We are truly sorry for your situation and for all of the families in Houston who have and are continuing to suffer. We are currently working with numerous nonprofits that are assisting our neighbors and would direct you to reach out to a relief organization in your area.
If you have received flooding, we suggest you follow these important steps:
1. Turn off electricity to your home or at a minimum to outlets and other flooded areas of your home (do not stand in water to do so!).
2. “Get in line” with your insurance provider by filing a claim via telephone and internet as soon as possible. Depending on the damage your home has sustained, we recommend that you notify your insurance agent as well as file claims directly with your homeowner’s insurance policy provider, your flood insurance provider and automobile insurance provider.
3. Consider notifying your insurance company of your claim or potential claim on or prior to Thursday, August 31, 2017. Effective Friday, September 1, 2017, a new law under House Bill 1774 takes effect that governs Texas insurance claims. While this law was passed to prevent lawsuit abuse, there are differences in this new law that could affect Texas policyholders who suffer claims involving “forces of nature.” It is best to (1) file claims in writing (which includes email), and (2) advise the insurance company of the facts relating to the claim. Make sure that the claim notice is dated before September 1, 2017, and keep a copy of the notice. Furthermore, filing a generic claim is sufficient and you should not worry about the details of the claim, especially if it is not safe to take pictures of the damage.
4. “Get in line” with FEMA. Whether your home was covered by flood insurance or not, we recommend that you apply for FEMA disaster assistance at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or m.fema.gov, or call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362.
5. Take photos of all damaged areas and items BEFORE attempting any remediation. Videos are great, too.
6. Once waters have receded (and after initial pictures and videos have been taken):
7. Make a detail inventory of all items in your home that have been damaged or that were affected by the water.
8. Take reasonable steps to protect your property from further damage. Save receipts for what you spend and submit them to your insurance company for reimbursement.
9. Permanent repairs should not be made until after you have met with the insurance or FEMA inspectors.
We hope that you and your family are safe and remain so as we all work to recover from this storm.