In the wake of a damaging storm, naturally, you expect to receive compensation from your insurance company as promptly as possible in order to begin making necessary repairs to your home or property and begin replacing your lost personal property. The frustration of dealing with your insurance company and their delays is a major concern for many Houstonians and Texans alike as Texas has experienced a significant number of tornadoes and major windstorms.
Guidelines for Filing a Tornado Insurance Claim
As you prepare to make your insurance claim, there are a number of guidelines that can help you receive a prompt and satisfying response from your insurance company.
- Don’t Delay. You’re probably not the only homeowner to experience damage from a major tornado or storm, which means your insurance company may be overwhelmed with claims. To ensure your claim is processed sooner rather than later, be prompt in reporting your claim to your insurance company.
- Document Damage. You’ll need to furnish your insurance company with as much documentation as you can regarding your property damage, including photographs, estimates for repairs, etc. We recommend taking plenty of photos and videos to highlight the extent of the tornado or storm damages to your property.
- Make Temporary Repairs as Needed. To maintain the safety and integrity of your home, you may need to go ahead and make reasonable and necessary temporary repairs and otherwise take steps to mitigate further damage to your home and property. Hang on to receipts, document expenses, and seek compensation from your insurance company later.
- Schedule Permanent Repairs. While you wait for the insurance company to make a decision regarding compensation for your claim, particularly because you may require funds before you can begin more costly, extensive repairs, remember that many contractors book projects and clients weeks out. Following a tornado, these slots will fill up fast. It may be wise to go ahead and put your name on the list.
- Avoid Scams. Unfortunately, following major storms, fraudulent roofers and disreputable contractors often come out of the woodwork. Protect yourself by always seeking proof of insurance, licensure, and bonding. Try to work with local companies whenever you can and get all contracts, cost estimates, and terms of repairs in writing.
- Be Present for the Inspection. Your insurance company should reach out to schedule an inspection within a week or so of you filing a claim. You’ll want to be physically present during this inspection, addressing the adjuster’s questions directly and pointing out to him any particular areas of concern, and to ensure that the adjuster does not overlook any damages.
- Don’t Anticipate Free Upgrades. Usually, insurance companies will repair or replace damaged property with materials that are similar in value, or “of like kind and quality.” So, while you may be able to get your broken wood deck replaced, your insurance company isn’t going to pay for you to expand it or to have it built with expensive, composite materials.
- Talk with an Attorney. Finally, if you have any questions or concerns about the timeline for your claim, or you wish to dispute your insurance company’s determination or valuation of your claim, we highly recommend speaking with an experienced Texas insurance lawyer.
At McLaurin Law, our attorneys have extensive experience helping Houstonians receive what they are due following horrific storms or weather events and other natural disasters. Reach out to us any time you have a question about your insurance claim, including claims for tornado and/or storm damages to your home, business, or other property.