Many storm claims get denied or underpaid. Get in touch with our team to discuss what we can do for you. Do not fall victim to insurance practices such as denying your claim, delaying in paying, and outright underpaying. You paid your part, now it’s time for the insurance company to pay theirs.
Insurance companies can be liable for not only the underlying claim, but for three times the amount of damages for acting in bad faith. Do not let the insurance company get away with this. If they do it to you, they will do it to countless others. Our Houston storm claim lawyers stand with you in protecting the rights of premium payers.
Types of Storm Damage Your Policy Might Cover
Insurance policies are dense, multi-page documents full of long words in small print. They are difficult to decipher, but it is critical to understand what a policy covers and what it excludes.
Property insurance policies typically cover the sort of damage a severe storm might cause. Covered losses usually include damage from:
- Fire, if a storm broke electrical lines that sparked a blaze
- Hail, which could break windows, windshields, and skylights
- Ice and frost, which could damage roofs, plumbing, and driveways
- Water, if it entered through an opening the storm caused
- Wind, which could destroy a home’s roof and siding or topple trees that could collapse a structure
Note that flood damage is specifically excluded from policies unless the policyholder buys a rider.
Problems often occur when an insurance adjuster determines that a storm was not the primary reason the property sustained damage. For example, an adjuster might claim a roof’s poor condition allowed water to enter a home, and the wind damage just accelerated an ongoing process. If an insurance adjuster is finding reasons to deny a storm damage claim, contact a Houston attorney for help.
Strengthening a Storm Damage Claim
Insurance adjusters work for insurance companies, and their job is to protect the industry’s profits. Although many adjusters seem are nice, genuinely sympathetic people, they also look for reasons to deny or discount legitimate claims.
A property owner could make it harder for an adjuster to deny or discount a claim by taking simple steps before and after a storm. For example, an owner could strengthen a potential claim by:
- Keeping good records of recent upgrades and purchases such as a new roof, updated electrical system, or interior paint or carpet
- Taking photos and videos of the property before the storm
- Once the storm has passed, taking extensive photos and videos of the damage
- Promptly notifying the insurer of the damage and keeping a record of the notice
- Record every exchange with the insurer through voice recordings, copies of emails, or notes taken during the interaction
- Skipping the social media updates about the damage, as the insurer might use your posts against you later
- Keeping all receipts for emergency repairs
Keeping electronic copies of important documents is a prudent step, as evacuating with a bundle of papers might not be feasible, and they could be damaged if left behind.
It is best to keep a cool head during any interaction with an adjuster or insurance company representative. The companies routinely record phone calls, and adjusters will make notes of their in-person conversations. The company might use any statement that could imply an admission or create a negative impression to support a decision to deny or discount a claim. Evidence from the property owner’s statements could make it more challenging for a Houston storm claims attorney to contest the company’s action.
Insurers Must Adhere to Reasonable Timeframes
Delay is one of the ways insurers avoid paying legitimate claims. The law requires insurers to move quickly to settle storm damage claims. Delays can cause exceptional hardship if a family cannot move back home before completing repairs.
A property owner should submit their claim as quickly as possible. The insurance company must acknowledge receiving the claim, begin its investigation, and request further information within fifteen business days. Texas Insurance Code §542.056 requires an insurance company to notify an insured whether it will pay or reject the claim within 15 business days of receiving any information it requested. The company has the right to a 45 calendar-day extension, but they must notify the insured if they require more time.
If an insured does not receive timely notice or if the company makes unreasonable demands for information, a Houston storm claims attorney could intervene. Such practices could indicate bad faith, and an attorney could remind the company of its obligations.
Rely on a Houston Storm Claims Attorney
When a storm damages or destroys your home or business, you need help fast. Insurance companies market themselves as reliable sources of support, but too often, they fail the people who count on them.
You deserve prompt payment that compensates your covered losses. If your insurer is being unreasonable, call a Houston storm claims lawyer immediately.