✔

Smoke✔

Volcanic eruption✔

Falling object

Weight of ice, snow or sleet

 

What is not covered by insurance?

 

While property insurance should cover most natural disaster claims, certain catastrophic events would be excluded from your standard property coverage. Without the proper coverage for these events, it could leave you in a serious bind. 

  • Maintenance damage: mold and termite infestation is considered a failure to maintain your home, so it may not be covered unless you purchase extra protection.  

  • Sewer backup: sewer backup requires additional insurance coverage as it is not commonly included in the standard homeowners, renters or flood process.

 

Be prepared

 

When you live in a high-risk area, the best thing you can do is be prepared, says Robert Stam. Today, he is the CEO of SEO Mandarin and caught the travel bug in his earlier years. “I spent several years traveling, living in and working out of my vehicle,” he explains. 

 

“What living out of a car teaches is that with proper preparation, we can survive, even thrive, with the bare minimum,” he says. “While it may not be a sustainable long-term arrangement for many people, equipping a car with a basic camping kit can provide shelter and sustenance from even the most basic of vehicles.”

 

Emergency bag

When Maxwell was traversing the country, her emergency kit was an invaluable partner on her travels. It is something she stresses the importance of now. “It’s crucial before a natural disaster hits your local area to create your own portable disaster kit.  It would be best if you grabbed essential supplies you will need, such as important documents.”

STATE BY STATE HEALTH DEPARTMENTS AND RESOURCES

Alabama Department of Public Health

Alabama COVID-19 Information

Alabama COVID-19 Resources for Healthcare Providers

Alabama COVID-19 Information Page on Testing

Alaska Division of Public Health

Alaska COVID-19 Information

Alaska COVID-19 Information for Healthcare Providers

Alaska Count of COVID-19 Cases

Arizona Department of Health Services

Arizona COVID-19 Information

Arizona COVID-19 Clinician Fact Sheet

Arizona Clinicians encouraged to contact the local health department for COVID-19 testing

Arizona COVID-19 Hotline 1-844-542-8201

Arkansas Department of Health

Arkansas COVID-19 Information

Arkansas Clinical Resources and Forms

California Department of Public Health

California COVID-19 Information

California Facility Letters (Mixed in with other information)

