HURRICANE HARVEY FAQs

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  1. HOW AND WHEN SHOULD I FILE MY INSURANCE CLAIM?

    You should file a property damage insurance claim as soon as you discover damage. New laws affecting Texas weather-related claims went into effect on September 1st, 2017. Any claims filed after August 31st will be under the new law. The new law, HB 1774, reduces your protection and remedies against the insurance company should they deny your claim or drag their feet in processing and paying valid claims.

    File with every property insurance company you have. Flood insurance is sold separately from your homeowner’s policy. Property owners along the Texas coast may have an additional policy with the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association. The new insurance law only applies in the State of Texas and only applies to certain types of weather-related claims. Read more…


  2. HOW AND WHEN SHOULD I INSPECT MY PROPERTY?

    If you have been displaced, do NOT return to your property until local authorities have declared the area safe.  Potential dangers include downed power lines, broken gas lines, debris, standing water, snakes, electrical risks, and shifting earth.

    • – In Texas call 3-1-1 to find out if it is safe to return to your home or business
    • – If you smell gas in the air, leave the area immediately and report it to the authorities
    • – If you have suffered water damage or other damage to your roof, walls, or foundation, contact an electrician before flipping any switches
    • – Only if it is safe and appropriate to do so, use tarps to cover holes or belongings in your home or building to prevent further damage

  3. WHERE CAN I GO FOR SHELTER?

    For an updated list of shelters in the Houston/Harris County area contact the Houston Emergency Operations Center..  For shelter information in Louisiana, contact the Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. Check back because new shelters are being added as needed.


  4. HOW SHOULD I COMMUNICATE WITH MY INSURANCE COMPANY?

    It is always best to communicate with your insurance company in writing to avoid any dispute as to when you communicated and what was said.  This could be by email, fax, online (be sure to print a copy), or certified mail (return receipt requested).  Written documentation is not always possible, especially in situations like natural disasters.  If you speak to your insurance company on the phone, or in person, write down what was said and who said it.  Keep this in your personal records.  Once you are able to, send a follow-up email to the insurance company confirming the conversation.  Keep copies of everything together in your personal file.


  5. HOW DO I GET IMMEDIATE HELP FOR FOOD, CLOTHING, EVACUATION/TRANSPORTATION ASSISTANCE, OR OTHER IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE?

  6. HOW DO I GET ASSISTANCE FROM FEMA?

    The federal government has issued a disaster proclamation for the areas affected by Hurricane Harvey. This means that some non-insurance related assistance will be available.  If your house is flooded, please register with FEMA immediately, especially if you do not have insurance coverage.  You may be eligible for some immediate financial assistance.

    • – Go to DisasterAssistance.gov to register for FEMA disaster assistance, or call 1-800-621-3362, or TTY 800-462-7585
    • – Be prepared to provide Social Security number (may not be required), type of insurance coverage you have, your family’s gross total household income at the time of the Hurricane; your contact information, and your bank information if you want funds sent to you by direct deposit.
    • – The application process should take about 20 minutes

  7. HOW AND WHERE CAN I DONATE MONEY TO HELP VICTIMS OF HURRICANE HARVEY?

    There are many ways to donate money.  Here are just a few:

    • – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and County Judge Ed Emmett have established the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund and are accepting donations through the Greater Houston Community Foundation
    • – GoFundMe has set up a Direct Impact Fund, where your tax-deductible donation will go directly to support individuals with verified campaigns on GoFundMe.
    • – The Salvation Army is collecting donations online and by phone at 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769). You can also text STORM to 51555.
    • Austin Pets Alive! and Houston’s Friends for Life, a model for the no-kill shelter movement, are taking in-kind donations and, in some cases, looking for people to volunteer and foster animals. Also accepting donations is The Wildlife Center of Texas, saving and rehabilitating rescued wildlife in and around Houston.