Understanding FEMA Verified Loss

ORLANDO, Fla. – You may be eligible for FEMA help to restore your home to a safe, sanitary and functional condition following a disaster, if you don’t have insurance coverage – or if you have received an insurance settlement that is less than the cost to make your home habitable.

FEMA assistance is not the same as insurance. Assistance only provides the basic needs for a home to be habitable.

Once you register for assistance, FEMA is required to verify losses to determine your eligibility for disaster assistance.

FEMA’s standard method to verify a loss due to disaster damage and to determine initial eligibility is an onsite inspection by a FEMA inspector. Home damage must be disaster-related.

Safe, sanitary and functional 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 septic systems function properly.
  • The home is capable of operating for its intended purpose.

Safe, Sanitary and Functional Examples

Appliances: FEMA may assist in the replacement or repairs to disaster-damaged furnaces and hot water heaters.
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 disaster-damaged flooring in occupied parts of the home.

Windows: FEMA may assist with disaster-related broken windows.

FEMA verified loss determination may vary depending upon an individual’s situation. Expenses for repairs that exceed the conditions to make a home safe, sanitary and functional are ineligible. In some cases, FEMA needs documentation from applicants such as receipts, bills, or estimates to verify losses.

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.

If your private insurance settlement is less than FEMA’s verified loss calculation to make your home habitable, you may qualify for funds to supplement your insurance settlement, but only for repairs relating to the home’s habitability.  FEMA does not provide replacement value amounts or assistance with non-essential items.

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

For more recovery information, visit www.FEMA.gov/IrmaFL, or follow us @FEMARegion4 on Twitter and on FEMA’s Facebook page.


FEMA’s mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.
Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status. If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.
FEMA’s temporary housing assistance and grants for public transportation expenses, medical and dental expenses, and funeral and burial expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA to be eligible for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses.

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