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The first thing you should do if your home is damaged by severe weather

What do you do if you have damage from a hurricane or storm? Document, document, document!

HOUSTON — If your property was damaged during a recent storm, like Hurricane Nicholas, the first step is to file a claim.

You need to call your insurance company as soon as possible. The company will want to know about the damage, so document as much as you can with photos and videos.

Keep a record of everyone you talk to

The Texas Department of Insurance also recommends you keep a record of everyone you talked to, ask about an advance payment to get repairs started and ask about living expenses if you can’t stay in the home. You should also be there when the adjuster comes out so you can point out all damage.

Get multiple bids

While the insurance company is working on its response to your claim, you should get multiple bids from contractors so you know if the insurance payout is fair. If it’s not or you got denied, you can try to negotiate with your insurance company OR contact TDI

While you’re going through all that, you can make temporary repairs, but you will have to get clearance from your insurance company before anything permanent is done. 

Avoid the scammers

This part is also tricky because after a disaster, scammers try to take advantage of storm victims with contracting scams. Some general rules:

  • Don’t sign anything before you get an estimate.
  • Don’t sign a contract with blank sections.
  • Don’t let a contractor try to tell you they’ll waive your deductible or work it into the bid. That’s illegal.
  • Don’t pay the full amount up front.

TDI has a whole lot more about all of this on its website.