New Mexico Wildfires DR-4652 Frequently Asked Questions and Rumor Control

We continue to work with federal, state, local, tribal and community partners to support the ongoing response for the New Mexico Wildfires. This page offers answers to frequently asked questions and rumors about New Mexico Wildfires (DR-4652).

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Frequently Asked Questions and Rumors

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Rumor: I heard there is a blanket waiver that allows me to purchase flood insurance with just a one-day waiting period, because the wildfires started on federal land.


There is no blanket waiver. Generally, by law, there is a 30-day waiting period from the date of purchase until flood insurance coverage takes effect with very few exceptions. There is an exception called the Post-Wildfire Exception, and it only applies in narrow situations on a case-by-case basis. This exception is relevant when a new policy (or additional coverage) is within the standard 30-day waiting period and a loss is experienced qualifying it for the Post-Wildfire exception and resulting in a 1-day waiting period.

In order to be potentially eligible:

  • The insured property must be privately owned and experience damage caused by a flood that originated on federal land;
  • Post-wildfire conditions on federal lands caused or worsened the flooding; and
  • The policy holder purchased the new, additional or increased coverage either before the fire containment date or during the 60-calendar day period following the fire containment date.

It’s important to know that the Standard Flood Insurance Policy does not insure damage from a flood that began before a new policy’s waiting period (or coverage, if no waiting period) began, even if the flood did not damage the insured property until after the waiting period (or coverage) began. So, if you purchase flood insurance after a flood is already in progress, you won’t be able to be covered for a loss.

If you purchase flood insurance (or additional increased coverage), are in your waiting period, and experience a flood loss, ask your insurance agent or adjuster if you may be eligible for this 1-day, Post-Wildfire waiting period exception.

Rumor: If I take part in a class-action lawsuit I cannot apply for assistance from FEMA.


This is not true. Residents of New Mexico affected by the ongoing wildfires can still apply for assistance from FEMA, even if you plan to take part in or are taking part in a class-action lawsuit.

Rumor: If I receive assistance from FEMA, the federal government will take my land.


FEMA grants do not have to be paid back. FEMA will not seize any land or property in return for providing disaster assistance.

Can FEMA reimburse me for my lodging expenses?

FEMA may be able to provide Lodging Expense Reimbursement (LER)  for out-of-pocket lodging expenses, but only if these expenses are not covered through other means, such as insurance.

To be considered for LER, you must meet basic eligibility criteria for assistance and FEMA must verify that your home is unlivable, inaccessible, or affected by an extended disaster-caused utility outage. You must also submit verifiable documentation, such as receipts, of your lodging expenses.

I have insurance, can I still get reimbursed for my lodging expenses?

By law, FEMA cannot duplicate benefits provided through insurance. Many insurance policies include Additional Living Expenses (ALE) or Loss of Use (LOU) coverage, which provides money to cover lodging costs when you are unable to live in your home due to a disaster. If your insurance does not include ALE or LOU, or if the money provided by your insurance does not cover all your lodging expenses, you can submit your insurance documentation to FEMA to be considered for Lodging Expense Reimbursement.

Can I get reimbursed for my food or transportation costs while I’m staying at a hotel?

No. Eligible expenses may include the cost of the room and taxes charged by a hotel or other lodging provider. This does not include costs for food, phone calls, transportation or other miscellaneous expenses.

When can I expect to receive reimbursement for my eligible lodging expenses?

Lodging Expenses Reimbursement requests are manually reviewed by processing staff. In larger scale disasters, it can take one to two months after receipts are submitted to receive reimbursement.

What information do I need to provide to seek reimbursement lodging expenses?

To be considered for Lodging Expenses Reimbursement, eligible applicants must submit verifiable lodging receipts or itemized statements with the following information: The name of the applicant or co-applicant, information for the lodging provider (name, address and phone number), dates of occupancy and the amount of expenses incurred.

Rumor: I don't want to apply for help because others had more damage; they need the help more than me.


FEMA funding is available to assist all eligible residents who have suffered losses because of the wildfires.

Rumor: I registered with the American Red Cross, so FEMA has my information.


Wrong. You must apply to FEMA directly for disaster assistance. New Mexico residents can apply by:

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