How to prepare for a storm, and file insurance claims for damage

With the potential for tornados, strong winds, and flooding, your home could be damaged in the approaching storm. Now is a good time to prepare, not only for this storm, but for storm season this summer.

Bring in pets as well as patio furniture and decor that could blow around.  Put your car in the garage or cover it with a tarp.

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Charge your cell phone and gather important documents.

"Everything from passports to credit cards, to birth certificates, anything you think is important. And a good idea if you need a record of it, take a picture of it and email it to yourself. Or scan it and email it to yourself, so it’s in the cloud," said Richard Johnson with the Insurance Council of Texas.

"That also goes for anything and everything in your home. With a camera, document everything in your home and your property, and email those photos or video to yourself," Johnson added.

If you have damage to your home, take photos and videos of it before making any emergency repairs.

Most insurance companies have apps now. It's often faster to file an insurance claim through an app, where you can upload photos and video, than it is to call.

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Here's a breakdown of what types of damage are covered by insurance.

First, let's talk falling trees and power lines. If a tree or power line falls and damages your home, car, or property, that damage is usually covered under homeowner's insurance.  

Keep in mind, even if it's your neighbor's tree that damages your home, you are usually still responsible for the cost of repairs to your home, not your neighbor.

If food goes bad in your fridge from a power outage, that's also usually covered in your homeowner's insurance.

Wind and hail damage is also typically covered by homeowner's insurance.

However, if it's not, lender's often require homeowners to have it while they have mortgage.

And if you live on the coast, you may be required to have wind insurance due to the higher risk of hurricane damage.


Wind insurance can be purchased through private insurers, the Texas Wind Insurance Association, or a Texas Fair Access to Insurance Requirements Plan.

"Typically, in a standard homeowner's policy, any damage caused by a tornado would be covered. Think about those things on your patio that may come through a window, or any damage to a roof, sometimes even vegetation. If you have older trees or plants in your yard, sometimes your policy will also cover damage done to those," said Johnson.

However, flood damage from storms is usually not covered by homeowner's insurance. Flood insurance must be purchased separately through private carriers or the National Flood Insurance Program through FEMA.

Flood insurance takes 30 days to take effect. Now is a good time to buy it to have it in place before hurricane season begins.

The Texas Department of Insurance's can help you compare different insurance policies.