Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) may provide assistance in disaster situations when there is damage that is not covered by your insurance policy. Homeowners, renters, and business owners may be eligible for FEMA assistance and payments when they are in a designated or officially declared disaster area.
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.
Average Claim Payments
Below is an overview of the most recent available data for the average claim payments made by FEMA.
|Average Claims Paid By FEMA 2018–2019|
|Month||Average FEMA Claim Amount Paid|
Five Steps to Make a FEMA Claim
After registering with FEMA, here is how you make a FEMA claim:
- Contact your insurance company or agent to report your claim and loss damage. If you do not know who your insurance agent is, you can contact FEMA at 800-621-FEMA (3362).
- Take photos of damaged property inside and around your property. You will need all the evidence and proof you can get, so be diligent during this process.
- Meet with an insurance adjuster. An insurance adjuster will be assigned to you, and you should hear from them within 24 to 48 hours to schedule a visit to your property. They will help in the collection of information for the claims process, as well as documenting 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.
- Collect documents relating to the damaged items. Having all relevant documents ready—such as receipts, photos, estimates, etc.—speeds up the claims process. Your adjuster can also help guide you by explaining what you will need to provide.
- Get proof of loss. A proof of loss is your sworn statement about the amount of money you are claiming and usually includes supporting documentation. Your insurance adjuster may provide the proof of loss form and help you complete it if necessary. You will need this to get paid.
You must provide your signed proof of loss within 60 days. In exceptional circumstances, FEMA may allow for extensions, but you should be sure and verify your deadline for providing your proof of loss with your adjuster and insurance company.
Housing Coverage and Eligibility
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. 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 a Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loan.
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 process. It may take a while for you to get paid on a FEMA claim, but you can request an advance or partial payment if needed.
Four Costs Covered by FEMA
Below are the four types of costs covered by FEMA:
- Temporary housing as discussed above
- Emergency home repairs
- Uninsured and underinsured personal property
- Medical, dental, funeral expenses
How Payments Are 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.