National Flood Insurance Program coverage isn’t the same as homeowner insurance or FEMA assistance

December 5, 2016  //  

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Having an adjuster with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) come to your home isn’t the same as having your homeowner’s insurance agent or a FEMA inspector assess your damages.

FEMA Individual Assistance (IA), homeowners insurance and flood insurance are three different programs.

Homeowner and business insurance policies usually don’t cover flood damage. They generally do not. Disaster officials recommend:

  • If you have flood insurance, call your agent right away.
  • If you have homeowners insurance, call your agent right away.
  • If you had damages and haven’t registered with FEMA, do so right away.

Receiving a flood claim inspection, registering with your city’s emergency management agency, registering with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM), the Red Cross, or with any other charitable organization is NOT the same as registering with FEMA or having a homeowner’s or flood insurance policy.

If you have dual insurance, you need to contact both your homeowners insurance and your NFIP flood insurance agent as well as register with FEMA to initiate individual recovery assistance. The deadline to register with FEMA is January 3, 2017. The deadline to file a flood-loss claim is February 7, 2017.

The deadline date for filing an NFIP flood insurance claim has been extended from 60 to 120 days from the date the flood damage occurred. After contacting your flood insurance agent, the claims process begins with your sending in ‘proof of loss’ paperwork. The flood claim process commonly follows this timeline:

  • An adjuster will usually call you within 24 to 48 hours after you notify your agent about the flood damage.
  • Once contacted, a claims adjuster will visit to open the claim. In disasters such as Virginia, some adjusters may have hundreds of policy holders to service.
  • Policyholders have 120 days after the date of the loss to file proof of loss paperwork. This sworn statement may have to be notarized.

o   For instance, if you send in your proof of loss at 28 days, it can take at least 14 to 20 days more after that to review and process for payment.

o   It can take another 20 days to process the claim for payment—and at times only a partial payment can be made.

  • If you have a mortgage, regulations require that homeowner payment checks be issued in both the lender and homeowner’s name. Usually a bank or lender will require a construction contract or proof of pending repairs before releasing the money to you.

To date, NFIP in Virginia has received 2,231 claims with an estimated payout of nearly $25 million due to Hurricane Matthew.

Some damages not covered by your NFIP insurance may be eligible for coverage under your homeowners insurance, FEMA individual assistance program, or the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). You must be registered with FEMA to find out if you are eligible for additional assistance not covered by your insurance policies.

If you receive an SBA loan application, complete and submit it to the SBA, even if you don’t want a loan. Sometimes unanticipated expenses come up as your recovery process nears conclusion.

Information about claims, what to do, how to file, and what proof of loss is needed can be found in the NFIP online booklet “The NFIP Flood Insurance Claims Handbook” at http://go.usa.gov/x89kz. In most cases, there is a 30-day waiting period for a new flood insurance policy to take effect. To learn more about this program, contact your insurance agent or the NFIP at 888-379-9531, or visit www.floodsmart.gov. 

Call the FEMA helpline to register, register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, or get additional information: 800-621-3362, or TTY at 800-462-7585. You can also visit your nearest Disaster Recovery Center (DRC). Location addresses can be found at www.FEMA.gov/DRC.

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FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

Federal Emergency Management Agency / Virginia Department of Emergency Management

News Release

December 5, 2016

DR-4291-VA NR-22
News Desk: 540-686-2972

Be ready. Be willing to help.

Virginia Disaster Relief Fund