If you plan to file a claim for damages related to Hurricane Harvey, you should consider doing it quickly—before Friday, August 31, 2017. That’s because lawmakers are already changing the way insurance claims are processed. Wait too long to make a claim, and you may face a new and unforeseen set of legal challenges.

Unprecedented Devastation Sweeps Through Texas

Hurricane Harvey has already broken records. The biggest rainstorm ever to make landfall in the continental United States, it has left a trail of devastation in its wake, leaving entire cities under water (including Houston, Texas) and residents struggling to escape. A wave of catastrophic flooding has swept away cars, inundated homes, and even taken lives (initial estimates suggest at least 30 people have died so far in Texas).

No one will know the true extent of the damage until the storm abates and people return to clean up the mess. As of August 30th, rain continues to fall and authorities must still dedicate all available resources to rescue missions rather than damage appraisal.

Filing a Hurricane Harvey Claim

New Law Goes into Effect on September 1, 2017

Meanwhile, residents who have survived days of hell are forced to think about the future. Even though most people are still recovering from the shock, lawmakers haven’t been idle. Texas House Bill 1774 goes into effect on September 1, 2017.

The new bill changes the way the law treats certain claims for property damage and loss caused by natural disasters such as Hurricane Harvey. Texas residents who plan to file an insurance claim should do so before this Friday, August 31. Only then will you be able to take advantage of the provisions of the previous law.

The Type of Claim Depends on the Type of Damage and Type of Insurance

What type of claim you file depends on a number of factors. Most flood insurance policies are under the umbrella of the FEMA managed National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Since the new Texas law doesn’t affect federal programs, many residents will see no change to their coverage.

That being said, it’s important to check your policy and file a claim with every relevant insurance provider (homeowner, FEMA, commercial, etc.).

Take These Important Steps:

  • Check your insurance policies.
  • File a claim with each provider.
  • Date and send your claim on or before August 31, 2017, to take advantage of existing law.

If you need help, you can always contact an experienced personal injury attorney in Houston at  Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers