FEMA answers frequently asked questions regarding flood insuranc - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

FEMA answers frequently asked questions regarding flood insurance

Source: WAFB Source: WAFB

Several questions have been asked regarding flood insurance following the historic August flooding. 

FEMA officials answered the following questions which have been frequently asked on the topic. 

Q: If you do not accept the requirement to maintain flood insurance, is it true that you must return all disaster assistance money for the National Flood Insurance Program insurable real and/or personal property within 30 days from the date of this letter?

A: Yes, a survivor would need to return their FEMA grant, but they may keep temporary rental assistance. These survivors should call FEMA if they have questions regarding their individual case. 

Q: Some survivors are told that they have to buy flood insurance right now or they cannot keep the grant money. 

A: No, we get the insurance for them. FEMA may pay for three years' worth of premiums if they are a homeowner or renter who receives federal disaster help and didn't have flood insurance. 

Q: Others are told that, "No you don't have to buy flood insurance, but you won't ever receive FEMA money if it happens again."

A: It's important to keep their flood insurance once FEMA stops paying the premiums in order for them to consider the person for certain recovery grants during future disasters. 

Q: Another was told that a group policy has been set up for this disaster and the premium for three years has been subtracted from the amount of the grant already.

A: Yes, this is correct. It is your choice to purchase insurance or not after three years, either way the grant is yours to keep. 

Q: Survivors may keep the grant, but if they cancel flood insurance anytime while still living at the same address whatever grant money, penalties and interest will need to be paid back to FEMA, no matter how much time has passed. 

A: No, the grant is yours to keep.

Q: If survivors elect not to purchase flood insurance and therefore, do they need to return the "Home Repair Assistance" grant money.

A: Yes, they will be required to return the Home Repair Assistance grant money. 

Q: Do they get to keep or return the "Rental Assistance" grant money? 

A: No, they may keep their rental assistance grant from FEMA. 

*Note: If the applicant is flooded and is not in a flood zone, they do not have to purchase flood insurance and it will not be purchased for them by FEMA 

Q: I have been asked if a survivor receives FEMA IA funds and did not have flood insurance, are they now required to have flood insurance and if they do not get flood insurance, they would have to pay FEMA back? Is this true? 

A: When property owners receive financial assistance from the Federal Government following a Presidentially declared disaster, they may be required to purchase flood insurance coverage. This requirement is mandated under the National Flood Insurance Reform Act (NFIRA) of 1994. It is imposed when a building has been damaged and is located in an area that is at high risk of flooding. These high-risk areas are called Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs). 

Flood insurance may be provided under a Group Flood Insurance Policy following a Presidential disaster declaration. This policy provides minimum building and/or contents coverage in exchange for a small premium. Group Policies have a term of 3 years, after which you will be required to purchase and maintain a Standard Flood Insurance Policy through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) until you are no longer the homeowner or renter at that location. In order to avoid any lapse in coverage, it is important to apply for your new coverage at least 30 days before the expiration of the Group Policy. An applicant who does not comply with the NFIRA flood insurance obligation may become ineligible for future disaster assistance. 

An individual doesn't live in a SHFA and doesn't have flood insurance (they were under no requirement to do so), they get IA dollars. Moving forward, is there any requirement that they purchase flood insurance? Is our response to that: "No"?

FEMA officials said the agency can also help people who may have to obtain flood insurance as a condition to receiving federal disaster assistance following Louisiana's recent severe storms and floods.

The following is information on how to get help paying for flood insurance in Louisiana:

  • FEMA may pay for three years' worth of premiums if you're a homeowner or renter who receives federal disaster help and didn't have flood insurance. 
  • However, it's important to keep flood insurance once FEMA stops paying your premiums in order for them to consider you for certain recovery grants during future disasters. 
  • You will receive notification advising you to maintain a flood insurance policy once FEMA stops paying your premiums. 
  • State and federal officials encourage survivors who already have flood insurance to check with their insurance companies and make sure their premiums are fully paid.
  • FEMA has streamlined its process to better service flood insurance claims and answer questions. You may call 800-621-3362 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and select Option 2. If you use TTY, call 800-462-7585. If you use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 800-621-3362.
  • Call-center staff are available to assist you with information regarding your policy, offer technical flood guidance to aid in recovery, and respond to general as well as complicated questions about the NFIP. FEMA can transfer you to your insurance carrier for additional assistance if you have questions specifically about your insurance claim.

RELATED: FEMA: Despite historic flooding, insurance rates to remain unchanged

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