Texas Property Damage Attorneys
Helping Homeowners & Businesses Rebuild in Houston & Nationwide
We pay for insurance because we like to feel safe. We know that disaster will strike, we know life throws us curveballs, we know bad things happen to good people sometimes. We buy insurance because it’s worth paying a fee every month if it means avoiding financial ruin when bad things happen to us. It’s why our insurance agents manage to upsell us on new types of coverage—we love knowing that someone has our back.
Unfortunately, insurance companies have repeatedly shown that they don’t have our backs. People have lost their homes to fires, earthquakes, floods, and sudden disaster…only keeping it together because they think “well, at least I’m insured.” What our neighbors don’t realize is insurance companies are designed to give them as little money as possible—putting them on the hook for the damage they were told was covered.
Does this sound familiar to you?
- Your adjuster keeps having to “investigate” the same damage repeatedly.
- The damage report in no way matches what’s found on your property.
- Your insurance company is offering way less than you need.
- Every few weeks, there’s a new reason why your case hasn’t been closed.
This isn’t incompetence—it’s purposeful mishandling of your case to pressure you into either a) giving up, or b) settling for less. Insurers do this to thousands of vulnerable people every year because it is incredibly profitable. Never mind that it is predatory, illegal, and unethical—all that matters is that they save money at the expense of your home, your business, and your family’s well-being.
How to Force Your Insurer to Listen to You
Insurance companies get away with these practices because there’s almost nothing people can do. There’s nothing a bad review, a well-worded email, or an angry phone call can do to make them pay attention to you.
Here’s what you can do: you can call a Texas property damage lawyer.
It doesn’t matter how big your insurance company is—they’ll do anything to avoid going to court. We know this because we’ve faced your insurance company in court before. Our attorneys know every tactic in the book, and we’ve recovered billions for people just like you because we know how to counter your insurer’s every move.
Recovering After Catastrophic Property Loss
If your house or commercial property was destroyed by a natural disaster, the legal team at Arnold & Itkin wants to help. Our Texas insurance attorneys have secured billions of dollars from the nation’s largest insurance companies for our clients. Many lost their homes or businesses in fires, hurricanes, or earthquakes. Our team of claims adjusters, damage assessors, and lawyers level the playing field between clients and their insurers nationwide.
For more information about how we help, read about:
Protecting Homeowners' Rights & Exposing Bad Faith Practices
Insurance companies have paid out billions of dollars to Gulf Coast residents due to destructive hurricane seasons. To make up for their losses, these insurance companies have raised premiums and grown combative when it comes to paying homeowners for their storm damages.
At Arnold & Itkin LLP, we believe homeowners in Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Florida should receive the full benefits of their insurance coverage, allowing them to rebuild their homes, their businesses, and their lives.
Residential Property Claims in Houston, TX
Property damage has devastating consequences. Where you live is more than just a house. It's your home.
In the event of a natural disaster, you need to make sure that you have coverage under residential property insurance of some kind. Those who are faithful policyholders make sure that they are making payments so that if their home sustains damages, they can be paid for and fixed as soon as possible. Most people trust their homeowner's insurance to deliver for them if their property is damaged. All property insurance policies cover different things, so it is best that you fully understand your coverage.
In Texas, many residential property policies will cover things such as:
- Hurricane damage
- Flood damage
- Wind damage
- Other types of related damages
If one of these disasters happens to your home, it is likely that you cannot afford to pay for it out of pocket. When you look to your insurance company, you expect them to provide you with the compensation you need to get your home back to the way it was so you can live life as normal again. If you believe your insurance company is denying you rights to the compensation you deserve, then you can get help. After a disaster, make sure you document the damage as thoroughly as possible, so you have evidence to back up your claims. Then, seek legal help from us.
What Is Covered by Homeowners Insurance?
Standard homeowner policies can cover several key types of property. If you have homeowners insurance and are wondering whether or not certain property damage or loss of property may be covered under your policy, we encourage you to read through our blog and review your policy. The specific details of homeowners insurance coverage may vary depending on the policy you got from your insurance company.
In most cases, homeowners insurance will include four essential coverage areas:
- Your home structure
- Your personal belongings
- Liability protection
- Living expenses in the event of relocation
What Is Your Home Structure Covered From?
If your home has been destroyed or damaged by a disaster listed in your policy, the insurance company will pay for any repairs or rebuilding that is necessary within your coverage limit. Your policy may include coverage for hail, hurricane, lightning, fire, and other disasters. It is important that your policy provides enough coverage for you to rebuild your home if disaster strikes. In a standard policy, you are not covered for earthquake or flood damage and regular wear and tear. You can likely get an additional policy from your insurance company for these issues.
When Are Personal Belongings Covered?
Your personal belongings are typically insured against both theft and disasters. That means if someone was to break into your home and steal your jewelry or expensive electronics, your insurance policy may cover it. Your coverage likely extends to off-premises incidents as well.
In most cases, insurance companies provide 50% to 70% the amount of coverage you have on your home structure.
