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Understanding FEMA Verified Loss

Release date: 
January 24, 2017
Release Number: 

BATON ROUGE, La. — Applicants without an insurance policy may be eligible for FEMA help to restore a home to a safe, sanitary and secure condition following a disaster.

FEMA assistance is not the same as insurance. Assistance only provides the basic needs for a home to be habitable, including toilets, a roof, critical utilities and doors. Examples of ineligible items may include cabinets and garage doors.

Home damage must be disaster-related. A home inspection is required to calculate the FEMA verified loss. Calculations are based on the general depreciation amount for items of average quality, size and capacity.

Safe, sanitary and secure homes meet the following conditions:

  • The exterior is structurally sound, including the doors, roof and windows.
  • The interior’s habitable areas are structurally sound, including the ceiling and floors.
  • The electricity, gas, heat, plumbing, and sewer and septic systems function properly.
  • The home is capable of operating for its intended purpose.

Safe, Sanitary and Secure Examples

Appliances: FEMA may assist in the replacement or repairs to disaster-damaged furnaces and hot waters heaters. Non-essential items like dish washers and home entertainment equipment will not be covered.

Ceiling and Roof damage: FEMA may assist to repair disaster-related leaks in a roof that damage ceilings and threaten electrical components, like overhead lights, but not stains from roof leaks.

Floors: FEMA may assist to repair a disaster-damaged subfloor in occupied parts of the home but not floor covering like tile or carpet.

Windows: FEMA may assist with disaster-related broken windows but not blinds and drapes.

FEMA verified loss calculations vary because every applicant’s situation is different. Expenses for repairs that exceed the conditions to make a home safe, sanitary and secure are ineligible.

Flood insurance coverage is more extensive. Policyholders may receive up to $250,000 for home damage and $100,000 for contents depending on the type and amount of coverage they bought. National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) payments are not dependent on state or federal disaster declarations. The average annual cost of flood insurance is about $700.

Visit to learn more about any property’s flood risk, estimate an NFIP premium or locate an insurance agent who sells flood insurance.

For questions regarding FEMA verified loss please call 800-621-FEMA (3362).

Last Updated: 
January 3, 2018 - 12:01