PIFF Urges Victims of Ian to File Claims Quickly for FEMA Eligibility
For Floridians impacted by Hurricane Ian, the recovery process will be long and difficult. For those who suffer flood damage and do not have flood insurance, recovery will be even more challenging. The Personal Insurance Federation of Florida (PIFF) is urging storm victims to contact their insurer and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to find out what they can do to assist them in the event they have a loss that is not covered.
“Unfortunately, Ian has caused significant flood damage, and according to some estimates, most flood-impacted homeowners do not have flood insurance,” said Michael Carlson, president and CEO of PIFF. “It is important for homeowners to know that windstorm insurance is not flood insurance. And unfortunately, those who did not have NFIP or private flood insurance and suffered losses due to flooding will not have coverage. FEMA does have a program that provides financial assistance that can help with some recovery costs, but it is limited, and affected homeowners must meet certain eligibility requirements — getting an eligibility determination from your insurer is an essential step.”
Floridians with flood loss for which there is no coverage can file a claim with FEMA under the Individuals and Households Program (IHP). This program provides financial and direct services to eligible individuals and households affected by a disaster who have uninsured or under-insured necessary expenses and serious needs.
Eligibility requirements for IHP assistance include proof that one’s insurance — or other forms of disaster assistance received — cannot meet disaster-caused needs and proving the necessary expenses and serious needs are directly caused by a declared disaster. Learn more about eligibility.
“As part of the eligibility determination, a consumer must prove to FEMA that their insurance does not meet their needs,” added Carlson. “This likely requires an applicant to first make a claim to their homeowner’s insurer, even if the claim is for flood damage that is not covered by their policy. A claim denial by the insurer should serve as confirmation that the applicant’s insurance does not cover their losses, satisfying the eligibility. You will need that insurance determination letter, so contact your agent or your insurer and begin the claims process as soon as you can to meet this important requirement.”
IHP provides two general categories of assistance: Financial Housing Assistance, which includes home repair or replacement assistance, and Financial Other Needs, which includes several categories including personal property, transportation, moving and storage, medical and dental and childcare assistance among the supports.
The maximum payments for these types of assistance are $37,900 for Financial Housing Assistance and $37,900 for Financial Other Needs (according to the most recent public information). FEMA can also cover lodging expenses, rental costs and continued temporary housing assistance with no maximum payment limit – instead the amount of reimbursement/assistance is based on market costs as shown by applicant receipts for these expenses.
Floridians can apply for disaster assistance at www.disasterassistance.gov, by calling 800-621-3362 from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern Time, or by using the FEMA mobile app.
Floridians with questions or concerns about an insurance claim can contact the Department of Financial Services Consumer Hotline at 1-877-MY-FL-CFO (877-693-5236) or via email at [email protected].
Flood insurance may be available through a homeowner’s insurance company or the National Flood Insurance Program. To learn more about obtaining flood insurance, Floridians can contact their insurance agent or use the agent locator at www.FloodSmart.gov to learn more.
Find more helpful links including PIFF’s Hurricane Claim infographic and Homeowner Claims Bill of Rights along with a printable checklist of the top 20 Insurance Tips for Hurricane Season.
The Personal Insurance Federation of Florida, Inc. (PIFF), is a leading voice for the personal lines property and casualty insurance industry in Florida. PIFF represents national insurance carriers and their subsidiaries, including many of the state’s top writers of private passenger auto and homeowners multiperil insurance. Together, PIFF members write more than $13 billion in premium in the state. PIFF advocates for a healthy and competitive insurance marketplace for the benefit of Florida consumers. Follow us @PIFFNews. Visit PIFF.net to learn more.