If you have suffered freeze damage to your home in Houston, you may experience severe inconveniences, destroyed belongings, and significant expenses. Texas freeze damage claims often require swift action on short notice, making a difficult situation even more complex.
Insurance attorney Jason McLaurin, founder of McLaurin Law, PLLC, previously worked as an insider for insurance companies, giving his clients a competitive edge. At McLaurin Law, we help our clients respond effectively to freeze damage incidents by making proper insurance claims and handling appeals on their behalf. We sue insurance companies that deny or underpay Texas freeze damage claims in bad faith. Read below as we explain how the claims process works for freeze damage in Texas, then contact our freeze damage claims legal team at (713) 461-6500 to schedule a free strategy session.
Identifying Causes of Freeze Damage & The Applicable Insurance Policy For Your Claim
There may be several direct or indirect causes of freeze damage. Not all are covered under a homeowners’ insurance policy. Understand that while water from ruptured frozen pipes is usually covered under homeowners’ insurance policies, so long as you have minimized the damage, such water is not “flooding.” When speaking to an insurance company, it should never be referred to as such to avoid jeopardizing your claim.
Flooding is an entirely different matter covered under flood insurance. Although sewer backups are typically not covered under homeowners' policies, you can add a rider to your policy to cover some sewer conditions.
Steps For Preparing Your Texas Freeze Damage Claim
Determining The Extent of Freeze Damage and Expenses
A freeze damage incident in a home often leads to the destruction of personal belongings, furniture, electrical appliances, carpeting, walls, and other interior or exterior elements. Sections of some walls may need to be removed to repair broken pipes or prevent mold. You will need to prepare an exhaustive list of these items and the expenses to repair or replace them. However, you generally should not proceed with permanent repair or replacement steps at this time.
Documentation and Appraisal of Freeze Damage
Once you have verified that you can claim your freeze damage under your homeowners' insurance policy terms, you’ll need to ensure you have comprehensive documentation of the damage. You should take photographs of the damaged walls, pipes, belongings, and anything else that will demonstrate the damaging effects of the freezing incident.
Making repairs at this time may negatively impact your claim. You are responsible for mitigating additional damage while allowing for the appraisal of the total damage. Sometimes, that means using temporary coverings or repairs to keep out weather elements while preventing theft. Coordinate with your Houston insurance attorney to determine an appropriate timeline for repairs, and safeguard your photo documentation and receipts for relevant expenses.
Providing The Notice of Claim To The Insurance Company
You or your Texas insurance attorney will then give your insurer notice that you are making a claim reasonably soon after taking steps to address any emergency, such as stopping water flow through a burst pipe. Your policy should indicate the time limit you have to make a claim. As we have noted above, making the correct type of insurance claim is crucial, so you should consult with an experienced insurance lawyer immediately if you need to make a claim.
The insurance company will have 15 days to acknowledge your claim and request other information. They may appraise the damage to verify the damages you have cited. Try to be there.
After You Have Submitted Your TX Freeze Damage Claim
In Texas, your insurance company will have another 15 days to decide on your claim after they have acknowledged receipt. They will then have five business days to compensate you if approved. If your claim is approved and they provide appropriate compensation, the entire process from claim to approval should take approximately 35 days. You could then proceed with making permanent repairs and replacing your destroyed belongings.
Appealing If Your Texas Freeze Damage Claim Is Denied
However, insurance companies are motivated to underpay claims or deny them outright, and you may need to appeal. This effort may include collecting and submitting additional evidence to support your claim—another reason why it is vital to extensively document damages and hold off on permanent repairs until you have received proper compensation.
We Sue Insurance Companies When They Deny Appeals or Underpay on Valid Freeze Damage Claims in Houston
If your insurance company denies your appeal for a valid claim, you may have a good case for a bad faith lawsuit. We can seek additional damages beyond your policy terms when we litigate in response to bad-faith denials on your behalf.
Understand there is a two-year statute of limitations from the time of the weather event to pursue litigation in response to denied freeze damage claims in Texas. The deadline to pursue litigation for freeze damage claims from the February 13-17, 2021 ice storms would be mid-February of 2023.
Work With An Experienced Texas Freeze Damage Claims Attorney Team in Houston, TX
At McLaurin Law, we understand insurance companies’ strategies and tactics to avoid honoring valid freeze damage insurance claims. Whether you need to initiate a new claim or appeal, or litigate a freeze damage claim denial in Texas, we can help you pursue fair and appropriate compensation.
Contact our experienced freeze damage claims lawyer team at McLaurin Law in Houston, TX, today by calling (713) 461-6500 or filling out our online form. We can guide you through the processes for the freeze damage you have experienced.
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