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment

Colorado COVID-19 Information

Colorado COVIC-19 Resources for Healthcare Providers

Colorado COVID-19 Hotline 303-389-1687 or 877-462-2911

Connecticut Department of Public Health

Connecticut COVID-19 Information

Connecticut healthcare departments to order tests

Delaware Division of Public Health

Delaware COVID-19 Information

Delaware Information for Healthcare Providers

Delaware COVID-19 Hotline 866-408-1899

District of Columbia Department of Health

DC COVID-19 Information

DC Notices for Healthcare Providers

Florida Department of Health

Florida COVID-19 Information and Tool Kit

Florida COVID-19 Guidance for Healthcare Providers

Florida COVID 19 Hotline 1-866-779-6121

Georgia Department of Public Health

Georgia COVID-19 Information

Hawaii Department of Health

Hawaii COVID-19 Information

Hawaii COVID-19 resources for Healthcare Providers

Idaho Department of Health and Welfare

Idaho Information COVID-19

Illinois Department of Public Health

Illinois COVID-19 Information

Illinois COVID-19 Resources for Healthcare Providers

Indiana Department of Health

Indiana COVID-19 Information including Healthcare Providers

Indiana Instructions for COVID-19 Tests sent to state labs

Iowa Department of Public Health

Iowa COVID-19 Information including Healthcare Providers

Kansas Department of Health and Environment

Kansas COVID-19 Information including Healthcare Providers

Kentucky Department for Public Health

Kentucky COVID-19 Information including Healthcare Providers

Kentucky Division of Laboratory Services

Louisiana Department of Health

Louisiana COVID-19 Resources for Healthcare Providers

Maine Department of Health and Human Services

Maine COVID-19 Information including Healthcare Providers

Maryland Department of Health

Maryland COVID-19 Information including Healthcare Providers

Maryland COVID-19 suspected patient reporting line 410-767-6500

Massachusetts Department of Public Health

Massachusetts COVID-19 Information

Massachusetts COVID-19 Cases, Testing and Monitoring

Massachusetts COVID-19 Infectious Disease Reporting 617-983-6800

Michigan Department of Public Health

Michigan COVID-19 Information

Michigan Resources for Healthcare Providers

Minnesota Department of Health

Minnesota COVID-19 Information

Minnesota COVID-19 Hotline 651-201-3920

Mississippi State Department of Health

Mississippi COVID-19 Information

Mississippi Resources for Healthcare Providers

Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services

Missouri COVID-19 Information

Missouri Resources for Healthcare Providers

Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services

Montana COVID-19 Resources including information for Healthcare Professionals

Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services

Nebraska COVID-19 Information

Nevada Department of Health and Human Services

Nevada COVID-19 Resources including Information for Health Facilities

New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

New Hampshire COVID-19 Information

New Hampshire COVID-19 Resources for Healthcare Providers

New Jersey Department of Health

New Jersey COVID-19 Information

New Jersey COVID-19 Hotline 1-800-222-1222

New Mexico Department of Health

New Mexico COVID-19 Information

New Mexico COVID-19 Healthcare Provider Only Hotline (505) 827-0006

New York State Department of Health

New York State COVID-19 Information

New York State COVID-19 Resources for Healthcare Providers

New York COVID-19 Hotline 888-364-3065

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

North Carolina COVID-19 Information

North Carolina COVID-19 Resources for Healthcare Providers

North Carolina COVID-19 Hotline 866-462-3821

North Dakota Department of Health

North Dakota COVID-19 Information

North Dakota Resources for Healthcare Facilities

Ohio Department of Health

Ohio COVID-19 Information

Ohio COVID-19 Resources for Local Health Districts and Providers

Ohio COVID-19 Hotline 1-833-427-5634

Oklahoma State Department of Health

Oklahoma COVID-19 Information

Oklahoma COVID-19 Hotline 877-215-8336

Oregon Health Authority

Oregon COVID-19 Information

Oregon COVID-19 Hotline 211

Pennsylvania Department of Health

Pennsylvania COVID-19 Information

Pennsylvania COVID-19 Hotline 877-724-3258

Rhode Island Department of Health

Rhode Island COVID-19 Information

Rhode Island COVID-19 Hotline 401-222-8022

South Carolina Department of Health

South Carolina COVID-19 Information

South Dakota Department of Health

South Dakota COVID-19 Information

Tennessee Department of Health

Tennessee COVID-19 Information

Tennessee COVID-19 Hotline 877-857-2945

Texas Department of State Health Services

Texas COVID-19 Information

Texas COVID-19 Local Health Entities

Texas COVID-19 Hotline 1-877-570-9779

Utah Department of Health

Utah COVID-19 Information

Utah COVID-19 Resources for Healthcare Providers
Utah COVID-19 Healthcare Provider Hotline 888-374-8824

Vermont Department of Health

Vermont COVID-19 Information

Virginia Department of Health

Virginia COVID-19 Information

Washington Department of Health
Washington COVID-19 Information

West Virginia Department of Health
West Virginia COVID-19 Information

West Virginia COVID-19 Resources for Healthcare Providers

Wisconsin Department of Health Services
Wisconsin COVID-19 Information

Wisconsin COVID-19 Outbreaks

Wyoming Department of Health

Wyoming COVID-19 Information

Wyoming COVID-19 Health Care Provider Only Hotline 888-996-9104

She lists essential supplies that include the following:

  • Cell phones and charges

  • Battery-operated radio

  • Flashlights

  • Batteries

  • Matches

  • Cash 

  • First aid kit 

  • Medications 

  • Specific toiletries

  • At least three day’s worth of non-perishable food and water

  • Empty gas container

  • Maps

 

Stam adds on from his experience, “Equipping the car with a Car Inverter 12 VDC to 220V enables people to charge their electronics from the car battery, and more advanced setups can use solar panels to generate heat and power.”

 

You will also need to make some considerations for COVID supplies, to include:

  • Masks 

  • Sanitizing wipes  

  • Soap and hand sanitizer

 

“Packing them in a bookbag can make it easier to grab it fast when you need to evacuate immediately,” she advises.

 

Children and pets

When packing your must-have supplies, don’t forget to account for your children’s and pets’ needs.

Your children will find comfort in having their favorite things along for the adventure, so consider bringing items like:

  • Favorite books or toys

  • Snacks

  • Blanket or pillow 

 

The idea is to surround your child with things that will provide comfort in a scary situation.

