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Winter Storm 2021

What to look out for to avoid Winter Storm contractor scams

The historic Winter Storm in February 2021 affected Texans in ways that were unexpected. Right now, many individuals and families are in the recovery process of fixing pipes and other damages caused by the unusual storm. If you sustained damages from the Winter Storm, keep reading to find helpful tips to protect yourself as well as what to watch out for so a potential scammer does not take you.

If you haven’t already done so, make sure to: 

  • Take photos of your damages 

  • Make a list of damaged or lost items 

  • File a claim with your insurance

After filing a claim with your insurance company, be sure to get a copy of the claim to carefully review and understand your insurance policy. Many standard home insurance policies will cover damage from frozen pipes as well as food that may have spoiled during a power outage. Take a close look at your policy to find out what is covered, what is not covered, and your deductible.

If your insurance company does not cover all of the damages or you do not have insurance,
FEMA may be able to help; however, they will not duplicate benefits for losses covered by your insurance. To begin applying for federal assistance, visit disasterassistance.gov or call toll-free at 800.621.3362. Please note that unlike many home insurance policies, FEMA will not cover food loss due to a power outage.

Watch out for Scam Artists

Due to the unprecedented storm, scammers are on the rise and are looking for potential victims to take advantage of. When looking for plumbers or other contractors to work in and around your home, here are some best practices to keep in mind. 

  • When looking for a reputable contractor to service your home, start with the BBB.org 

  • Research phone numbers and websites to verify their legitimacy 

  • DO NOT trust individuals or “Storm Chasers” who may solicit you over the phone or knocking on your door. 

  • According to the Texas Department of Insurance, it is illegal for contractors to waive the deductible. 

  • DO NOT pay the contractor upfront. 

  • To avoid price gouging, get a few estimates from other legitimate contractors and compare pricing. 

  • Read the written contract in full, yes, even the fine print, and do not sign contracts with any blank spaces. This allows scam artists to fill in those blank spaces as they see fit. 

  • When looking up plumbers, visit the Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners and take advantage of their public search tool to find reputable plumbers.


If you’ve received phone calls or flyers from charities asking for donations, follow safe practices and research the organization before giving over any money. Only interact with official websites or phone numbers, do not trust cold calls soliciting donations.

We understand this catastrophic event left many Houstonians in a vulnerable position, and many may feel they need to hire the first contractor available. Don’t let your guard down and take your time when finding someone to fix your home. This will save you from a headache and potentially even larger problems down the road.