Flood and storm damage are life -changing events. The impact on communities and individuals is profound and should be recognized as such.
Dealing with the unknown after a flood event requires proper planning and having a long-term objective in mind.
Having a positive mindset and setting realistic and achievable goals on a daily basis from the earliest opportunity is the key to coming out of the event with as few emotional and financial scars as possible.
Our blueprint for Krav Maga is well known and should be applied to your response to a flood event, to refresh or inform for the un-initiated, we say:
- Address the danger
- Counter attack as soon as possible
- Control, and
- Finish the Fight
With this in mind I offer the following as sound advice as your first steps how to proceed after you and your family are no longer in any physical danger from the storm.
- If you have flood insurance, you must notify your insurance provider within 60 days of the flood damage. The National Flood Insurance Program has a step-by-step guide on how to file your flood claim. Click here to access that page.
- Take steps to minimize further damage. Only make repairs necessary to protect your home and property from further damage, such as covering broken windows and holes to keep rain out and prevent theft. Don’t make permanent repairs until instructed by your insurance company. Save all repair receipts and document all efforts you make to reduce the damage to your home and your contents.
- If you have a Windstorm Policy with the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association, call 877-281-1431 (English) or 866-443-3144 (Spanish) to begin the process of filing your claim. That line is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You have one year from the date of the damage to file your claim.
- Even if you don’t have flood insurance, you may have some coverage from your homeowner’s policy. Deadlines vary by insurance company, so it is in your best interest to contact your agent or company as soon as you are aware of the damage. Tornado damage should be covered. Your homeowner’s policy may cover things like:
a. Roof damage from a tree hitting your home
b. Water damage from rain entering your home if your roof or windows were damaged in the storm.
c. Living expenses to cover hotels, food, or other expenses if you were ordered to evacuate
d. Spoilage of food due to power outages.
If you have uninsured losses (like floods without flood insurance), you may be eligible for help from the Federal Government. Apply at DisasterAssistance.gov even if you have flood insurance to find out if you can get additional help from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency)
- Homeowners, renters, and small businesses may be eligible for a disaster loan program through the U.S. Small Business Administration.
- When the insurance company’s adjuster inspects the damage, walk around with them to make sure they don’t miss anything. You might want to have your contractor or builder with you to discuss estimates or technical specifications with the adjuster or your insurance company.
- If you think your insurance company has treated you unfairly, you can file a complaint with the Texas Department of Insurance, either by using their online form or calling their Help Line at 800-252-3439.
An event like Hurricane Harvey is one that will take months if not years to recover from so plan that way by developing a list of objectives, a timeline with milestones, and micro-goals to keep you on track.
Additional strategies on how to deal with your insurance adjuster and the remediation and repair process will follow in future updates.