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Texas Department of Insurance
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May 6, 2022

After a storm: Dealing with insurance claims and avoiding repair scams

Most people file an insurance claim after a storm or disaster damages your home. Then you have to find the right person or company to make the repairs. We have tips on the claims process, what to do if you disagree with your insurance company, and how to find a good contractor.

What do I do if a disaster damages my home?

Contact your insurance company or agent to file a claim as soon as possible. Make a list of any damage and take photos or video with your phone. And then start cleaning up. Don’t throw anything away until the insurance company tells you to do so. Save your receipts from any temporary repairs. Those expenses might become part of the insurance claim.

What if I can’t live in my home due to damages?

Your insurance policy may help pay for food or a hotel depending on your coverage. You can ask if you have additional living expenses.

What can I do if I disagree with my insurance company?

First, ask the company to reconsider the decision. If your claim is denied, you also can file a complaint with TDI. We will ask your insurance company to show that it met the terms of your policy.

What if my insurance company isn’t paying enough?

Your policy may include an appraisal process to resolve complaints. The appraisal process begins with you and the company each hiring an appraiser. The two appraisers then choose a third appraiser as the umpire. Your appraiser and the company's appraiser make their own estimates of your loss. If they are different, the umpire makes the final decision, which is binding on both you and the company. You are responsible for the expenses of the appraiser you hire and for half of the umpire's expenses. Check your policy for any deadlines to demand appraisal. If you need help finding an appraiser, search for a “property damage appraiser” or check with your contractor.

You can also hire a public insurance adjuster. That's somebody who represents you when working with the insurance company to help settle a claim. You will pay the public insurance adjuster from the amount of your insurance settlement. Payment can be up to 10% of the entire final claim.

How to find a good contractor

Try to use local contractors. And just because someone has a local address doesn't mean they're local to that area. Learn if contractors are registered with an association or industry organizations.

How to avoid contractor fraud

Make sure to get more than one bid, check references, and go online to see reviews. Don’t pay for all of the work up front. And make the final payment once the job is done. Avoid contractors who offer to waive your deductible. That’s illegal in Texas. And never sign a contract that has blank spaces on it.

Visit tdi.texas.gov for other tips. Or our Help Line at 800-252-3439.