The prospect of renovating a home is both exciting and challenging in that your vision for a beautiful outcome is often tempered with, "so where do we start?" And that's a good beginning, but the most important question should be, "what do we need to know to make sure we get it right?"
Disaster can happen quickly and without warning. Would you and your family be ready in the event of an earthquake, fire, flood, hurricane or tornado?
"Planning makes a big difference in coping with disaster," says Charles Valinotti, senior vice president of insurer QBE. "The better prepared you are, the better you can cope in the aftermath of an emergency."
BASTROP, Texas — Texas residents whose homes have been destroyed by wildfires are now turning to insurance claims to get by and rebuild.
Wildfires that have burned in Central and East Texas since Labor Day have created losses estimated at $250 million, making them the costliest in the state's history, according to the Insurance Council of Texas.
In Bastrop County, where the most destructive wildfire in Texas history left hundreds of families homeless, many residents are surviving on insurance money they can get for living expenses — and on the hope that comes as claims adjustors begin to assess the damage.
BASTROP — In the parking lot at the Home Depot, over coffee and pancakes in the Whataburger, at the Shell convenience store, the recovery of Bastrop County has begun.
In conversations. Between neighbors, friends, even strangers.
"After everything that's happened — we lost everything we had, except ourselves and the clothes on our back — it feels good to talk to someone who's in the same boat," said Dona Suarez, 56, talking with a group of seven neighbors about what to do next outside the home supply retailer on Texas 71.
Bastrop County is sharpening its focus on recovery from a devastating fire that began over Labor Day weekend and has burned through more than 34,000 acres, destroyed more than 1,600 homes and killed two people, officials said.
As the containment of the blaze climbed to 95 percent Sunday afternoon, the Texas Forest Service downgraded the response to the fire.
One year ago this holiday weekend, as temperatures climbed into the 80s and Chinook winds began barreling through the canyons west of Boulder, flames broke out in Emerson Gulch just after 10 a.m. on Labor Day.
The location -- a steep, rugged and densely forested ravine that falls into Fourmile Creek -- was one of the worst spots in Boulder County for a wildfire to blaze into life, local firefighters knew.
Hurricane Irene won’t come close to reviving the wind vs. water debate that occupied the court systems of Mississippi and Louisiana for years following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The wind vs. water debate and the mind-bending, tongue-tying “anti-concurrent causation clause” language within insurance policies will not be an issue.
Not by a long shot.
Flood, including storm surge, is not covered by a standard homeowners policy. Moreover, multiple forces cannot combine to cause the exact same loss. This is what the anti-concurrent causation clause debate was about. During Katrina, two events—wind and then surge—caused two different losses. But the debate after Katrina was a heck of a lot more complicated than that because all that was left of many, many homes was a concrete slab.
Hurricane Irene, with its high wind, torrential rain and flooding, was a wake-up call for the residents of many states up and down the East Coast of the United States, providing important lessons to millions of Americans on how to prepare for future storms, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).
“Those who take the time to prepare for a disaster are in the best position to survive a catastrophe and recover as quickly as possible.” pointed out Jeanne M. Salvatore, senior vice president and consumer spokesperson for the I.I.I.
Wildfires are often viewed as major disasters, and there is concern that climate change will increase their incidence. However, it is difficult to consider the true impact of past or future wildfires without understanding their place in natural and human history.