What to Do If You Suffer Losses After a Hurricane
Hurricane Laura strengthened to a Category 4 before barreling into the Texas and Louisiana coast. In addition to damaging winds, the storm brought a catastrophic storm surge that is expected to affect vast amounts of the region. As noted by CBS News, the storm continues on its path of destruction, moving inland and leaving threats of tornadoes and flooding in its wake. In some cases, homes were left completely destroyed, showing only mangled messes of the furniture and things that once inhabited them.
If you suffer losses after a storm, you expect that the insurance company will promptly address your claim and pay you for your losses. Unfortunately, substantial numbers of claims go unanswered, underpaid, or altogether denied in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Insurance companies routinely deny claims, victimizing distraught homeowners.
If your first-party insurance claim is denied after Hurricane Laura, contact Maverick Ray & Associates at (281) 346-9451 or fill out our online contact form for a free consultation.
Preparing for Your Claim After a Storm
If you have suffered losses due to a storm, you need to contact your insurance company as soon as possible to start the claims process.
If you have not already, you will want to:
- Locate your policy information and read through it thoroughly.
- Take pictures or video the damage and document any temporary repairs you made.
- Do not make permanent repairs before the adjuster inspecting the property; only make repairs necessary to prevent further damage.
- Document who you spoke with and when you started the process.
- Make sure you can be present when the adjuster arrives and walk around with them to point out the damages.
- If you disagree with the estimate, you have the right to demand an appraisal.
Your Rights After Filing a Storm-Related Claim for Damages
An insurance company must respond to your claim promptly and start an investigation. If an insurance representative fails to respond to your request or delays the investigation into damages, you may have recourse. Furthermore, if the insurance company denies your claim, they must inform you in writing, and it must be for just cause.
If your weather-related claim is denied, you have the right to appeal and to legal representation. If an insurance company acted in bad faith when denying or underpaying your claim, they might be subject to a lawsuit. The most important thing to remember is that you have rights and should never have to settle for less than your claim is worth.
Ensuring you Receive Maximum Compensation for Your Losses
In order to receive the maximum recovery allowed under your policy, you want to make sure that you:
- Understand your coverage, ask questions, and review your policy.
- Determine whether you have a replacement cost or actual cash value policy.
- Ask whether you can receive advance payment for your losses.
- Verify if you have coverage for temporary living expenses while your property is in disrepair.
- Don’t be afraid to demand an appraisal if the adjuster’s estimate is low.
- Seek legal help if your claim is denied or delayed.
Why You Should Hire an Attorney for Your First-Party Insurance Claim
It can take months or even years to get the compensation you deserve for your losses if your insurance company denies your initial claim. According to the Tampa Bay Times, one year after Hurricane Michael devastated the Florida coast, property owners are still waiting for their claims to be paid. Tens of thousands of people had their claims denied outright despite suffering devastating losses. The headlines are the same for nearly every other major storm that has hit the United States, including Katrina, Sandy, and Harvey.
The Texas Department of Insurance estimates that around 15,500 claims related to damage done by Hurricane Harvey remained unpaid after 16 months. According to their data, by December 31, 2018, over 165,000 homeowner claims had been closed without any loss payment, thousands remained open. Their research showed that the Houston area had the “highest percentage of claims closed without payment at 65 percent.”
Insurance companies use deceptive tactics to deny claims and delay payments, including claiming that the damage was pre-existing, or that the insured does not have the appropriate coverage. If your claim is denied, it may be in your best interest to hire an attorney who knows the law and can hold the insurance company accountable.
At Maverick Ray & Associates, our attorneys are experienced litigators that regularly represent clients in first-party insurance claims. If you suffer losses from Hurricane Laura and your claim is denied, contact our office at (281) 346-9451 to discuss your legal options. Get the aggressive, dedicated representation you need to get the compensation you deserve. Our attorneys are never afraid of a good fight. Let us take on the insurance company for you and help make you whole again after the devastation of Hurricane Laura.