Houston storm: How to apply for food replacement costs after storm

Many people had a lot of food go bad in their refrigerators and freezers while the power was out after the storms. With grocery prices high, it's an expensive loss.

But many may be able to recoup up to $500 to replace it.

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The first thing I want you to do is check your homeowner's or renter's insurance policy.  You may be covered for up to $500 to replace it through homeowner's or renter's insurance.  

"It can't just be because the power is out. Your home really, in most cases, has to be uninhabitable," said Richard Johnsont of the Insurance Council of Texas. "This could be that you had to eat out because you couldn't get back into your home."

Check the front page of your policy for words like "refrigerated property," "food endorsement," or ALE, Additional Living Expenses. Then check the terms.

SUGGESTED: Texas SNAP recipients can apply for replacement benefits after storms

Take pictures, find receipts, take an inventory of the items that expired in your freezer and fridge. Remember food in the freezer only lasts up to 48 hours if you don't open the door. And food that sits in the fridge at more than 42 degrees for more than four hours should be thrown out.  

"If you just document it and take pictures. Save receipts, especially if you're using the option to eat out. Keep those receipts. If you ate out at a restaurant, it wasn't necessarily replacing the food," said Johnson.

But consider first if your deductible will eat up your benefit before you file the claim.  

If you're not covered for food spoilage, check your home warranty or apply to FEMA for assistance.

SNAP recipients who live in one of the counties with disaster declarations can call 211 to apply for replacement benefits by June 17.

SNAP recipients outside those counties must apply at a local benefits office within 10 days of discovering it.

WIC recipients can also apply for replacement benefits at TexasWIC.org