How to file a FEMA claim

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There are a few things to have on hand when filing a FEMA claim, and a series of steps to follow. (Shutterstock)

As thousands and thousands of Texans work to put life back in order, there are a series of steps to follow when filing a FEMA claim.

Step 1: File a claim

You should immediately report your loss to your insurance company.

If you need assistance to help you find your insurance carrier, please call 800-621-FEMA (3362), and select option 2.

A claims adjuster should contact you within 24-48 hours, but it may take longer, especially in large-scale events such as Hurricane Harvey.

Registering online, at DisasterAssistance.gov is the quickest way to register for FEMA assistance.

When you register for disaster assistance either online or by phone, you will need the following to complete your application.

Social Security number
Address of the location where the damage occured (pre-disaster address)
Current mailing address

Current telephone number
Insurance information
Total household annual income
Routing and account number for your checking or savings account (this allows FEMA to directly transfer disaster assistance funds into your bank account).
A description of your disaster-caused damage and losses

Step 2: Prepare for your inspection

First and foremost, make sure it's safe to re-enter the building.

Take as many photos and or videos of your flood-damaged property both on the outside and the inside of the building and label them, by room, before you remove anything. For appliances, TVs, computers, and other electronics, make sure you take a photograph of the make, model, and serial number. This information should be provided to the adjuster.

Remove flood damaged items, and keep a sample for your adjuster's inspection.

Step 3: Work with your adjuster

When your claims adjuster shows up, they should show you their official identification (Driver's License and Company ID or Flood Control Number (FCN card). They should also provide you with their contact information, such as their name, email, phone number, and the name of their adjusting firm, and their telephone number.

At the end of your inspection, your adjuster should provide you with information about what you need to do and what will happen next. The adjuster should hand you a physical copy of this information, along with his/her contact information. Read more about what to do after your inspection.

Step 4: Complete a proof of loss

NOTE FOR HURRICANE HARVEY SURVIVORS: Although required within 60 days from the date of loss, completing a Proof of Loss (POL) will be waived for a period of one-year. The insurance company will accept the adjuster's report to pay your claim. You will need a POL if you find additional flood damage or if you disagree with what the insurance company pays you.

Source: FEMA.gov

Related Topics:
financeFEMAhouston floodfloodinghurricane harvey
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