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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