AUSTIN (KXAN) — Central Texas is no stranger to severe weather, so when it happens, residents should know how to protect their property.

Richard Johnson with the Insurance Council of Texas joined KXAN to give some insight on how to prepare for a storm to ensure the least amount of damage possible and what to do if your property is damaged.

Before the storm

Johnson said there are two things you can do to prepare.

The first is to secure any outside items you may have, like lawn furniture, anything you have on your patio or deck, etc. “They can become like rockets when there’s a wind event,” Johnson said. He also recommended protecting vehicles by bringing them into a garage or covered area if possible.

The second thing is to create a home inventory. Johnson said it helps to have a list of valuable items in case there’s a tornado, flooding or a total loss from any weather event.

“You can just stand in the middle of a room with your phone or your camera and record everything that’s in your room, and then email it to yourself,” Johnson said. “It’s that simple.”

After the storm

Johnson said for safety reasons, the first thing to do after a storm is to check for any temporary repairs that need to be made, do them, and keep receipts from those expenses.

Then call your insurance company, Johnson said, and they’ll send an adjuster out and help you through your claim process.

Johnson said the roof is the number one thing that’s damaged in hail and wind events, but he stresses that you NOT get on your roof yourself and instead have a professional check it out. Johnson recommended using local contractors and getting advice from the Better Business Bureau or friends and neighbors before letting someone work on your home.

“If there’s somebody knocking on your door offering to give you a really good deal on something, and the deal seems too good to be true — it probably is,” Johnson said. “Go ahead and take pictures of any business cards, the person themselves, and get pictures of any license plates that they may have on their vehicles. You want to document everything as possible. Because when events like this come into town, so do the scammers and unscrupulous contractors.”

Documentation is key

Johnson recommended taking photos and videos to document your belongings before a storm and then documenting everything that was damaged after.

“You want to make sure that you have that, so you can kind of you know, compare and contrast,” he said. “And then your insurance company and the adjuster can work with you on what’s owed on that claim.”

Watch the full Q&A with Johnson in the video player at the top of this story.