The damage from a hurricane can be devastating, primarily when it affects you and your loved ones personally. It is also a community issue that can have long-lasting financial and psychological ramifications. If you need to file a Texas hurricane insurance claim — or if you want to protect yourself and your property from future hurricane damage, read below to discover some important considerations involved with filing a hurricane claim.
At McLaurin Law, we help individuals, families, and businesses in and around Houston seek fair and appropriate compensation when they make claims on their insurance policies following a hurricane. We also advise our clients on how to prepare with the proper types and amounts of insurance in case they experience hurricane damage. Call us at (713) 461-6500 today to schedule a free strategy session with an experienced Texas hurricane insurance lawyer in Houston.
Insurance For Hurricanes in Texas Involves Multiple Types of Policies
Insurance to cover damage from hurricanes does not fall under a single policy in Texas. While your homeowners' policy will be the main component in many instances to cover issues like roof damage, it will generally not cover damage from flooding that is often associated with hurricanes and accompanying storm surges. Such incidents will be especially likely to lead to not only surface damage but structural damage, as well. Hurricanes may also spawn tornadoes, presenting additional risks of danger and destruction. Homeowners' insurance policies vary, and you should become familiar with the terms of yours.
Hurricane Water Damage: Why You Need Flood Insurance
Homeowners' insurance generally does not cover flooding, which is distinct from water damage caused by issues like broken pipes. Flood insurance is a component of insurance protection against hurricane damage that you must purchase separately. Our experienced legal team can help you identify the right flood insurance policy and assist with flood insurance claims or denials.
Excessive rainfall can lead to flooding of basements or other levels of a home or commercial building, and the possibility of storm surges associated with hurricanes presents additional flood threats near coastal areas. Take note of your property's susceptibility to hurricanes, flooding, and storm surge. Some locations or rental policies require you to buy flood insurance, which may be a wise choice even if your location is not deemed a high risk for flooding. In hurricane-prone areas like Houston, flood insurance is a crucial part of preparing for the possibility of the overwhelming damage these storms can bring.
Don’t Forget About Your Vehicle — Comprehensive Car Insurance For Flood Damage to Cars
Automobiles can sustain severe damage during a hurricane, especially from water damage caused by flooding. If you have comprehensive vehicle coverage, flood coverage would be included under your policy. Flood damage to your car can cause its electrical system to malfunction, which may lead to various problems. Your airbags may also become faulty due to vehicle flooding from a hurricane. The safety and reliability of your vehicle are undermined when it has been through a significant flooding incident.
Combined with the damage caused to the interior of a flooded vehicle, it may not be surprising that insurance companies will often declare it a total loss. Speak with an experienced hurricane claim attorney if you would like to pursue a claim or assess your vehicle’s coverage. Given the serious risks to safety associated with flood damage to vehicles, you should also be wary of used cars on the market following a hurricane.
Extended Effects of a Hurricane on a Home or Business in Houston, TX
Some homeowners’ policies may cover evacuation expenses. Track your costs caused by a hurricane. If hurricane damage to your home has displaced you, you may face additional costs associated with hotels, rentals, or even your mortgage.
If your business has been negatively affected by a hurricane, you may want to explore possible claims related to business interruption and other types of business insurance. Is your workplace in your home? Discuss every facet of your experience with your attorney to identify everything you should be claiming.
Document Your Claim Before Temporary Fixes or Adjuster Visits
Be sure to document your claim before making any temporary fixes. Take plenty of photographs before putting up a tarp to protect from the elements and prevent additional damage. These temporary fixes are often encouraged before an adjuster visits, but you should diligently take steps to document everything first.
Without documentation of the actual damage, your adjuster may get an inaccurate picture of the damage. They want to limit the amount their company will pay you, so take steps to protect your claim.
Houston Hurricane Insurance Claim Denials or Delays Are Common Following a Storm
Whenever a hurricane strikes Texas, some recurring patterns involve denials of claims and delays. First of all, many people will be filing shortly after the storm, so your claim could be at the bottom of a list of many other claims made before yours. Understand that many others in your community are dealing with similar situations, and many are responding with insurance claims that may or may not be valid. Many will face the unfortunate fate of learning they should have prepared to be able to make a valid hurricane insurance claim after it is too late.
A claim denial could occur due to your mistake. Perhaps you believe a policy covers something it doesn’t, or a denial could be due to another action or inaction, such as failing to secure your home or address preexisting damage. Several combined factors could compromise your ability to make a valid claim. You can prevent these mistakes by understanding the terms of your policy and working with an experienced Houston hurricane claim attorney.
Filing a Bad Faith Lawsuit Following a Hurricane Insurance Claim in Texas
Unfortunately, it is common for insurance companies to deny many valid insurance claims in bad faith following a hurricane. Using misleading policy terms to make a sale or knowingly deceiving a policyholder would qualify as bad faith, according to Chapter 541 of the Texas Insurance Code. There is a two-year statute of limitations to file lawsuits for bad faith property damage claims in Texas.
Under Chapter 542 of the Texas Insurance Code, policyholders are entitled to a prompt and proper investigation of a claim. Citing false reasons for a denial is also bad faith under Chapter 542. Post-hurricane circumstances are such that adjusters have many claims to cover. Paying out so many valid claims costs the insurance company a significant amount of money. However, their difficulties do not negate the terms of a policy for which you have been paying. If your claim has been denied, our hurricane insurance claim legal team can work with you to file an appeal. If your appeal is denied, we can work with you to file a bad faith lawsuit in Texas.
Work With An Experienced Texas Hurricane Insurance Law Firm in Houston, Texas
Navigating the aftermath of a hurricane is not easy for anyone. You shouldn’t try to handle it all alone because a simple misstep can compromise what might otherwise be thousands of dollars in compensation. At McLaurin Law, we are committed to helping individuals, families, and businesses in Houston to make the right decisions and seek fair and appropriate compensation when they file a valid insurance claim.
The relationship often starts with a consultation. If you need to make an insurance claim following a hurricane in Houston, or if your claim has been denied, contact our experienced Texas hurricane insurance law firm at (713) 461-6500 today — or fill out our online form. McLaurin Law — When You Need More Than Luck On Your Side