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How to file a flood insurance claim

First, survey your property and make a list of damage. Take plenty of pictures and don't throw anything away before contacting your insurer.

BEAUMONT, Texas — When disaster strikes, it can be overwhelming. You don't know where to begin or the order in which things should start happening. 

First, survey your property and make a list of all the damage. Don't move items and certainly don't start throwing them away until it's been documented. 

The second tip is to take photos of everything. Inside, outside and if you have photos of the damage as it was happening, save those, too. It will be important for your insurance agent to have. 

Tip number three is to keep very good notes and a record of conversations. Note the date, time and things that were said. Staying organized will help you navigate the process. 

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If you are going to apply for help from FEMA, you can do that on FEMA.gov if a disaster has been declared. FEMA provides assistance and should cover critical expenses that insurance may not cover. 

A couple of things to note. You must file with your own insurance company before you contact FEMA, and in order to get FEMA assistance, your damage must be located in an area that has had a disaster declaration. 

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If your home has flood damage and you don't know where to begin, here are some steps to take.

  • Be careful entering your home: If possible, wear protective shoes and clothing.
  • Document the damage: Take lots of pictures and jot down notes before cleaning up.
  • Contact Entergy: If outlets and fuse boxes got wet, don't touch them until you get the OK.
  • Drying out: Remove all standing water and clean surfaces with bleach.
  • Beware of mold: It can form 24 to 48 hours after a flood.

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