Financial Recovery Tips for Hurricane Harvey Flood Victims

Take these steps to facilitate a faster financial recovery after the storm.

Hurricane Harvey slammed into the Texas coast as a Category 4 storm, dropping over 18 trillion gallons of water. One quarter of all households in Texas were displaced by the storm. Now families must return home to pick up the pieces. Between lost income and uncertain insurance payouts, financial stress can run high after a storm. This infographic offers tips to help flood victims recover as quickly as possible.

This infographic offers financial recovery tips for flood victims following Hurricane Harvey

Help After Hurricane Harvey: How to Handle Your Finances Control your bills 1. Make a list of your creditors and their phone numbers 2. Call to let them know you were struck by disaster. Ask about any temporary hardship or deferment options 3. Write down the details including who you spoke with, time and date, any case ID you're given, and a callback number 4. If your home is not habitable call to suspend utility service Document everything -Take photos in good lighting of all property damage. Report it as soon as possible to your insurance company -Keep all your receipts. Don't throw out damaged goods or make major repairs until a claims adjuster visits you -Seek out local, established repair contractors and check their licenses. Don't pay in advance or in cash Seek out assistance You might get help paying for repairs and more immediate necessities. To find what's available near you, visit... www.disasterassistance.gov

Be aware of issues with insurance payouts

Unfortunately for many families who will rely on insurance payouts to recover, a new law goes into effect September 1. The law limits the interest charges you can receive for delays in insurance payouts from 18 percent to 10 percent. In addition, homeowners who fail to estimate damages accurately within 80 percent also faced reduced attorney fee payouts, too.

Advocates of the law, including Texas Governor Greg Abbot say that it works to limit lawsuit abuses following a storm. However, this could have a major impact on anyone who files an insurance claim after Hurricane Harvey. With so many households making claims, there will almost certainly be at least some delays in payouts. Now, families won’t be compensated as well for those.

The key point to note is that if you get your claim in before Friday, September 1, 2017, you fall under the old rules. That means 18 percent interest payouts on delayed claims, but also less onus to get your damages exactly right. Estimating property value can be tough, particularly if you didn’t maintain accurate records on purchases of your belongings.

If you haven’t filed a claim before that date, then you will fall under the new rules. Be as accurate as possible in damage estimates. When possible, look back at purchase records and bank statements to accurately assess your damages. The more accurate you are, the less likely you’ll be penalized for inaccurate reporting.

The, as far as payouts go, whether you fall under the new law or the old, you should expect some delays in how quickly you receive your money. With over one quarter of the Texas population filing claims at once, insurance companies are likely to be overwhelmed. In any case, you will be compensated for a delay. But if you file after September 1 then that compensation will simply be lower. However, in either case, you will receive the money you’re due for the claim, at the very least.

Use this infographic

<a href="https://www.consolidatedcredit.org/infographics/hurricane-harvey/" target="_blank"><img src="https://www.consolidatedcredit.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Hurricane-IB-1.jpg" alt="This infographic offers financial recovery tips for flood victims following Hurricane Harvey" class="img-responsive" /></a>