If you were one of the thousands of people who sustained property damage
after Hurricane Harvey, you likely applied for FEMA assistance. FEMA,
the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is a branch of the U.S. Department
of Homeland Security designed to provide help for citizens in need, especially
in times of crisis. However, before homeowners can receive assistance,
you will likely receive a visit from the FEMA inspector. Before the visit,
make sure you know what to expect and how to prepare for a FEMA inspection.
The goal of a visit with a FEMA inspector is to ascertain whether or not
your home sustained damage from the hurricane. The inspector will evaluate
if you require financial aid, and how much. However, there have been a
number of scam artists preying on FEMA victims by pretending to be FEMA
inspectors. To protect yourself from a potential scam, make sure you ask
the inspector for identification before you reveal any paperwork or provide
a tour of your property.
As a rule of thumb, all inspections by FEMA are free. So, if an inspector
asks you for money, he or she is most likely a scam artist. Inspectors
will also not ask for any of your bank account numbers, social security
numbers, or other sensitive information not pertaining to your property.
FEMA will already have this information from when you originally requested
aid and therefore will have no reason to ask for it again.
If you suspect you have had a run-in with a fake inspector, call FEMA at
Once you have confirmed the identity of your FEMA inspector, you should
be prepared to show him or her the property. In order to assist the inspector
in this process, it’s also a good idea to have any legal documents
associated with your property on-hand. This includes proof of home ownership,
which can consist of tax bills, utility bills, or a mortgage payment book.
You might also have copies of documents assessing the damage your home
sustained, which can also help the FEMA inspector.
It is also possible other agencies may visit you to follow-up after the
FEMA inspector. If a government agent comes to the door, either with local
or state authority, always ask for photo identification before allowing
them to obtain any information from you or your family.
After inspections have been completed, FEMA will send you a letter outlining
the details of your home’s damage as well as the benefits you are
entitled to receive. If you disagree with the inspection and feel you
should receive more assistance than the FEMA inspection detailed, you
may have the option to file an appeal.
For a free consultation with our Midland property damage attorneys, contact Dean Law Firm.