AUSTIN (KXAN) — When severe weather hits, it’s possible your home or property could get damaged. The Texas Department of Insurance has guidance on what to do if that happens.

First, you should call your insurance company as soon as possible to report the damage. Take photos and video of the damage, but don’t throw anything away until your insurance adjuster tells you to.

After that, make temporary repairs to prevent more damage. Remove standing water and cover broken windows and holes to keep the rain out. Do not make permanent repairs before the insurance adjuster sees the damage.

Keep a list of the repairs you do make, and save receipts.

When it comes to filling a claim, TDI has a list of insurance company phone numbers, or you can call the department directly at 800-252-3439. TDI’s guidance on filing a claim is below:

  • Keep a record of everyone you talked to with your company.
  • Be ready to answer questions about the damage.
  • Ask about an advance payment if you need help quickly.
  • Ask about living expenses. Most policies will cover some of the costs you have if you are unable to live in your home because of damage that is covered by your insurance. Keep your receipts for these costs.
  • If you need shelter or emergency food or water, contact the Red Cross at 800-733-2767.

When you’re ready to repair your home, make sure your adjuster and company have your current phone number and try to be there when the adjuster visits and points out all the damage.

Also, make sure your address is visible from the street, even if you have to post a sign with your address in the yard.

Get multiple bids from contractors and compare them with the adjuster’s report before settling the claim.

Save proof that you paid the deductible on the claim. State law makes it illegal for contractors or roofers to offer to waive a deductible or to promise a rebate for your deductible. It also allows insurance companies to request proof, such as a receipt or canceled check, that you paid the deductible.

For more details and guidance, visit the Texas Department of Insurance website.