FEMA Home Inspections: What to Expect

Release Date:
October 15, 2021

If you applied with FEMA and you cannot live in your home because of damage caused by Hurricane Ida, a FEMA inspector will contact you to set up either a remote or in-person, exterior-only home inspection.

FEMA home inspections help determine whether a home is safe, sanitary and livable. To determine whether an applicant is eligible for assistance, FEMA considers the home’s interior and exterior structural soundness; whether the electrical, gas, heat, plumbing and sewer or septic systems are functional; and whether the home is livable and can be entered and exited safely.

At times there can be language or other barriers to completing the inspection. If you need accommodations for language or a disability, call 800-621-3362 (TTY 800-462-7585) in advance of the inspection and let FEMA know your needs.

The first step for a home inspection starts with a phone call, text message or email from a FEMA inspector to the applicant to schedule an appointment for an inspection. More than likely, the phone call to schedule an inspection will be from out of state. An inspector will attempt to make contact with the survivor up to three times over three different days. If inspectors cannot reach the applicant after the three attempts, their case will be closed until the applicant contacts FEMA again.

There are two ways your home may be inspected:

  1. Remote inspection: FEMA calls you and schedules a phone/remote/virtual inspection. This inspection is done entirely over the phone. Most often, the survivor answers questions that will help detail the extent of their damage.
  2. In-person, exterior-only inspection: FEMA calls you to schedule a time for an inspector to visit your home. Taking COVID-19 protocols into consideration, the inspector will not enter the building, just the property, and will inspect from outside.
    • The inspector who arrives for the appointment will have an official FEMA badge. If you don’t see an I.D. badge, ask to see their FEMA identification before proceeding. The inspector will ask you for a photo ID to confirm you are the applicant.

The inspection process, remote or in-person, usually takes 30 to 40 minutes. If you were able to take photos or video of interior or exterior damage to the home, show them to the inspector.

Survivors who are unable to meet with the FEMA inspector for an in-person inspection or are unable to complete a remote inspection themselves with an inspector, can have a friend or relative act on their behalf to meet with the inspector. But first they must submit to FEMA a written and signed request for third-party, which is a legal document, authorizing another person who is at least 18 years of age to meet with the inspector and to provide and receive information from FEMA on their behalf.

What Else You Need to Know

  • The inspector will not be collecting any documentation and will never ask for personal information like a Social Security number.
  • FEMA never charges for an inspection.
  • If a FEMA inspector comes to your home and you did not submit a FEMA application, your information may have been used without your knowledge to create a FEMA application; if so, please inform the inspector that you did not apply for FEMA assistance so they can submit a request to stop all further processing on the application.
  • A fraudulent application could be a sign of identity theft. For information on what to do if you suspect identity theft, please visit Identity Theft | FTC Consumer Information or IdentityTheft.gov. For Spanish, Robo de Identidad | FTC Información para consumidores or RobodeIdentidad.gov.
  • If you wish to apply for FEMA assistance after stopping an application made in your name without your knowledge, the FEMA Helpline will need to assist you in creating a new application. Call 800-621-3362.
Last updated May 10, 2023