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Flood Claim Appeals and Guidance

Español: Apelaciones y Orientación para Reclamaciones por Inundación

FEMA’s goal is to ensure all policyholders receive the amount they are owed for their claim(s) under the terms of their policy.

Planning to appeal to FEMA? During the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, FEMA may limit access to our office locations, which could result in a processing delay of several weeks for any submissions sent via mail or overnight carrier. Please consider submitting your appeal via e-mail at

Work With Your Insurance Company to Find a Resolution

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.

What is a Denial Letter?

A denial letter is a letter sent to policyholders from their insurance provider after they file their flood insurance claim. The letter will formerly reject part or all of the claim and explain why, based on the specific policy provisions. An appeal cannot be filed until and unless the policyholder has received a denial letter.

File an Appeal with FEMA

  • To file an appeal, you must:
    1. Explain the issue(s) in writing;
    2. Include a copy of the denial letter from your insurer; AND
    3. 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.
  • You must file your written appeal within 60 days of the date written on the denial letter.
  • Send your appeal request to FEMA, 400 C Street SW, 6th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20472-3010, or 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.

    PLEASE NOTE: 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 further down this page for additional information.
    PLEASE NOTE: As long as the envelope you send your appeal in has a post-marked date within 60 days of the date written on your denial letter, your appeal will not be considered late.
    PLEASE NOTE: 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 an 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 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.

File a Lawsuit

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 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.

Authorize Someone Else to Represent You

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>.”

Get More Information

Additional Information. For more information about flood insurance claims, please reference the Flood Insurance Claims Handbook mailed to you by your insurer.

Still Need Help?

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Last Updated: 
05/22/2020 - 10:25