Hurricanes Harvey and Irma left an estimated $150 billion in damages behind in Houston, and throughout the state of Texas, Florida, Georgia and elsewhere. If you’re one of hundreds of thousands of property owners dealing with the aftermath, this guide has answers to some of the most pressing concerns.
Beware of Construction and Insurance Scams
A word of warning is in order at the start. When hurricanes produce widespread damage, scammers known as storm chasers flock to the devastated areas. Many of the scams are construction scams and insurance scams. Take these precautions against scams:
- Don’t give anyone cash upfront for them to buy materials to secure or repair your home
- Don’t buy insurance from anyone claiming to have a policy to sell you that will cover damage already done to your home
- Don’t allow anyone into your home unless they have proper identification (not just a FEMA shirt or shirt with an insurance company name on it) and a clear reason to be there – and even then, you’re not obligated to let anyone into your home
There are charity, food stamp and voucher scams, flood insurance scams, and many others. If you suspect fraud or attempted fraud, call the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) at 866.720.5721 or send an email to [email protected] All contacts are kept confidential.
Immediate Steps to Take After Hurricane Damage
Wind and water are devastating forces of nature when unleashed during storms like hurricane Harvey and hurricane Irma in the US mainland and hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.
From a practical standpoint, here are steps to take in the immediate aftermath of hurricane: