Texas & Louisiana Facing Severe Weather- Here’s How to Prepare

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Insurers offer precautionary measures to prepare your property ahead of heavy rains

AUSTIN, Texas- With heavy rain expected to accompany the tropical system approaching the Texas and Louisiana coasts, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) encourages residents in the area to listen to emergency officials and take precautionary actions.

“Preparing your home, business, or vehicle before severe weather hits is extremely critical and can help expedite the recovery and rebuild process,” said Joe Woods, PCI’s vice president of state government relations.

Here are the four most important steps residents should take to prepare for flooding and other dangerous conditions:

  1. Check with your insurer to see if you have flood insurance since flood damage is not covered by the standard homeowners policy and there is a 30-day waiting period before flood coverage goes into effect.  If you do not have flood insurance, coverage can be purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program.
  2. Create an inventory of the contents in your home or business, which can easily be documented with a smart phone.
  3. Make sure to have your insurance company’s phone number handy should your home, business or automobile be damaged.
  4. If your home is near water or in a low-lying area, prepare to seek higher ground.

“Should your property have any damages due to weather events, take photos and videos of the damage, and don’t forget to save your receipts. Your insurer will help you with the claims process,” added Woods.  

Severe Weather Checklist

Prepare your Property

  • Review your property insurance policy, especially the “declarations” page, and check whether your policy pays replacement costs, or actual cash value for a covered loss.
  • Inventory your household items, and photograph or videotape them for further documentation. Keep this information and your insurance policies in a safe place.
  • Keep the name, address, and claims-reporting telephone number of your insurer and agent in a safe and easily accessible place.
  • Protect your property by covering all windows with plywood or shutters, moving vehicles into the garage when possible and placing grills and patio furniture indoors.
  • Keep all receipts for any repairs so your insurance company can reimburse you.
  • Check with your insurance adjuster for referrals to professional restoration, cleaning and salvage companies if additional assistance is needed.

In the Event Flooding Occurs:

  • Call your insurance company or agent first before signing any documents with a third-party vendor.
  • Shovel or scrape mud off walls, floors and furniture, then hose from the ceiling down before the mud dries.
  • To prevent mold and odors, clean walls and floors with diluted chlorine bleach.
  • Electricity and water make for a dangerous combination. Take the proper precautions to avoid electric shock.
  • Use public water only after it has been declared safe by an authorized official.

Recovering from flooding is always a challenging task but there are resources available to help consumers. The Federal Emergency Management Agency can be contacted at 800-621-3362 or www.fema.gov and consumers who have flood insurance policies through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) can contact either their flood insurance agent or the NFIP itself at (888) 379-9531 or www.floodsmart.gov.

The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) member company Toll-Free Policyholder Claim Phone Numbers.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) can be contacted at 800-621-3362 or www.fema.gov 

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