Options if your flood claim has been denied
After a flood, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is here for you – from starting a claim to making sure that we reach the correct claims resolution.
In over 50 years, we’ve never allowed a valid claim to go unpaid.
What if I’ve discovered additional flood damage after filing my claim? Contact your agent or adjuster to update your claim.
Flood claim appeal and guidance
We want to ensure that you and your family are on the road to recovery. If you are unsatisfied with the amount of your claim or receive a denial letter for some or all of your claim, you have options:
If part or all of your claim has been denied, talk to your adjuster or insurer to request additional payment.
Your adjuster and insurer can help clarify how the flood insurance policy applies to your claim and take immediate action if they missed a key fact, overlooked a document, or made a mistake.
You may file a flood insurance appeal directly to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the federal agency that oversees the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
On appeal, FEMA will work with you and your insurer to gather the claim facts, review the policy, and provide an appeal decision.
There is no fee to file an appeal, and you do not need a third party to represent you. You must file your appeal within 60 days of the date of the insurer’s denial letter.
If you and your insurer agree that a loss occurred but disagree about the price of the loss, seeking an appraisal could resolve the claim.
You can seek appraisal for disputes over the amount of loss to flood-damaged property. However, if you complete an appraisal you cannot also file an appeal.
If you are not able to resolve your dispute using the options above, you may file suit with your insurer within one year of the denial of your claim.
You may file suit after filing an appeal with FEMA. However, filing an appeal does not extend the one-year period of time to file suit.
Additionally, once you file suit, you also forfeit your option to appeal directly with FEMA.
Ready to take the next step?
More detailed information if you’re ready to take the next step in your claims and appeals process.
To file an appeal, you must do the following within 60 calendar days of the date written on the denial letter:
- Explain the issue(s) in writing;
- Include a copy of the denial letter from your insurer;
- Provide any supporting documentation (e.g., photos of your flood damage, itemized estimates signed by a contractor, properly completed drying logs)
There is no fee to file an appeal, and you do not need a third party to represent you. If you have a third party represent you, FEMA will not pay for any costs incurred for representation.
Send your appeal request to FEMA, 400 C Street SW, 6th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20472-3010, or FEMA-NFIP-Appeals@fema.dhs.gov.
- Your appeal is considered "on time" if:
- The envelope you send your appeal in has a post-marked date within 60 days of the date written on your denial letter; or
- The time stamp on the email submission is within 60 days of the date written on your denial letter.
- FEMA uses calendar days, not business not business days, to calculate this time period. If the 60th day is a Saturday, Sunday, or federal holiday, the time period extends to the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or federal holiday.
- FEMA will receive and begin processing emailed appeals more quickly than those sent via U.S. mail or express carrier. Please note that due to cybersecurity requirements, FEMA cannot access file sharing sites, CDs, DVDs, or any electronic storage devices.
- By law, FEMA cannot discuss your claim with a third-party representative unless you provide certain information in writing.
- If you appeal, you can later choose to file suit against your insurer as long as you are still within the one-year timeframe available to file suit, but you can no longer seek appraisal.
If you wish to authorize another party to speak with FEMA about your claim, you will need to do so in writing. By law, FEMA must obtain this authorization to protect your privacy.
To authorize another party to represent you, please submit documentation that includes your full name, address, date and place of birth, the name(s) of your representative(s), and your signature.
You must have this document notarized or include the following statement: “I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on <DATE>.<SIGNATURE>.”
Federal law permits you to file suit within one year of the date the insurer first denied all or any part of your claim. You must file suit in the district court where the damage occurred. (42 U.S.C. § 4072, 44 C.F.R. § 62.22).
- When FEMA's NFIP Direct is your insurer, you may file suit against FEMA.
- For all other insurers, FEMA is not a proper party pursuant to 44 C.F.R. § 62.23(g). You must sue the insurer.
You may file suit after filing an appeal with FEMA, but once you file suit the appeal option ends. Filing an appeal does not extend the period to file suit against your insurer.