FEMA Enhances the Flood Claims Process by Allowing Advanced Payments
The National Flood Insurance Program NFIP is making it easier for policyholders to receive an advance payment for their flood claim to help them begin the process of recovery as quickly as possible. After filing a flood insurance claim, the policyholder can discuss advance payment with the insurer:
- When a policyholder contacts his/her insurer and verifies his/her identity, he/she can receive an advance payment for up to $5,000 on a flood claim, without an adjuster visit or additional documentation. When the advance payment is issued, a letter is sent as well to the policyholder, which explains that by accepting this payment, the policyholder is certifying the damage.
- Up to $20,000 may be advanced to a policyholder who provides photos and/or videos depicting damage and receipts validating out-of-pocket expenses related to flood loss, or a contractor’s itemized estimate. Policyholders with significant damage who have a contractor’s itemized estimate may be eligible for a larger advance payment and should discuss this with the adjuster.
Advance payments are deducted from a policyholder’s final claim settlement amount. Advance payments may only be used according to the terms of the policy. For example, if a policyholder has a building/structure flood insurance policy, the advance payment must be used to repair or rebuild the structure. Or if a policyholder has contents coverage, the advance payment must be used to repair or replace contents that were within the structure. Advance payments may not be used for temporary housing and living expenses.
If a policyholder’s property is mortgaged, the lender will also be named on the advance payment issued for a building/structure flood insurance policy. In this case, the policyholder and lender will both be required to sign the advance payment check.
NFIP policyholders are encouraged to contact their insurance company and report a flood claim as soon as possible. If someone is unsure if he/she has flood insurance with the National Flood Insurance Program; does not know how to contact his/her agent or company; or has an NFIP Direct policy, call 1-800-621-3362, select option 2, and speak with the NFIP call center. The TTY number is TTY 1-800-462-7585.
If you have any questions, please contact FEMA’s Intergovernmental Affairs Division at (202) 646-3444 or at FEMA-IGA@fema.dhs.gov.