Texas Homeowner Insurance Claim Attorneys
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. We have a history of obtaining successful verdicts and settlements for our clients, totaling over $10 billion. To learn how we can help you, call (888) 493-1629 for a free consultation.
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:
If one of these disasters happens to your home, then 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 temporary 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 were to strike. 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 your 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 your 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 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. Fill out our online form to schedule a consultation today.