If you have extremely valuable jewelry, furs, or antiques, it is probably best to get special personal property insurance for these items, as there is a limited amount you can get for them if stolen or destroyed. Other items that are covered include trees, plants, and shrubs. It is also important to check your policy to see if your belongings are covered against issues like riots, vandalism, and explosions.
Why Liability Protection Is So Important
If a friend, family member, or visitor was to be injured on your property, you may be held liable for their damages. The good news is that most homeowner insurance policies include some amount of liability protection. This coverage can also extend to property damage that you or your family members cause to other people such as damaged furniture or other belongings. The liability portion of your policy can be used to cover both court costs and compensation to the victim. It is recommended that people have at least $300,000 in liability protection or more. Keep in mind, this coverage doesn’t count for damage done in your own home or injuries caused to any family members who are on your policy.
Getting Additional Expenses Covered
While having protection for home damage is important, so is having protection for additional expenses you will face when the damage occurs. If a fire, storm, or other insured disaster forces you to leave your home while repairs or work is being done, the expenses you incur will be covered. This can include hotel bills, costs of eating out, and any other living expenses you wouldn’t normally have when in your own home. There are usually limits on these policies, which means you can only be compensated for a certain amount depending on the extent of coverage.
What to Do If Your Homeowners Insurance Claim Is Denied
Insurance provides homeowners with peace of mind. In exchange for paying a monthly or yearly premium, they can sleep soundly knowing that if their home is damaged by a catastrophe, their insurance policy will cover the damages. At least, that is how it is supposed to work. Unfortunately, homeowners often discover that the insurance company is not always eager to hold up its end of the bargain. Even though insurance companies are required by law to honor all legitimate claims, they often look for any reason to avoid having to pay an insurance claim.
Here are some common reasons insurance companies deny homeowners claims.
Lack of Coverage
Many people assume a homeowners insurance policy covers any damage to the house. That is not always true. Insurance policies are written to cover damage from specific occurrences and may exclude coverage for certain losses. For example, if your home was damaged in a flood from surface water, but you do not have a separate flood insurance policy, your claim may be denied. When purchasing an insurance policy, make sure you read the policy carefully so that you know what is covered.
Failure to Fulfill a Condition of Coverage
Some insurance policies have conditions that you must comply with in order for the insurance company to honor its agreement. For example, if you have not kept up with premiums, your claim may be denied. There also may be conditions that require you to mitigate the damage to the home as much as possible.
Falsified Insurance Application
The moment you file a claim, the insurance company is likely to review it. They will compare the information provided in that application with the information provided in your claim and identify inconsistencies. If the insurance company can find anything that appears to be falsified, exaggerated, or omitted on the initial application, it may be grounds for denial of your claim.
What You Can Do If Your Insurance Claim Is Denied
Many people receive a claim denial and give up hope. It is important to know that you have legal options available.
If you received a denial notice for your homeowner insurance claim:
Review the Denial Letter
The first thing to do is identify the reason for the denial. If the reason your claim was denied is not listed, contact your insurance company and demand they tell you why it was denied. The insurance company has a legal obligation to provide you with that information.
Review Your Insurance Policy
Next, review your policy carefully to determine what is covered. Remember, your policy is a legal document and the insurance company is required to honor it. After reviewing your policy, if you believe the insurance company improperly denied your claim, begin gathering evidence to support your position. This will include things like communications you have had with the insurance company and pictures of the damage to your home. The more evidence you have to support you position, the easier it will be to win your case.
File an Appeal
After compiling your evidence, you can file an appeal directly with your insurance company. There is no guarantee that the insurance company will reverse its decision. Regardless, it does not hurt to try.
File a Lawsuit
You may also file a lawsuit against the insurance company. To do so, consult with a qualified and experienced insurance attorney about your potential case. Your Texas property damage attorney can help you determine whether your claim was improperly denied and file a lawsuit on your behalf based on the applicable homeowner’s insurance laws in your state.
About Gulf Coast Hurricane Insurance Disputes
Hurricanes and tropical storms can inflict substantial damage, from the wind and rain of the storm itself to the destruction, mold, and debris left behind in the storm's wake. Homeowners may face repairs to roofs, foundations, drywall, insulation, decks, porches, and garages. In extreme cases, a home might be damaged beyond repair. We can review your policy to determine the extent of your coverage and amount of deductibles.
We may find your policy covers structural repairs as well as water damage, mold damage, electrical problems, and repairs to buildings on your property, such as a garage. You may also be entitled to living expenses that cover the cost of shelter while you are waiting for your repairs to be completed.
Generally, policies will cover wind and rain damage but exclude flood damage. If you have not obtained flood coverage from the National Flood Insurance Program administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), you likely won't receive any money for flood repairs. However, don't let insurance companies take advantage of your lack of flood coverage. An insurance company may try to avoid making a full claims payment by saying your damage was caused by flooding rather than a peril that is covered in your policy. We can help you overcome this tactic by deploying qualified inspectors, appraisers, and other experts to examine your home's damages and determine the cause of your losses.
