David Weekly of David Weekly Homes provides some sound wisdom following this week's Houston's historic floods. The law change is important to note.
"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 house 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 e-mail), 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.
o Remember to take pictures of items in closets, cabinets and even in your refrigerator
6. Once waters have receded (and after initial pictures and videos have been taken):
o Tear out drywall / sheetrock to a height no more than one foot above the water line. If you do not have equipment or ability to do so, punch holes in the damaged section of the wall to allow it to “breathe”
o Pull back carpet and remove padding
o If water did not reach the electrical outlets and all water is out of the house, use fans to dry area
o If you have a second story home you can dry off furniture and move it upstairs (your pictures will show the adjustor that the furniture was in the flood area and will show the insurance company that you tried to reduce the damages)
o If you are not able to move furniture and can get it lifted off the wet floor, it may reduce additional damage. Depending on the weight of the furniture, canned food can be used to lift the furniture off the wet floor.
7. Make a detail inventory of all items in your house 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 inspector
Please stay safe
Thanks David Weekly for caring and sharing.