Federal officials are giving Texans more time to assess the damage to their property so they can file insurance claims after the deadly flooding that recently devastated some parts of the state. 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency on Thursday granted flood insurance policyholders six more months to file a proof of loss, a formal statement that the insurer then uses to determine how much it owes the insured. Under the National Flood Insurance Program, policyholders normally have 60 days to submit a proof of loss; FEMA is now offering them 240 days, stretching the period of eligibility into January of next year.

"We anticipate that this additional 180-day extension will allow policyholders time to present their claims. FEMA will continue to monitor claim activity to determine whether further extensions may be warranted," Brad Kieserman, FEMA's deputy associate administrator for insurance, wrote in a bulletin issued by the agency.

Kieserman acknowledged policyholders may face unusual challenges in taking stock of their property following the flooding, which stemmed from what FEMA described as "torrential rains beginning May 16." For example, many buildings covered by the National Flood Insurance Program may still be hard to reach due to high water, he wrote.

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FEMA underwrites the National Flood Insurance Program, which has roughly 603,000 policies in effect in Texas. That is a small fraction of the number of households in the state: more than 115 million. 

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