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Checklist to Protect Yourself in the Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey Flooding, Releases From the Barker Cypress Addicks Reservoirs

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Checklist to Protect Yourself in the Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey Flooding, Releases From the Barker Cypress Addicks Reservoirs, and the San Jacinto River and Lake Conroe flooding. #HoustonStrong

As we recover in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, it is important to gather information regarding how to protect yourself in the claims process. Here are a few pointers to help you along the way.

The following is the beginning of a checklist prepared to assist you in protecting yourself in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey flooding, as well as the releases from the Barker Cypress Addicks reservoirs, and the San Jacinto River and Lake Conroe flooding.

Keep good records and document your losses to substantiate your claim.

It is critical that you be able to substantiate your claim. There are essentially two ways to do this: (1) through your own testimony as to what occurred, what was lost and what its value is; or (2) documents that demonstrate what was lost and what its value is.

You can document your claim by keeping good records of the items you own. This can be done by having a video done of the things in your house. You can also take photographs. Be sure to take advantage of angles and features of you camera to gather as much perspective on the loss as possible. This can mean taking close up pictures, far away pictures, and medium distance pictures. Since most amateur photography is done today via smart phone, this can be done economically. With video, concentrate your footage by panning around the property. Make comments when walking the property. Make sure to say the date and approximate time of when the video was taken, your name, and anyone else that is a witness. Use things for reference to show extent of the damages and the height of the water level. Eventually, you will be filing a Proof of Loss, and this helps you substantiate your claim.

Notify your insurance carrier for damage to your home caused by wind and rain. Notify FEMA and/or your "write your own" insurance company for damage caused by flooding.

No matter the type of insurance you have (property, vehicle, business interruption), contact your insurance company immediately, and start the claims process. Many insurance companies allow you to start the process online. Be sure so "screen shot" any and all submissions made online to the insurance company. Keep track of all documents sent and received from your insurance company, as these will be critical in the event you have to proceed in litigation.

Document all conversations and interactions with anyone involved or affiliated with the insurance company. This includes adjusters, contractors, appraisers or anyone else acting on the insurance company's behalf.

Whenever you speak to your insurance company, take down the phone number you called, the person you spoke with (name and employee number – basically as much as the person will tell you), the time you spoke with that person, what was said, and any status update you were provided. Ask for a fax number or email so that you can send a follow up fax or email with each person with whom you communicate. Outline the each conversation you have via telephone or in person. Keep a running notebook or electronic word processing document and be as detailed as possible in recording what is happened and what is said. Keep all written and/or electronic communications.

Do not rely on any insurance company to do it for you. Assume that every single time you talk to someone, they have no idea what has happened. Make sure to put your name, damaged property address, and policy number on every communication. Also, make sure to put your phone number and email (and if you have a semi-permanent place you are staying on each communication so that the company can get a hold of you.

Contacting your insurer and/or FEMA to file a claim.

Similarly, whenever you speak to FEMA make sure to take down the phone number you called, the person you spoke with (name and employee number – basically as much as the person will tell you), the time you spoke with the person, what was said, and any status update you were provided. Ask for a fax number or email so that you can send a follow up fax or email. Store all policy numbers and electronic and written communications in a safe and permanent place.

Ascertain where you can receive assistance and seek it out where necessary.

There are numerous sources of assistance available. In addition to municipal, Stateand federal assistance, there are non-profit organizations and religious organizations that also provide assistance. These organizations can be critical in not only preparing and filing your claim, but seeking assistance in cleanup and reconstruction efforts.

Murr Yanochik, P.L.L.C. continues to investigate and gather information regarding the flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey and are working to assist our friends, families, and neighbors and to protect their rights. If you or a family member were impacted by the flooding caused by the release of water from the Barker and Cypress reservoir levees, as well as the Lake Conroe dam and the San Jacinto River, then we would ask that you contact us immediately through this website or by calling our offices.

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