Winter Storm Alert - Update
To start: Our agents, staff and family want to make sure all of our clients, clients family and neighbors are safe. Your health and safety is our first priority, if you need ANY assistance WITH ANYTHING please do not hesitate to contact us.
Please note, just as most everyone else is experiencing most of our locations and agents are working through long lasting power outages, rolling blackouts, limited to no water supply and cell phone service disruption. Additionally, many of our service providers for the systems we utilize are based in Texas or have servers based in Texas. This is causing additional delays when working with your policy information. Please bare with us.
Regarding your home, apartments and personal property. If you are insured with us PLEASE use this guide to help you get your insurance claim filed. EVEN if you are not insured through our agency you can use the following information when working with your insurance company and agent.
As most of your know the entire State of Texas and most of Louisiana were under a winter weather warning. As of Thursday 2/18/2021 several of our southern counties/parishes have began to see temps above freezing. As we get to above freezing temps, damage you may not be able to currently see will become visible. Please make sure you follow the guides posted below to mitigate further damage to your home.
We are Texas and Louisiana strong, we are committed to helping each and every one of you.
How to Mitigate Your Damage
If you have experienced a pipe busting in your home and/or business please follow the steps below to prevent further damage.
- Shut of the water supply to your home. In most cases your main water shutoff will be located in your front yard. In order to access this shutoff it will require a special key which can be purchased at most hardware stores. As you would expect, this item is in high demand and may be difficult to find. We suggest reaching out to surrounding neighbors, reaching out to us and in extreme and last case scenarios reaching out to local authorities and request they turn off your water. Remember, first responders are currently stretched thin so if possible refrain from calling 911 unless life or death situations. In other cases your water shut off could be located in your garage (generally for newer homes), the lever is more than likely located behind a metal wall plate you can easily open and turn the lever by hand.
- Drain all plumbing and appliance lines - specifically hot water heaters if applicable. A quick and easy guide to doing this is below.
Make sure you turned off water from the step above.
Starting on your top floor (if applicable) open up all faucets. This will allow air into the system, which will help the flow of water as your drain the system.
Go to the lowest level of your home and turn on a bathtub to let the water from the above floors drain out.
Go back to the highest level of your home and open the bathtub/shower faucets.
Flush all toilets to empty the tanks.
Leave all facets open, you may see an occasional drip from residual water left over. You may also see sudden water burst as the pipes begin to rise above freezing.
Cut power to any components such as tankless water heaters to prevent further damage after drained.
Note: We are not professional plumbers. Please seek advice from a licensed plumber.
- If you have visibly damaged piping components and remove them yourself please retain the damaged items and do not throw them out. You will want to show your insurance adjuster and provider these.
- Make sure you are taking pictures of the damage, especially if you are taking steps to stop the damage from spreading. Please retain pictures from all steps to show the insurance company.
- KEEP all invoices and receipts from money spent towards the damage to your home. Most insurance companies will take some of your expenses into consideration for reimbursement however you MUST HAVE a copy of the receipt.
When & How to File a Claim
Our agency represent a diverse mix of companies, because of this not all are the same. Even if we are not your insurance agency/company, you can use this to help determine your next steps. Note: If your insurance agency/company has already sent your other information please follow the guide they recommended.
Not all companies, policies and/or claim procedures are the same. This short guide will be a quick reference sheet for everyone to use and navigate the mess this last week has created. IF you have confirmed damage, and followed the steps above we want to make sure we get you in line ASAP with your insurance company to get your home fixed. With the massive amount of calls coming in from all over we're seeing hold time, delays and overall lack of staff due to current conditions. We understand you need your home handled sooner vs later, insurance companies are handling them in the order received and level of severity.
If you do not know that you have damage please do not file a claim - this will help prevent the people who need help now having to wait longer. We recommend you contact a contractor versed in the field for which you're seeking advice on and have your home looked over prior to filing. To take this a step further, just as insurance companies will be overloaded over the next few days, weeks even months so will your local contractors. Please work with them on scheduling to make sure you're home is looked over.
In the event you have no doubt in your mind you have damage that you need fixed - prior to calling the insurance company directly we HIGHLY recommend you reach out to your insurance agent and review damage details over the phone. In some cases (not all) if the damage in minor enough it could be less than the deductible on your policy. While we will never discourage you to file a claim if needed, we don't want you to spend all this time with adjusters, claims reps, etc.. if the damage was "minor". While we understand any damage to your home or personal property is nothing to take lightly we want to help prevent any frustration, headache, etc.. Once you have spoken with your agent they will be able to provide you with all necessary contact numbers, policy numbers, and needed information to get your claim started.
AGAIN, even if we are not your agent - please don't hesitate to try and reach us for advice/help. We are in a time where no matter who you choose to do business with everyone deserves open communication and help through this trying period.
Claim filed - What now?
This is the question that has been hardest to answer. Together we're all experiencing a (hopefully) once in a lifetime event for the southern US. What you're feeling, seeing and experiencing is the SAME thing your neighbors, local businesses and community leaders are feeling, seeing and experiencing. This same thought also translates to your insurance companies.
As an industry this is the first time these companies have seen something like this (especially on a wide scale event) in our home states. While everyone is looking for immediate answers, everyone is working hard and diligently to get your claim handled quickly, properly, and smoothly.
After filing your claim, your company should give you a time estimate (if available) when you should expect a call back or visit from an adjuster. Currently (2/18/2021), claims are predominantly still occurring for our southern neighbors as the north is not above freezing. As the claims begin to pile in from the entire state as a whole resources will be stretched thin. If you are having ANY issues with your insurance company please don't hesitate to contact us. Keep in mind most of the people you are talking to from your insurance agents office, insurance company 1800#, local adjuster, etc.. is more than likely experiencing the SAME hardships you currently are. While this is no way an excuse for a free pass, please understand and work with them.
As always, we are here to help you. Currently our #1 goal is to make sure everyone is healthy and safe but that does not take away from our agencies mission that your largest assets are protected, covered, and fixed as you would expect them to be.
Quick Agent Contact
Below is a list of some of our agents who you may be able to reach directly. While our main line is currently operational if you're looking for open communication to your agent some contact info is below. Note: due to current conditions we have not been able to reach some agents so his/her info may not be below. If you have your agents info already please feel free to reach out to them, if unable to reach them our main phone line is listed below as well.
972-876-0728 - CALL OR TEXT
Kevin Ethridge (currently utilizing main line)
Main Office Contact-