• Steps One, Two…Now What Do I Do? Protecting Your Property Value
  • November 7, 2017 | Authors: Boyd A. Bryan; Ann L. Latimer; Robert W. Scheffy
  • Law Firms: Jones Walker LLP - Baton Rouge Office; Jones Walker LLP - The Woodlands Office
  • The floodwaters from the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey have receded, and now it’s time to focus on the overwhelming task of getting back to normal, that includes protecting your property values. Below are helpful steps to do just that.

    Step 1: Notify Mortgage and Insurance Company and FEMA: If you have flood insurance, file a claim with the insurance company and schedule an appointment with the insurance adjuster. If you did not have insurance, file a claim with FEMA and schedule an appointment with a FEMA adjuster. This adjuster appointment should occur prior to conducting any demolition or rebuilding; however, with the extent of the damage to the Houston area, this may not be feasible since it may take weeks to schedule such appointment. In that case, document the damage, as discussed below. Filing a flood insurance claim will not prevent you from filing a FEMA claim; however, FEMA may require you to file an insurance claim prior to filing with FEMA.

    Step 2: Document the Damage: Now that all claims have been filed, owners need to take steps to prevent further damage, such as patching or tarping damaged roofs and boarding up broken windows. Separate salvageable items and store in a safe dry place. Prior to any demolition or rebuilding, take photos and videos of the damage, including any standing water remaining in the home, visible floodwater level lines, structural damage, and all discarded items. Ensure those photos and videos include a date/time stamp. Make a list of all damaged items, including the value, date of purchase, and receipts, if possible, and going forward, be sure to keep copies of all receipts, work orders, contractor agreements, and all other items relating to clean up and rebuilding.