Top 5 Consumer Tips for Insurance Claims

WARNING: Some policies may have quick reporting deadlines for storm damage. Survey your property, and if you have damage, contact your insurance company NOW to report it. Document everything, including communications with your insurance company. Take photos of any damage and save all receipts. Read your insurance policy so you know your rights. Click here for our Top 5 Consumer Tips for Insurance Claims.
 
The resources on this page are intended for general information purposes only. Individual matters differ, and the information provided is not a substitute for legal advice. If you need legal advice, the State Bar of Texas provides an information service here.

Tips for surviving the storm 

Information on warming centers, agencies helping on the ground, and more.
 
Questions answered such as, "Can I use my dishwasher during a boil water notice?" 
 
Tips on how to boil water to consume for drinking. See also "Make Water Safe."
 
How to use snow and alternative sources of water.
 
Find shelters operated by the Red Cross.
 
Information on warning signs of hypothermia, staying warm dring power outages, and staying safe outside.
 
Find the nearest food, shelter, and water resources near you. 
 
Please check your city, county, or local government's website for more resources, or dial 2-1-1.

What to do if a pipe bursts in your home or business

If a pipe bursts in your home, turn off the water main immediately. Document all damage by taking photos and videos. Report your claim promptly to your insurance company, and save ALL receipts from the damage, including hotel stays, spoiled food, and home repairs in case your policy might reimburse these costs. Read more for advice from Texas Watch's Executive Director and other consumer groups here. 
 
How to shut off your water to save your home or business if your pipes burst. 
 
 
Information on how to file a claim, what to do during a claim, and what to do if you have problems with your claim.
 
How to file a claim, avoid fraud, and other resources. See also: Help after the storm (Texas Department of Insurance)

Other insurance resources

Tips on what to do next if you need to file an insurance claim, find someone to fix your house, and other resources.
 
Resources for insurance guidance.
 
Tips from a hurricane catastrophe, but still relevant for Winter Storm Uri.
 
Information on floods, water leaks, and water damage insurance coverage.
 
Answers to commonly asked questions, like whether your insurance policy will cover a hotel stay. 
 
In 2017, the insurance lobby pushed a bill through the Texas Legislature that lessens penalties if insurers slow pay claims and puts hurdles in front of property owners who are forced to take their insurance company to court due to "deny, delay, underpay" tactics. It was sold as dealing with hail claims and roof damage, but the legislation broadly applies to property damage claims arising from "forces of nature," including snowstorms. Known as the "Blue Tarp Bill," it skews the law in favor of powerful insurance companies. Learn more about how this impacts your rights by clicking here.

Hiring a contractor resources

Our tips for how to avoid scams and fraud when hiring a contractor.
 
Explaining the difference between a contractor that is bonded and insured, and why this matters for repairing your home. 
 
What contractors say that could be red flags of a scam.
 
Tips on how to avoid fraud when hiring a contractor.