Hurricane Harvey – Steps for Texans to secure the safety of themselves and their property
The thoughts and prayers of the Texas Coalition of Affordable Insurance Solutions and our member companies are with Texans devastated by Hurricane Harvey.
In the aftermath of the storm, Texans should take the following steps to secure the safety of themselves and their property:
- Above all, secure the safety of yourself and your family – saving or protecting your property is not worth risking lives.
- If you must evacuate – and can do so safely – gather and take important documents that will help with your recovery, such as insurance policies, mortgage documents and auto titles.
- Take pictures of your property damage – inside and out – if it is safe to do so.
- If you do suffer damage, contact your insurance agent or company as soon as possible. For help with company information, the Texas Department of Insurance has a Company Lookup or you can call TDI’s Consumer Help Line at 1-800-252-3439.
- For additional resources on recovery after a storm, TDI provides valuable information and resources.
Even as Hurricane Harvey continues to impact the state, reports of unscrupulous actions by some lawyers, adjustors, contractors and others already are being reported. The Texas Legislature in recent years has strengthened consumer protections to safeguard Texans impacted by catastrophe from being victimized by opportunists who would prevent consumers from getting their insurance claims adjusted and settled as fairly and quickly as possible. See joint statement on effects of HB 1774.
As Texans begin to rebuild, they also should be on alert for fraud, from price gouging to shoddy repairs to contractors who abscond with money without providing repairs. To report suspected insurance fraud, call TDI’s Consumer Help Line at 1-800-252-3439.
TDI offers these tips when hiring a contractor for home repairs:
- Call your insurance company first. Your insurance company can give you advice on what repairs should cost.
- Use local companies. Make sure to check their references and phone numbers.
- Get written estimates. These should be on the company’s letterhead with clear contact information.
- Get more than one bid. This will help you decide which offers are legitimate and which may be too high or too good to be true.
- Do not pay for repairs up front. Good contractors will typically require a partial payment up front to get started, but your final payment should be made after the job is finished.
- If you feel pressured or threatened, call the police.