Other methods the insurance companies use to escape full claims payments are:
- Requiring unnecessary documentation or a series of follow-up inspections or interviews;
- Admitting you have a legitimate claim but delaying payments without any justifiable excuse;
- Denying your claim without making a proper inspection of your home; and
- Simply refusing to pay your claim despite overwhelming evidence in support of it.
We have a strong grasp of common insurance industry practices and know how to expose weaknesses in their arguments. If you are a homeowner whose insurance claim has turned into a dispute, you can rely on us to fight for your full, fair, and timely compensation.
Helping People Discover Hope for the Future
“Catastrophic property loss” is too clinical a name for what it is—it’s a tragedy. Losing a home, a business, or a family inheritance is ruinous, emotionally and financially. Our clients haven’t just lost “buildings” or “assets.” They’ve lost an entire lifetime of building, dreaming, and investing in the future. We stand by our clients because profound loss demands support. It demands justice.
Our Texas property damage lawyers are here to help when insurance companies deny, delay, or discount people’s claims.
Insurance companies have promised to provide for you when you need them most. We have seen far too many companies leave families and business owners with nothing during the most difficult time of their lives. We saw it during Hurricane Ike, Hurricane Harvey, the California wildfires, and countless other natural disasters nationwide. Arnold & Itkin will not stand by when this happens to our clients.
Residential & Commercial Property Claims
Insurance claims should be straightforward: you file a claim with your property insurance company, they inspect the damage, and the insurance company sends you a check for your loss.
However, the actual process often involves months of delays and insultingly-low settlement offers, leaving homeowners and businesses without relief or the ability to rebuild.
Insurance companies do this on purpose. By delaying your payment, the insurance companies hope to pressure you into accepting a low offer. It’s an industry-wide practice that robs policyholders of the funds they need to rebuild their lives. These predatory practices are not acceptable. Our firm has fought against these practices for well over a decade and consistently won for our clients.
Property Damage Claim FAQ
What happens when an adjuster comes to my house to look at property damage?
If you filed a property damage claim, the insurance company will send someone to inspect your property. This is the insurance adjuster, and you need to remember that he or she works for the insurance company. They may seem friendly enough, but they do not work for you. They are there to see what the insurance company will need to pay for your claim, and part of their job is to limit their employer’s expenses. This means a lower payout for you—if you're not careful.
The insurance adjuster will inspect your property to see what was damaged. He or she will also ask you questions about the damage and what condition your property was in before the damage occurred. Having an attorney at this stage of your claim can be very helpful. You need to be prepared for the adjuster and should have the right documentation so you get the fair value of your claim. A skilled attorney can protect your interests during every part of your property damage claim.
Do I need an attorney to help with my property damage claim?
This is a question that you’ll ultimately have to answer for yourself, but if you are experiencing any delays or problems with your property damage claim, or if you have a claim involving a significant amount of damage, you will probably benefit from an attorney’s help. An experienced insurance claim attorney will know how to deal with delays and will know how to recognize bad faith practices that are violations of your rights. With the right representation, you can seek a settlement that covers all your property damage.
If you’ve been the victim of bad faith insurance practices, you may be able to file a lawsuit to recover the full value of your property damage claim—plus damages.
Who Is Responsible for Repairing My Condo?
In the event that your condo undergoes damage from a natural disaster or sustains another type of serious damage, you may be wondering who is responsible for getting your property back to the way it was. If your condo was damaged then maybe your neighbor's property was also damaged, since you share a property with other people in a communal living arrangement. Be familiar with your particular condominium association and find out who has property insurance rights and who is required to do what in the event of a disaster that causes damage.
WHY IS MY CLAIM TAKING SO LONG?
Insurance companies often delay claims to pressure policyholders into accepting a low settlement. In other cases, they may even deny a claim at the end of a long process because policyholders statistically give up after a long wait. Most people just want the situation to be resolved. Delayed payment is part of a documented effort by the insurance industry to increase their profits, which has fueled the industry's transformation from a service model to a profit-generation model.
WHY WOULD I WANT A LAWYER TO FILE MY CLAIM?
The fear of a trial often compels insurance companies to handle claims honestly. Having a lawyer file your claim gives your insurance company a choice: treat you fairly or deal with litigation.
HOW LONG DOES A BUSINESS INTERRUPTION CLAIM USUALLY TAKE?
On average, a business interruption claim takes between several months to a little over a year. Business interruption claims require a great deal of documentation to prove.
Schedule a Free Consultation Today: (888) 493-1629
Our team hates seeing how insurance companies treat people. Families and businesses shouldn’t be paying thousands of dollars a year only to be treated like nobodies in their moment of need. It may seem like there are hundreds of complicated hoops that you have to jump through in order to get the coverage that you know you already deserve. Arnold & Itkin knows how to make these cases move forward. We understand that you need help getting your life back to normal after an accident, and we want to help you get there.
Not sure if you have a case? Need to know what to do next? Call our Texas property damage lawyers at (888) 493-1629.