houston flooding home damage

Property Damage: What to Do Next

adminConsumer News, Disaster

Important information for those who have sustained damage:

Contact 3-1-1

If you haven’t done so already, please call 311 to report flooding in your home, business or in the street. City damage assessment teams will begin the process of determining the level of sustained damage. There are three ways to do that:


  1. Call 311 (713.837.0311)
  2. Visit houston311.org and click on “Flooding”
  3. Download the Houston 311 App for Android or iOS
Next Steps

If your car was towed, find where it was taken by visiting www.findmytowedcar.com or call 713-308-8580.

If your home has suffered damage, call your insurance agent to file a claim.

Check for structural damage before re-entering your home to avoid being trapped in a building collapse.

Take photos of any floodwater in your home and save any damaged personal property.

Make a list of damaged or lost items and include their purchase date and value with receipts, and place with the inventory you took prior to the flood. Some damaged items may require disposal, so keep photographs of these items.

Cleaning and Sanitizing to Prevent Mold Damage and Flood Related Illness

Turn off main power if wiring is wet or moldy. Have electrician check the house’s electrical system before turning power on again.

Open the house to fresh air when the humidity is lower outside than inside.

Use fans and dehumidifiers to remove excess moisture unless mold has already started to grow (fans may spread existing mold).

Use the HVAC system only if the ducts have not been inundated (any forced air central heating ducts that have come in contact with water or mold should be professionally checked).

Remove all wet items such as furniture, rugs, bedding, toys, carpeting, ceiling tiles, drywall and wood by-products. If wallboard is soaked, remove to a foot (12″) above the water mark and discard. Drain walls by removing baseboard and drilling holes near floor. Dry panel-type wall by pulling the bottom edge out from studs. Check interior of the wall for hidden mold.

Remove all wet insulation. Discard all but rigid insulation, which can be reinstalled after disinfecting and drying.

Discard soaked or moldy carpeting. Clean all other items first with soap and warm clean water to remove dirt and debris. Next, sanitize surfaces with one cup household liquid bleach per every 5 gallons of water. Be sure to wear boots and gloves when cleaning.

Discard all possibly contaminated food products – anything not in a water tight container.

Water Testing Recommended for Private Water Wells

Owners of private water wells possibly contaminated by storm water runoff may submit water samples for testing to the Houston Department of Health and Human Services’ laboratory. Owners can take water samples to the laboratory at 2250 Holcombe Blvd. in the Texas Medical Center. For more information, call 832-393-3939.

Filing your claim

You can file your flood insurance claim by following these three steps:

Step one:

After experiencing a flood, contact your agent or insurance company to file a claim. An adjuster should contact you within a few days of filing your claim. If you do not hear from an adjuster, you can contact your insurance agent or company again. Make sure you have the following information handy:

The name of your insurance company
Your policy number
A telephone and/or email address where you can be reached at all times

Step two:

Separate damaged from undamaged property. Your adjuster will need evidence of the damage to your home and possessions to prepare your repair estimate.

Take photographs of all of the damaged property, including discarded objects, structural damage, and standing floodwater levels. Make a list of damaged or lost items and include their date of purchase, value, and receipts, if possible. Officials may require disposal of damaged items so, if possible, place flooded items outside of the home.

Step three:

Your adjuster will provide you a Proof of Loss form for your official claim for damages. You’ll need to file this claim with your insurance company within 60 days of the flood. This document substantiates the insurance claim and is required before the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or insurance company can make payment.

You’ll receive your claim payment after you and the insurer agree on the amount of damages and the insurer has your complete, accurate, and signed Proof of Loss form. If major catastrophic flooding occurs, it may take longer to process claims and make payments because of the sheer number of claims submitted.

More information is available at the following links: