FEMA Extends Grace Period for Flood Insurance Renewals

March 30, 2020

The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that it’s extending its grace period for homeowners to renew flood insurance policies to 120 days. Typically, FEMA allows a 30-day grace period to renew policies through the National Flood Insurance Program to help customers avoid a lapse in coverage. But FEMA’s unprecedented step to extend that period comes in response to the coronavirus pandemic. “The extension will allow additional time for policyholders who may be struggling financially to pay insurance premiums and ensure their policies are not canceled for nonpayment of premium due to circumstances beyond their control,” FEMA said in a statement.

Federal law requires the purchase of flood insurance for a federally backed mortgage in special flood hazard areas designated by FEMA. The NFIP provides insurance coverage to 22,000 communities across the country and protects property owners against losses from flooding, which is the most common and costly natural disaster in the U.S.

Under FEMA’s new guidelines, if a homeowner’s policy has an expiration date between Feb. 13 and June 15 of this year, they have 120 days from that expiration date to renew their policy and avoid a lapse in coverage. Further, if the policyholder receives an underpayment notice during the same time period, they have 120 days from receipt of the notice to make an additional premium payment, FEMA notes.

Any policyholders who need extra time beyond the 120-day extension can contact their agent or insurer to ask about additional options. Also, FEMA has published its Office of External Affairs Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs Division’s contact information for any further questions on the matter: 202-646-3444, FEMA-IGA@fema.dhs.gov.