Escape route

 

It is important to familiarize yourself with the routes surrounding your home to have multiple exit points. There may be several road closures blocking your usual routes, so be sure to listen to local official advisories to know how to proceed. 

 

Cell phone service can be spotty and unreliable during emergencies, so be sure to keep your radio and maps handy. Work with your family to develop a meetup plan in case you find yourselves separated in the chaos of the emergency.

 

Relying on your car

 

Up-to-date

 

There is no time to waste in an emergency, so you should keep your vehicle ready at all times in case you need to evacuate.

Be sure to stay updated on all maintenance, and keep supplies ready for use. 

“Organizing a to-go survival kit during a natural disaster also extends to emergency car supplies. You should make sure you have a spare tire, wheel wrench, tripod jack, jumper cables, flashlight, and other tools you might need for your car,” says Maxwell.

You will want to make sure your car is road-ready with newer brake pads and windshield wipers. Don’t forget to stash current copies of your insurance and registration in a plastic bag, so they are not damaged by water or smoke.

 

Safe driving

 

As CEO of The Disaster Deck, Allison Barnard makes a living preparing people for emergencies and disaster relief. “Life-saving information is critical in a disaster when you’re in your car, especially when there is no cell service or power around you,” she says. “Knowing what to do in this type of emergency can make living in your car feel much more safe.” 

 

A natural disaster is terrifying, but you should still take care to drive slowly and carefully. Obey the rules of the road and defer to local officials when it comes to navigating your evacuation route.

 

Overnight parking

 

When you can’t return home, you will need to find somewhere to stop and rest because you can’t keep driving forever. Rest stops are a popular place to pull over, but you may need to consider parking lots or garages if you are in town.

Diane Vukovic is the lead writer at Primal Survivor and the author of Disaster Preparedness for Women. When you need to find somewhere safe to park your car, she recommends following these key tips to keep your car and family safe.

  • Try to park your car somewhere safe. 

  • If you can afford it, put your car in a garage as the concrete walls will provide some protection from high winds and flying debris. 

  • If you can’t garage your car, then park next to a building on higher ground. The building will block some wind, and the higher elevation will protect against flooding. 

  • Make sure there aren’t any trees or power lines above your car as they can crash down on it. 

  • If you have a car cover, it can protect against flying debris and water, which might corrode electrical elements in the car. Use a bungee cord, rope or fishing line to tie the cover on or use duct tape to seal the edges of your windows, trunk and engine hood. It will help keep water out.

 

Finding housing

 

However, Vukovic says you shouldn’t remain in your car for an extended period.

“Staying in your car might seem like a smart choice during a hurricane or major storm, but it is actually one of the worst places you can be,” she warns. “It only takes six inches of water to move a vehicle, and higher water could send your car careening out of control into power lines, buildings or other dangers. Most drowning deaths during hurricanes and floods are vehicle-related. Ideally, you should find another shelter where you can stay safe until the disaster has passed.”

 

Transitional

 

Transitional housing can help you avoid living out of your car while dealing with short-term losses to your permanent housing.

Maxwell advises, “Using the car radio can help get information from local radio stations on closeby housing and shelters set up for those affected by the natural disaster, especially if the cell towers are out. Contacting FEMA is a great way to find out the closest temporary housings in your area. However, some accommodations and shelters can fill up fast.”

 

The American Red Cross also provides resources on transitional housing, including emergency shelters in your area. 

 

“There is no need for a reservation at an emergency shelter; you can just show up,” says Vukovic. “However, don’t expect the shelter to be equipped with supplies, so you’ll want to pack essentials. Shelters can be loud and cramped, so you might want to bring earplugs and a sleep mask. A pop-up tent is great for giving you some privacy while in the shelter.”

 

There are other programs that can help beyond shelters.

 

Maxwell suggests Airbnb. “Airbnb also has a disaster relief program called Open Homes that offers free temporary accommodation for those directly impacted by the natural disaster,” she says. “Hotels are another alternative, with some offering free or discounted rates for those who require emergency housing during a natural disaster.”

 

Rebuild or new 

 

Your property policy’s loss of use coverage can help take of your costs while you’re away from home, but these are only for temporary living expenses. 

When it is time to return home, your home may not be as you left it. There may be repairs or replacements needed, or you could even require entire parts of your home rebuilt. Many of the best insurance companies for homeowners and renters insurance offer online or mobile claims, giving you instant access to the claims process.

