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FEMA Assistance May Supplement Insurance for Tennessee Residents

  • Synopsis: Published: 2011-06-11 - To find out if they qualify survivors must file a claim with their insurance company and also register with FEMA - FEMA.

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Survivors of the recent severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds and flooding could be eligible for FEMA disaster assistance even if they are insured.

Some may mistakenly believe they are ineligible for such assistance. In fact, they may be able to get help with disaster-related expenses that insurance does not cover. To find out if they qualify, survivors must file a claim with their insurance companies and also register with FEMA.

"We want everyone who is eligible for assistance to receive help as soon as possible," stated Tennessee Emergency Management Agency Director Jim Bassham. "Even if you are insured, don't miss out on possible federal disaster recovery funds. Register now and you will be informed if you qualify for one or more of the disaster programs that are helping survivors recover."

FEMA may be able to provide assistance when: Insurance settlements are delayed. Settlements are insufficient to cover eligible property damage or other essential disaster-related needs, such as medical and dental expenses and lost personal possessions. A survivor's insurance does not provide any alternative living expenses, or such expenses are needed for a longer period than insurance covers. In this case, the applicant may qualify for rental assistance.

"Call to register now," advised Federal Coordinating Officer W. Montague Winfield. "Then call FEMA again after you receive your insurance settlement to update your information."

To register or get help from FEMA, survivors should call the Helpline, 800-621-FEMA (3362) from 7 AM to 10 PM local time. The TTY number is 800-462-7585. Or go online to or

Everyone who registers will receive a letter from FEMA. It may explain that applicants have been deemed ineligible for assistance because FEMA cannot duplicate insurance coverage.

These letters do not necessarily mean a case is closed. Sometimes people do not qualify for federal help right away. But this may change if insurance information and further documents are submitted.

Those with questions about a FEMA letter may call the Helpline at the above number or visit a Disaster Recovery Center.

Applicants also should contact their insurance companies and ask for settlement letters detailing exactly what is covered under their claims. Insurance information can be mailed to FEMA, Individuals & Households Program, National Processing Service Center, P.O. Box 10055, Hyattsville, MD 20782-7055. The fax number is 800-827-8112.

Applicants should be sure to include their FEMA registration numbers when they send this documentation.

People have one year from the date they register with FEMA to submit insurance information for review.

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 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.

FEMA's housing assistance and Other Needs Assistance grants for medical, dental, and funeral expenses do not require individuals to apply for an SBA loan. However, applicants who receive SBA loan applications must submit them to SBA loan officers to be considered for assistance that covers personal property, vehicle repair or replacement, and moving and storage expenses. Applicants who do not qualify for a SBA loan may be eligible to receive Other Needs Assistance grants for these items.

Related Information:

  1. Tennessee Disaster Assistance Facts
  2. Tennessee Disaster Applicants Urged to Take Charge of Their Recovery

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