Claims for Property Damages


If you own or lease property that was damaged by an oil spill, you may submit a property claim. There are two types of property damage.

  • Real property damage is injury to or economic losses resulting from destruction of land or buildings. (If you want to claim a loss of property value because of the spill, you must actually sell the property before you can submit the claim.)
  • Personal property damage is injury to or economic losses resulting from damages to other types property you own or lease besides real property.

For information on boat damage (a subset of property damage), see Claims for Property Damages to Boats.

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Examples of Property Damage Claims

Real Property Damage - You own waterfront property that was oiled by an OPA incident. You may have a claim for the cost of restoring your property to its pre-spill condition; or, if you sell the property, you may submit a claim for the difference between its assessment before the spill and the lower price you received for it after the spill.

Personal Property Damage - You may submit a claim for the cost of cleaning or replacing fishing tackle, equipment, or clothing that was oiled during a spill.

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Claim Requirements

To be valid, a property damage claim must meet the following requirements:

  • You must be able to prove the damage was caused by an oil spill that falls under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. (See the General OPA Claims Requirements page for more information.)
    • Oil must have caused the damage.
    • The damage must come about as a result of a discharge or substantial threat of discharge of oil.
    • The discharge or substantial threat of discharge must be to a navigable water of the United States.
    • The discharge or substantial threat of discharge must come from a vessel or facility.
  • You must prove that your property damage was caused by the spill and that the amount you are claiming is appropriate:
    • Show that you owned or leased the property at the time of the spill.
    • Show that the property was injured or destroyed as the result of the spill.
    • Show the value of the property both before and after the spill.
    • Show the cost to repair or replace the property.
    • If you lost money by selling real property after the spill, prove the property's loss in value using verifiable property values before and after the spill.
  • You must show that you have presented your claim to the responsible party of the spill, unless that party is not known or unless the NPFC has advertised for claims.
  • The claim must be for a sum certain (specific dollar amount).
  • You must submit the claim within three years of the date the damage was reasonably discoverable.
  • You must submit the claim in writing and sign it.

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Examples of Supporting Documentation

You must provide evidence that supports your claim, and you can use whatever documentation you believe best supports that claim. Listed below are examples of documentation often submitted with property damage claims:

  • Photographs
  • Reports from local, State, or Federal agencies
  • Invoices and receipts
  • Proof of ownership (titles, deeds, etc.)
  • Affidavits or witness statements
  • Property appraisals
  • Lease or rental agreements for substitute property
  • Any other documentation you feel supports your claim

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How to Submit Your Claim

  1. Develop a document or complete the Optional Claims form that describes your claim, including the dollar amount you are claiming, and sign the document in ink.
  2. Attach supporting documentation, such as those listed above.
  3. Mail your claims package to the NPFC.

WASHINGTON DC 20593-7605