Houston, you are hurting. We’ve suffered flood damage as well, though not nearly to the extent some of you may be currently experiencing. The following was written by a close personal friend of ours who is also a three-time Houston flood damage victim. Not a club you want to be a part of.
First, you WILL get through this and you will see the beauty of your neighbors through support and love. Not that that makes anything better right now, but Houston will shine, and Harvey won’t keep us down forever. Here’s what to do in the meantime:
- Call your insurance company now and make a flood claim, NOT a homeowner’s claim. Ask if you have permission to start tearing up carpet and walls once water has receded and risk of future flooding has dissipated. Take before pictures.
- Don’t forget to claim your automobiles. They will be a separate claim from your home. Please note that as of Sept 1, 2017, the laws in Texas governing insurance companies is changing. Please file ALL claims before that date where possible.
- Call FEMA (800-621-3362) and be sure to get a case number and point of contact. You can also visit https://www.disasterassistance.gov/
- Call a water recovery place and get on a list. Make sure you sign a contract that specifies the cost of the remediation because many people were screwed previously.
- Once you are able, go straight to a rental car company. The cars will go fast because there will be such a high demand.
- TAKE PICTURES OF EVERYTHING! Document all damage including water lines, air conditioner compressors, windows, ALL flooded “content” (i.e. your possessions).
- If you are on a terribly long list for recovery, start to pull up carpets and cut dry wall to 4 ft. Put that soggy stuff on the curbside. If you can obtain blowers from a home store, do it. Regular fans won’t cut it and aren’t worth even trying. If you can turn on your A/C do it — it will help the drying process.
- Plan for a place to live in the meantime (you may get some assistance or money for this from FEMA, but it will not cover all your expenses). If you have the resources, pay yourself for the repairs so you can be back home sooner and save some rent money. Houston Apartment Insiders will be happy to help you try and find an apartment, but other avenues are available as well.
- MANY remodeling companies/people will be contacting you. PLEASE check Angie’s List or something similar and make sure they are reputable. Many people will attempt to take your money. Our experience is to NOT use a private adjuster; they are very convincing but will take a cut of your insurance money and aren’t really worth it.