Hurricane & Hail Damage Claims
Experienced Texas Hurricane & Hail Damage Lawyers
The Hurricane and Hail Property Damage Lawyers at Zehl & Associates have represented hundreds of Texans who lost their homes and businesses as a result of the tremendous wind damage caused by Hurricanes, like Ike and Rita, Hail and Severe Storms.
The first thing we do when we’re hired in a case is send our team of experts, including general contractors and former insurance appraisers, to immediately conducts an extensive, independent appraisal of the damaged property in order to demonstrate that the insurance company has substantially undervalued or improperly denied our client’s claim.
What distinguishes our Hurricane and Hail Damage Attorneys from other law firms is that, even though many of our cases have been successfully resolved through settlement or mediation, if the insurance company refuses to offer a settlement that fully compensates our clients for their losses, we will not hesitate to take the case to trial, where our trial lawyers remain undefeated.
If Your Insurance Claim was Underpaid or Denied by Your Insurance Company, Call 1-888-603-3636 or Click Here for a Free Consult
The Devastating Effects of Hurricanes
It is no secret that hurricanes can and do cause widespread devastation to land and property whenever they make landfall. As a result, home owners file claims with their insurance companies to recover the money needed to repair or rebuild their homes and properties. While a small number of these hurricane insurance claims will be settled in full without much dispute, a substantial amount of home owners will be denied or underpaid, causing them to be frustrated and without the necessary funds to repair their most important investments.
Insurance companies have an obligation to settle the claims that they are presented with in a timely fashion and in good faith to those who they have elected to insure.
Individuals who experienced property damage as a result of a Hurricane or Tropical Storm are entitled to replacement and repair costs, as well as “punitive” damages and attorneys fees for any delay caused by the insurance company’s denial or underpayment of your claim .
The Insurance Company’s Fiduciary Duty to their Insureds
As an insured party in the state of Texas, home owners with insurance policies are owed a financial fiduciary duty from their insurance carriers. This fiduciary responsibility requires the home owner’s insurance company to act in good faith in terms of response and management of the claim that they file. The state of Texas has a set of codes that insurance companies must comply with when handling a home owner’s claim. And, in the event that they are not adhered to, some home owner’s may be entitled to a financial settlement.
While some Texas home owners will decide to try and fight their insurance claims on their own, others will turn to the expertise of Galveston and Houston hurricane lawyers. These individuals have the training and expertise to assist home owners with their hurricane insurance disputes, working as an advocate to recover the financial compensation that their clients are entitled to.
What does a Typical Texas Homeowners’ Policy Cover?
On average, a standard homeowners’ policy in Texas will cover:
- Home: Any structural damage to the home and adjacent structures like a garage, a fence, etc.
- Personal Property: theft of or damage to personal belongings within the home.
- Uninhabitability: Any living expenses resulting from loss of use of the home due to damage.
- Mold: Most mold damage, as long as the mold is the result of a covered loss under the policy.
Why Hire a Hurricane Damage Attorney?
Galveston and Houston residents who lost their homes during Hurricane Ike constantly contact our hurricane lawyers, complaining that their insurance company is coming back with appraisal values that are substantially less than the actual cost to fix or rebuild their house.
The Hurricane Attorneys at Zehl & Associates have a team of engineers and public adjusters who we regularly use to evaluate property values and damages, and refute the insurance company’s inadequate bid. It’s important to work with a Texas insurance lawyer who has experience with property damage and insurance claims so that you receive fair value for your property that was damaged during Hurricane Ike.
The Insurance Company’s Deadlines to Either Pay or Deny your Claim
There are many important timelines you need to be aware of when filing a claim with an insurance company. Under the Texas Insurance Code, insurance companies are required to pay claims in a “timely and prompt manner”.
The Texas Insurance Code, however, goes even further by imposing specific timelines on insurance companies to acknowledge, investigate and either pay or deny a claim.
Once the property owner files a claim with their insurance company, the company is required to:
- Acknowledge and begin investigating the claim, as well as request any necessary statements, items or forms within 15 days;
- Notify claimant as to the acceptance or denial of his or her claim within 15 business days (the insurance company may request up to 45 additional days to complete this step);
- Pay the accepted claim within 60 days of receiving any requested material;
- Pay the accepted claim no later than 5 business days after notification of impending payment;
- Pay the accepted claim no later than 5 business days after claimant performs any required action upon which payment is conditional.
How to Protect Yourself from Unscrupulous Contractors
Unfortunately, even in a time of disaster, there will always be those who seek to capitalize off of the misfortune of others. While many contractors are good, hard-working people doing their best to assist in the recovery, there are a number of unqualified contractors who have been taking advantage of people who sustained property damage during the hurricane.
Here are a few tips to help keep you from being victimized:
- Use a local or in-state contractor wherever possible. This will make it easier to verify the contractor’s credentials, insurance information and even reputation through the local Better Business Bureau
- Create a record of any and all repairs made by paying with a check, credit card, money order or any other traceable means of payment. Never pay in cash. In addition, keep any and all relevant receipts and invoices from the contractor himself.
- Accompany the contractor to the hardware store in order to purchase any necessary supplies. Do not give the contractor cash up front.
- Review everything before you sign it. There may be additional charges hidden on top of the contractor’s initial bid.
Contact Our Experienced Hurricane Damage Attorneys For a Free Consult at 1-888-603-3636
If you or someone you know has been denied or underpaid on a property damage claim caused by Hurricane Ike, call or click here to email an experienced Bad Faith Insurance Dispute lawyer at Zehl & Associates PC today for a free case evaluation.