The “Halloween Flood of 2013” resulted in multiple road closures, school delays, water rescues and evacuations across Central Texas. According to Austin Energy, the weather event caused more than 12,000 customers to lose electricity. Flood warnings were also in effect for the Comal and Guadalupe Rivers until Thursday evening.
Rain is no longer in the forecast this week, but consumers may still have flood damage to deal with from Thursday’s events. Austin Emergency Operations Center reported 500 to 600 homes were directly impacted by water.
Better Business Bureau serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin advises home and business owners take precaution when cleaning up water damage and hiring contractors to help with the rebuilding process.
Tips for Flood Damage Clean-Up:
- Call your insurance agent immediately to file a claim. Be sure to ask for specific procedures or paperwork needed to move forward with repairs.
- If possible, take photos of any water saturation. An insurance adjuster may need to see what has been damaged in order to process your claim.
- Discard or clean all wet items within 48 hours. According to the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as soon as the majority of water is drained away, all wet items should be cleaned and dried, or thrown away within 48 hours of flooding to prevent the growth of mold.
Following a major flooding event, BBB also urges consumers and business owners to be cautious when hiring a repair service.
Tips for Hiring a Repair Contractor:
- Research trustworthy businesses. Deal only with licensed and insured contractors. You can verify licensing information through the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. Find a BBB Accredited contractor through BBB Member Pages.
- Get multiple bids. Get bids from at least three companies and ask for referrals. Utilize BBB’s Request a Quote service to get multiple estimates from BBB Accredited Businesses for free.
- Take your time signing a contract. Get a written estimate that includes any verbal promises the contractor made. Remember to ask if there is a charge for an estimate before allowing anyone into your home. Ask for explanations for price variations. Get a copy of the final, signed contract before the job begins.
- Avoid paying a large sum upfront. Resist dealing with any contractor who asks you to pay for the entire job upfront. A down payment is acceptable, but it should not be a significant amount of the total cost. Pay only by check or credit card – and pay the final amount only after the work is completed to your satisfaction. Avoid paying in cash.
- Beware of door-to-door solicitations. Sudden, severe storms can bring fly-by-night contractors to the area. Often these contractors solicit work door-to-door, have no license or contact information and require high upfront fees before beginning any work. BBB recommends researching the company before agreeing to have any work done.