Texas comes in second each year (behind only Florida) in terms of the number of hurricanes that make landfall. In a matter of hours, a hurricane can destroy an entire community with devastating financial consequences.
Standard property insurance policies in Texas cover damage caused by a hurricane if it results from wind, rain, or associated losses (although there can be an increased hurricane deductible). Damage caused by flooding is excluded though. That gives insurance companies a way to unjustly deny hurricane damage claims or refuse to pay a fair settlement by classifying damage as caused by floodwater or storm surge, in whole or part, rather than by wind or rain.
Reach Out to a Hurricane Damage Attorney
Dealing with the aftermath of a hurricane can be devastating. Texas homeowners and business owners should not have to face insurance companies acting in bad faith and refusing to pay legitimate claims. If your insurance company has denied, delayed, or underpaid your claim, you may be entitled to monetary compensation and additional financial damages. Contact Wright Commercial Litigation to schedule an initial consultation and learn more about your rights.
Types of Damage Caused by Texas Hurricanes
The damage caused by a hurricane can be catastrophic for homes, commercial businesses, and even industrial property. Such “named storms” typically involve extremely high winds that can take down trees and power lines, leaving people without electricity for many days or weeks after. Debris can be thrown around and collide with your property destroying windows, walls, roofs, and automobiles. High winds can take off portions or all of the roof and cause damage to the interior of a home or business, allowing heavy rain to intrude and result in widespread water damage.
Homeowners who evacuate are often not allowed to return for a long period of time and businesses need to stop operating or face other substantial interruptions. Filing a claim with your insurance company can help you recover the compensation you or your business need to begin repairing the damage, compensate for the disruption, and pay for the losses you’ve sustained..
Does My Insurance Policy Cover Hurricane Damage?
Insurance polices are designed to provide homeowners and business owners with peace of mind. Every insurance policy is different and whether specific damage is covered depends on the exact terms of the policy. Hurricane damage is typically covered under homeowner and commercial property insurance policies as either a “named storm” or by losses resulting from high winds.
Property policies usually cover damage also caused by leaking appliances or burst pipes. Other insurance is typically needed for damage caused by flooding though, whether or not related to a hurricane. Without a separate flood insurance policy, the homeowner or business owner may have difficulty receiving a payout for damages caused by the following:
- Storm surge
- Water from swollen creeks, rivers, or lakes
- Pooling of water caused by heavy rain
Damage Caused by Hurricane Wind
Hurricanes in Texas often have sustained winds ranging from 74 to 156 mph. Heavy winds can blow shingles from the roof, take off stucco, and cause debris to shatter windows. In severe hurricanes, the wind can destroy the entire house. The majority of homeowners’ insurance policies cover damage caused by wind whether related to a hurricane or otherwise. However, some homeowner’s policies partially exclude extremely high wind-related damage. It is important to understand the policy terms.
Is Your Insurance Company Acting in Bad Faith?
Most insurance companies are for-profit enterprises who must continually look for ways to increase revenue and decrease the number of payouts. Even if your adjuster sounds like he or she is trying to help, they may not be acting in your best interest. Some insurance companies seek to become more financially successful by routinely delaying or avoiding paying out on claims much as possible. They have developed numerous strategies and tricks to mitigate losses, especially after a hurricane has caused damage over a widescale area all at once.
Some of the more common tactics involve flat-out denying a claim for hurricane damage when it should be covered under the policy, in the hopes that the policyholder simply will not challenge. If they decide to pay anything, often the first offer is far too low because they know the property owner is desperate to receive any compensation in order to start repairing their home or business. In some cases, insurance adjusters will wrongly categorize property damage from a storm as exceeding the scope of the policy or try to convince you that an exclusion to the policy coverage applies.
Know How to Hold Your Insurance Company Accountable
Wright Commercial Litigation has experience holding insurance companies accountable when they act in bad faith, and knows well the tricks they try to use to avoid paying a claim in full. The firm has a reputation of investigating hard up front to get clients in the best position possible to achieve a successful result for a wide range of insurance types in Texas.
What Should I Do If My Hurricane Damage Claim Was Denied?
Speaking to an attorney is one of the most important things you can do first if you are dealing with a denial of a claim for insurance coverage. Your attorney will be able to carefully review the policy, get the appropriate experts involved, and help you preserve your rights in the meantime. If it becomes necessary, an insurance attorney can work through the insurance policy’s appraisal or appeal processes, and then represent you in court as well. When experienced attorneys get involved to represent a client, the insurance company often becomes more willing to provide a fair settlement.
If the insurance company has or continues to act in bad faith though, an experienced property insurance attorney can help you recover all of the compensation you deserve under your insurance policy and possible additional compensation to punish an insurance company who acts in bad faith. Dealing with the aftermath of a hurricane is difficult enough. You should not have to go through the process of claiming damages alone. Working with an attorney will help you maximize your potential for successfully obtaining all the compensation (and potentially more) that you deserve.
Schedule Your Complimentary Consultation With an Experienced Attorney
Have you experienced hurricane damage that should be covered under your insurance policy? Is your insurance company denying your claim or refusing to reimburse all of your damages? If so, you could benefit from working with an experienced property damage attorney. Wright Commercial Litigation has substantial experience holding insurance companies accountable. Contact the firm today to schedule a free case evaluation and learn more about your rights.