HOW TO SUBMIT CLAIMS UNDER
FLOOD INSURANCE PROGRAM (NFIP)
The first step is notification. Homeowners, renters and
business owners with NFIP coverage should immediately report flood damage to
their insurance company or agent. A claims adjuster will inspect your damages,
estimate the repair costs, and send an estimate to the insurance company for
review and payment approval.
As part of their claim, policyholders are required to submit a
"Proof of Loss" statement which includes an estimate of the damages on both your
structure and its contents. Insurance companies usually provide this form and in
most cases will help you fill it out. A "Proof of Loss" is not a release of
claim, but a statement of loss facts and damages
Your claims package should be supported by photos of water in
the structure and the resulting damage. You should also compile an itemized list
of all flood damage and retain swatches of carpets or fabrics that were damaged.
Be sure to make copies of the insurance claim, proof of loss and all other
supporting documents for your own records.
An important point to keep in mind is that you do not have to
accept the initial estimate of the damage prepared by the claims adjuster. All
issues should be addressed with the adjuster and the company's
However, if you believe the claims adjuster did not address all
of your flood damage in their estimate, you can file a supplemental claim for
the additional damages. For example, there may have been hidden damage not
detected by the claims adjuster during their property
Be aware there are strict deadlines for filing flood insurance
Regardless of whether you agree with the claims adjuster's
estimate, your proof of loss statement must be submitted to the NFIP or the
insurance company within 60-days.
If your claim is denied, the Federal Emergency Management
Agency (FEMA) has established a formal appeals process. You can start this
process as soon as the insurance company issues its final determination in the
form of a written denial (in whole or in part) of your
The written appeal must be filed within 60 days of the
insurance company's final claim determination. FEMA will acknowledge receipt of
your appeal in writing and advise if additional information or documents are
required for full consideration of your appeal. Next, FEMA will review your
documentation and conduct any additional investigation needed. Finally, the
policyholder and their insurance company will be advised of FEMA's decision
regarding the appeal.
Even if you file an appeal with FEMA, that does not relinquish
or replace your right to file a lawsuit against the insurance company, nor does
it expand or change the one-year statute of limitation to file suit against the
insurer for the disallowed portion of your claim.
To avoid conflicting results and duplicated effort, a
policyholder who files suit against an insurance company is prohibited from
filing an appeal with FEMA under this process. As a result, homeowners are
encouraged to file an appeal with FEMA first.
Client's without NFIP insurance — and who sustained losses or
damages may be eligible for state and federal assistance. You can apply online
at DisasterAssistance.gov or via
smartphone at m.fema.gov or by phone at 800-621-3362 (Voice or 7-1-1/ Relay) or
TTY 800-462-7585. For information about U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
programs, applicants should call 800-659-2955 (TTY 800-877-8339).
Even if you have a NFIP policy, you may also be entitled to
FEMA Individual Assistance payments for housing allowance, contents losses, or
moving and storage expenses.
For more information about flood insurance, go to