 

No matter the damage, your homeowners or renters insurance will be an invaluable help in restoring normalcy in your life and returning your home to the safe, secure sanctuary it always was before.

 

Additional resources

StateDisaster resources

 

Alabama Emergency Management
Alabama Office of the Governor

 

Alaska Emergency Management Agency
Alaska Office of the Governor

 

Arizona Emergency Management Agency
Arizona Office of the Governor

 

Arkansas Emergency Management Agency
Arkansas Office of the Governor

 

California Emergency Management Agency
California Office of the Governor

 

Colorado Emergency Management Agency
Colorado Office of the Governor

 

Connecticut Emergency Management Agency
Connecticut Office of the Governor

 

DelawareDelaware Emergency Management Agency
Delaware Office of the Governor

 

District of ColumbiaD.C. Emergency Management Agency
D.C. Office of the Governor

 

FloridaFlorida Emergency Management Agency
Florida Office of the Governor

 

GeorgiaGeorgia Emergency Management Agency
Georgia Office of the Governor

 

HawaiiHawaii Emergency Management Agency
Hawaii Office of the Governor

 

Idaho Idaho Emergency Management Agency
Idaho Office of the Governor

 

IllinoisIllinois Emergency Management Agency
Illinois Office of the Governor

 

IndianaIndiana Emergency Management Agency
Indiana Office of the Governor

 

IowaIowa Emergency Management Agency
Iowa Office of the Governor

 

KansasKansas Emergency Management Agency
Kansas Office of the Governor

 

KentuckyKentucky Emergency Management Agency
Kentucky Office of the Governor

 

LouisianaLouisiana Emergency Management Agency
Louisiana Office of the Governor

 

MaineMaine Emergency Management Agency
Maine Office of the Governor

 

MarylandMaryland Emergency Management Agency
Maryland Office of the Governor

 

MassachusettsMassachusetts Emergency Management Agency
Massachusetts Office of the Governor

 

MichiganMichigan Emergency Management Agency
Michigan Office of the Governor

 

MinnesotaMinnesota Emergency Management Agency
Minnesota Office of the Governor

 

MississippiMississippi Emergency Management Agency
Mississippi Office of the Governor

 

Missouri Missouri Emergency Management Agency
Missouri Office of the Governor

MontanaMontana Emergency Management Agency
Montana Office of the Governor

 

NebraskaNebraska Emergency Management Agency
Nebraska Office of the Governor

 

NevadaNevada Emergency Management Agency
Nevada Office of the Governor

 

New HampshireNew Hampshire Emergency Management Agency
New Hampshire Office of the Governor

 

New JerseyNew Jersey Emergency Management Agency
New Jersey Office of the Governor

 

New MexicoNew Mexico Emergency Management Agency
New Mexico Office of the Governor

 

New YorkNew York Emergency Management Agency
New York Office of the Governor

North CarolinaNorth Carolina Emergency Management Agency
North Carolina Office of the Governor

North DakotaNorth Dakota Emergency Management Agency
North Dakota Office of the Governor

OhioOhio Emergency Management Agency
Ohio Office of the Governor

OklahomaOklahoma Emergency Management Agency
Oklahoma Office of the Governor

OregonOregon Emergency Management Agency
Oregon Office of the Governor

PennsylvaniaPennsylvania Emergency Management Agency
Pennsylvania Office of the Governor

Rhode IslandRhode Island Emergency Management Agency
Rhode Island Office of the Governor

South CarolinaSouth Carolina Emergency Management Agency
South Carolina Office of the Governor 

South DakotaSouth Dakota Emergency Management Agency
South Dakota Office of the Governor

TennesseeTennessee Emergency Management Agency
Tennessee Office of the Governor

TexasTexas Emergency Management Agency
Texas Office of the Governor

UtahUtah Emergency Management Agency
Utah Office of the Governor

VermontVermont Emergency Management Agency
Vermont Office of the Governor

VirginiaVirginia Emergency Management Agency
Virginia Office of the Governor

WashingtonWashington Emergency Management Agency
Washington Office of the Governor

West VirginiaWest Virginia Emergency Management Agency
West Virginia Office of the Governor

WisconsinWisconsin Department of Military Affairs
Wisconsin Office of the Governor

WyomingWyoming Emergency Management Agency
Wyoming Office of the Governor