Hurricane Laura Heading Your Way?

Hurricane Satellite Photo
August 25, 2020

Hurricane Laura Heading Your Way?

Here’s what you need to know.

For years we’ve represented thousands of people, families, and businesses in the greater Houston area and across the United States on property damage claims against their insurance companies following major catastrophic storms.  We are here to help you weather this storm too.  

Here are our top tips on what you can do to protect your property and yourself before Hurricane Laura makes landfall.

  1. Stay informed.  
    • Monitor any approaching storms at National Hurricane Center.  Follow the advice from authorities in your area.  You may be in a mandatory evacuation zone or you may choose to evacuate to avoid power and water outages and dealing with the aftermath of the storm. Either way, stay informed, and make your decision early. Don’t wait until it is too late and bad weather is already here.  
  2. Prepare Your Home 
    • Remove damaged trees and limbs.
    • Secure lose rain gutters, downspouts, windows and doors, including the garage doors.
    • Check all surge protectors or unplug sensitive electronics.
    • Close storm shutters.
    • Turn your refrigerator or freezer to the coldest setting so food will last longer if there’s a power outage.
    • Bring any outdoor furniture indoors. 
  3. Plan the Basics
    • Know your evacuation route.
    • Fill up your car with gas.
    • Purchase extra gas if you have a generator.
    • Make a disaster supply kit including a flashlight, batteries, cash, first aid supplies, medications, a battery operated or hand-crank radio.
    • Gather critical documents like identification, health insurance cards, car insurance cards, passports, wills, insurance policies, and any important contact information.
    • Stock up on supplies like water, non-perishable food, pet food, and medications.  You never know how long you could be without power or access to a store.  Be sure to get enough essentials to last you and your family several days.
    • Charge your portable electronic devices, including phones, laptop computers, and digital cameras.
  4. Take photos.
    • Take photos or video of the interior and exterior of your home to document the pre-storm condition of your home. Whether you are evacuating or not, take 10-15 minutes and take photos of the interior and exterior of your home.  This just takes a few minutes, but could prove to be very valuable evidence after a storm when submitting an insurance claim. 
    • Be sure to snap a photo or each room and around the exterior of your home.  We recommend taking video too.   If you have damage due to the storm, be sure to document all damage with photos and video as soon as it is safe to enter the property.  
  5. Make Sure You’re Covered
    • Review your current home and business insurance policies to ensure that you have adequate windstorm coverage as well as flood insurance.
    • Most standard homeowners insurance policies do NOT cover property damage caused by a flood.   With all of the flooding throughout the U.S. in recent years, it is a good idea to carry flood insurance.
    • If your home or property is damaged and you need to make an insurance claim, make sure you educate yourself on the process and your rights under your insurance policies.
    • For Hurricane claims, click here: Tips to Manage the Insurance Claim Process
    • For Flood claims, click here: Flood Insurance Claim Do’s and Dont’s
  6. What to do During the Storm
    • Remain inside at all times, even if the storm seems calm. Storm conditions can change or worsen quickly.
    • Shut all interior doors and stay away from windows and glass doors.
    • Seek shelter in an interior hallway, bathroom, or closet on the lowest level of your house or under something sturdy, like a well-constructed table.
  7. What to do After the Storm
    • Listen to local officials for updates and instructions.
    • Check in with family and friends by texting or using social media, like Facebook’s new disaster safety, check in site.
    • Stay away from debris and downed power lines.
    • Avoid walking or driving through flood waters. If you must, grab some tall rain boots or waders. Flood waters are often contaminated.
    • Photograph all damage to your property to document any insurance claim.
    • File a claim with your insurance company for damages caused by the storm.
    • For Hurricane damage claims, click here: Tips to Manage the Insurance Claim Process
    • For Flood damage claims, click here: My Home Flooded. Now What?
  8. Know Your Resources

HURRICANE HANNA DAMAGE? NOW WHAT?

July 28, 2020

HURRICANE HANNA DAMAGE? NOW WHAT?

HOW TO HANDLE A WINDSTORM INSURANCE CLAIM

As many Texas residents assess the damage caused by Hurricane Hanna that made landfall on the Texas Gulf Coast over the weekend, they will need to familiarize themselves with the homeowner’s or business owner’s insurance claim process. This process can be confusing and failure to follow proper procedures can result in your claim being denied or underpaid.

Unfortunately, insurance companies and their adjusters are not in the business of paying out claims. Generally, insurance company adjusters are trained to resolve claims for the smallest amount possible or deny the claims outright if they can find an exclusion under the policy.  If you or someone you know was affected, be sure to review the following steps before contacting your insurance company to file a claim.

Read and review your entire homeowner’s insurance policy including any endorsements and amendments.

Do not agree to be recorded over the phone. Do not agree to provide a recorded or sworn statement over the phone. Ask to provide one in person or in writing. Consider consulting with an attorney first. PUBLIC ADJUSTERS ARE NOT ATTORNEYS.

Communicate in writing if you can. Try to make sure most of your communication is in writing. If you have a phone conversation follow it up with an email or a fax.

Create a detailed list and notes of everything lost or damaged. Create a list of all damaged property including any personal items. Please make sure to include the brand name, model, and as accurate of a description as possible of all claimed items. Include everything no matter how small.

Document all damages. Don’t only photograph the damage, but also make sure every photograph is either time stamped or logged with the date and time it was taken.

Witnesses are important. Create a list of each person who witnessed the losses and can testify to how the losses occurred. This includes the names of any contractors or other employees who performed repairs.

Keep a log of contact with your insurance company. Take down the first and last name of every person you speak to from your insurance company, the date you spoke to them, and what you spoke to them about.

Gather your past records. If possible gather records any previous repairs or inspections of your home. This will make it more difficult for the insurance company to claim the damage was preexisting or unrelated.

As attorneys representing home and business owners, we have seen the damage, devastation, and disruptions that hurricanes and storms can cause. We have represented thousands of clients against insurance companies that have tried to avoid and delay payment for legitimate losses our clients have incurred.Do you have property damage related to Hurricane Hannah? We focus on representing the policyholder and making sure you are treated fairly. Contact us today to discuss your claim or if you have any questions. Please use our Free Case Evaluation Form below or call us at 800-400-4000