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4 important tasks to do before the next Houston storm

Our KPRC 2 Investigates team hears people’s most common problems after a big storm, from fraud to insurance complaints.

There are some things you can check now to make sure you are ready before storms hit, that will hopefully save you from a lot of trouble.

KPRC 2 Investigator Amy Davis explains the four things you can get in order now to be ready:

#1 Check your homeowner’s insurance policy

(Copyright 2024 by KPRC Click2Houston – All rights reserved.)

See what the deductible is and if you have coverage for things like hotel rooms if you need to leave your home.

  • Take pictures and inventory all of the items in your home. If you get damaged, you can prove what you once owned and include it in your insurance claim.

  • And remember, if you have to make purchases after a storm, save all of your receipts… You may be able to get a refund later.

#2 Consider flood insurance

Even if you do have homeowners’ insurance, it won’t cover flooding from hurricanes — you will need a separate flood policy for that.

You do have more options now than in the past years. Flood insurance is set by FEMA and at a much higher rate.

Private flood insurance options may be good for you, but you need to do your homework.

“It doesn’t always work out better to go private flood. If you’re in an area that’s a high-risk flood area, your private flood numbers are going to be huge. But if you’re a low-risk flood area, farther away from the flood zones, sometimes you can get a much lower rate with private flood insurance,” said Jessica Fuentes with Brazos Insurance Agency. “Another benefit of private flood insurance is that they go higher. So, if your home is worth $300,000, the maximum FEMA coverage you can get is still only $250k for your building. With private flood, some people want 100% replacement cost and if it’s worth $300, they can purchase the $300.”

Private flood insurance is often immediately available. With FEMA flood insurance, you have to wait 30 days for it to take effect.

RELATED: Private vs FEMA flood insurance = more details on both

#3 Organize important documents, including digital documents

As more things become digital, you may not have as many “important documents” to store in a waterproof container. You’ll want to put things like birth certificates and passports someplace safe.

  • Take screenshots of important documents just in case the internet is not working.

  • Download insurance company apps now so you are ready to communicate with them if needed.

#4 Check out the trees on your property

Crews work to remove a tree from the roof of a home in the Oaks Forest neighborhood of Northwest Houston after a tornado and straight-line winds moved through SE Texas on May 16, 2024. (Copyright 2024 by KPRC Click2Houston – All rights reserved.)

Another big question we get after big storms is about trees down and who is responsible for paying for the damage. If the tree was healthy before the storm and high winds caused it to fall over and damage your property, you cannot hold your neighbor liable. This was an “act of God.”

However, if the tree was diseased or in a dangerous condition before the disaster, you can hold them liable for damages. The neighbor was negligent in maintaining the tree.

Home insurance generally covers this type of damage. Check your trees now and get any bad or loose limbs cleaned up.

Email me at AskAmy@kprc.com if you have any questions.

Copyright 2024 by KPRC Click2Houston – All rights reserved.

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