For property owners throughout the Houston region, Hurricane Harvey’s excessive rainfall and flooding has caused extensive damage to their homes and businesses. As we reported earlier today, costs incurred by this storm could top $20 billion—making a smooth and fair insurance claims process more vital than ever.
Unfortunately, an already-difficult Harvey insurance claims process is only going to get worse for property owners beginning this Friday, meaning homeowners affected by the hurricane should submit their notice of a claim before September 1.
House Bill 1774 takes effect on September 1st—a bill that reduces the penalties insurance companies face when they pay claims late, increases the likelihood that property owners have to pay for attorneys’ fees out of their own pocket, and protects insurance agents from liability. Frankly, it’s a bill that favors the insurance industry over the needs of the insured.
(Note: the new law does not affect those insured by federal flood insurance or the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association).
The effect of these industry protections will immediately impact afflicted owners—forcing cases into federal courts, extending the time it takes for you to receive relief, and making it easier for companies to drag their feet in paying your claim. It may even make it harder for you to find a lawyer to take your case.
The only way around HB 1774 is to file your claim before it takes effect. For more information, read this recent story from Community Impact.
How Do I File an Insurance Claim?
You’re going to have to get started immediately—which is unthinkable but necessary, considering the state Houston’s residents are in right now. However, you have the resources you need to get back on your feet and working on your claim as quickly as possible. First, consult this handy FAQ written for property owners afflicted by Hurricane Harvey.
Written by consumer rights group Texas Watch, the FAQ spells out:
- How to inspect your property
- How to pay for a motel
- How to communicate with your insurance
- What HB 1774 actually does
- How to shop for contractors
- And more.
If you’ve never filed an insurance claim before, know that you can hire an attorney to negotiate on your behalf with your insurance company. An insurance claims attorney can also handle your paperwork, hire someone to evaluate the damage to your property, and ensure that your settlement is fair.
For help with your Hurricane Harvey claim and to get answers immediately, call (888) 493-1629 or contact us online.