How Much Will FEMA Pay in a Claim? Average FEMA Payments and Info

How Much Money Is the Average FEMA Check Amount? How to Make a FEMA Claim

Disaster area with high water sign FEMA claim disaster area
••• When do you qualify for FEMA assistance? How much is the average FEMA claim payment? How Do FEMA claims work?. Eric Overton / iStock Getty Images Plus

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) may provide assistance in disaster situations when there is damage that is not covered by the insurance policy.

Who Can Apply for FEMA Assistance?

Homeowners, renters and business owners may be eligible for FEMA assistance and payments when they are in a designated or officially declared disaster area. FEMA payments do not cover basic water damage covered on homeowner policies.

What Disasters Might Make You Eligible for FEMA Payments 

If you are thinking about making a claim for water damage not covered by insurance, or damage caused by a disaster like a hurricane, flood after a wildfire, or flood-related water damage, FEMA has a claims handbook that may be a good resource for you. You can also learn more about general insurance claim basics here.

How Much Will FEMA Pay? List of Average FEMA Claims Payments and Check Amounts

Here's an overview of the most recent available data for 2017 according to FEMA, you can check FEMA for a chart of average claim payments made here

Month in 2017​Average FEMA Claim Amount Paid
January$25,259
February $29,202
March$20,856
April$42,075
May$36,765
June $23,883
July $27,113
August $106,878
September$42,955
October$21,937
November$21,978
December*$4,558
 

*current as of February 28th 2018.

5 Steps on How to Make a FEMA Claim and What to Expect

You should register with FEMA in order to make a claim, here are 5 steps to take.

 

  1. Contact your insurance company or agent to report your claim and loss damage. This is a list of insurance company phone numbers if you do not have it handy. If you do not know who your insurance agent is, you can contact FEMA at 800-621-FEMA (3362).
  2. Take photos of damaged property inside and around your property.
  1. An insurance adjuster will be assigned to you and you should hear from them within 24-48 hours to come and visit your property. They will help in the collection of information for the claims process. The adjuster is there to help you document your claim. The adjuster will not approve or decline coverage to you directly or tell you about other forms of assistance you may qualify for. 
  2. Prepare yourself by collecting any documents you may have relating to the damaged items (receipts, photos, estimates etc) so that your claims process can go as fast as possible. Read more about What to Expect in a Disaster Claim here. You should also have your insurance declaration page for reference. Your adjuster can also help guide you by explaining what you will need to provide. 
  3. You will need to get the insurance company approval for costs of repairs. You will also need to provide a proof of loss in order to get paid. A proof of loss is your sworn statement about the amount of money you are claiming and usually includes supporting documentation. 

Does FEMA Pay for Temporary Housing?

FEMA does not cover additional living expenses or money to pay for your temporary housing. However, if you do not have the means to provide for your temporary housing, you may qualify for the FEMA Assistance to Individuals and Households program.

 

Can Renters Apply for Help From FEMA?

Renters may apply for a grant from FEMA to replace damaged personal contents if not insured by their primary insurance coverage and may also qualify for an SBA disaster loan.

FEMA Claim Tip: You must provide your signed proof of loss within 60 days. In exceptional circumstances FEMA may allow for extensions, however you should be sure and verify your deadline for providing your proof of loss with your adjuster and insurance company.

How Long Does It Take to Get Paid for a FEMA Claim?

The first step in getting paid is collecting all the necessary documentation needed for your proof of loss. Once your proof of loss is signed and provided to the adjuster they can get started on the claim payment part of the process. It may take a while for you to get paid on a FEMA claim, however, you can request an advance or partial payment if needed.

Be sure and ask about this. 

Why Is the FEMA Claim Check Paid to the Mortgage?

By law, a FEMA claim cheque for your building structure may be payable to the mortgage company. You can learn more about the FEMA claims payment process by checking out this visual infographic on FEMA claims settlements. You will have to speak to your mortgage company to find out how they will handle the claim settlement payment and what happens next. Payments for home contents would not go to the mortgage.

How Much of the Total Amount of Your Losses Will Be Covered By Your FEMA Claim Cheque?

Getting fully compensated for a disaster claim that is not fully covered by your home insurance, and requires FEMA assistance is a multi-step process. You won't be getting all your money in one place. FEMA will not pay for all your damage. According to FEMA:

FEMA provides grants to qualified homeowners to repair damage not covered by insurance, but these grants may not pay for all the damage. However, an SBA disaster loan may return a home to its pre-disaster condition.

4 Things FEMA Might Pay: 

  1. Temporary housing as discussed above
  2. Emergency home repairs
  3. Uninsured and underinsured personal property 
  4. Medical, dental, funeral expenses

How Is a FEMA Claim Payment Calculated?

The claim payment is based on your actual loss and damage declared in your proof of loss. The sooner you submit proof of loss, the faster you receive payments. If you discover additional damage after you submit your proof of loss, you should contact your adjuster and insurance company to request additional payments by submitting another proof of loss within the 60-day limit.

FEMA Claims Handbook: A Valuable Source of Information to Help Understand a FEMA Claim

The FEMA claims handbook is a valuable resource if you want information about your FEMA claims process. You can access it here