If you receive a denial letter (for all or some of your flood insurance claim) from your insurer or you are unsatisfied with the dollar amount being offered for flood-loss repairs or replacements, you are encouraged to continue working with your insurer to request an additional payment. If you are still not satisfied, you may explore other options. These options are only available for policyholders who have received a denial letter.
Flood claim appeals and guidance
The options described on this page are meant to be used by policyholders who have already received a denial letter (for all or part of their flood insurance claim) from their insurer and are unsatisfied with the dollar amount being offered for flood-loss repairs or replacements.
FEMA encourages all flood insurance policyholders with questions to talk to their adjuster or insurer. 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 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 applicable guidance, policy terms and conditions and provide an appeal decision that explains why FEMA is upholding or overturning the decision.
- To file an appeal, you must explain the issue(s) in writing, include a copy of the denial letter from your insurer and provide any supporting documentation. An appeal must be submitted within 60 days of the date on the first (if you received more than one) denial letter (for all or a portion of your claim).
- 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. By law, FEMA cannot discuss your claim with a third-party representative unless you provide certain information in writing. Please see “Authorize Someone Else to Represent You”for additional information.
- You must file your appeal within 60 days of the date of the insurer’s denial letter by sending it to FEMA at 400 C Street SW, 3rd Floor SW, Washington, D.C. 20472-3010, or FEMA-NFIP-Appeals@fema.dhs.gov. 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.
- 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.
Seek appraisal for disputes over the price of a covered loss (if applicable). The flood insurance policy permits policyholders to request appraisal of the amount of loss to flood-damaged property. For example, if you and your insurer agree that a covered loss occurred but disagree about the price of the loss, appraisal could completely resolve the claim. If you use the appraisal option, you cannot also use the appeal option.
You may file suit within one year of the denial of your claim. 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 of the district 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 policies purchased from 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.
Letters of Representation. Whenever you want 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 individual 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>”