Hurricane Harvey Insurance Claims Lawyers
WAS YOUR PROPERTY DAMAGED AS A RESULT OF HARVEY? IF SO, WE MAY BE ABLE TO HELP YOU!
On August 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas coast as a Category 4 Hurricane packing sustained winds of 130 mph. In a four-day period, the storm dumped more than 40 inches of rain as it meandered over south and central Texas. This rain caused catastrophic flooding, which inundated hundreds of thousands of homes. Property damage resulting from Hurricane Harvey is currently projected to be over $70 billion dollars.
HURRICANE HARVEY INSURANCE CLAIMS
Hundreds of thousands of Texans have already filed insurance claims as a result of the catastrophic property damage caused by Hurricane Harvey. The following types of insurance claims will be the most common.
FLOOD INSURANCE CLAIMS
A flood insurance policy covers water rising from the ground and seeping into a building or home. The Houston area was inundated with flood damage following Hurricane Harvey with hundreds of thousands of home’s flooding. The vast majority of flood policies are written by insurance companies but are really part of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The NFIP is part of FEMA. Unfortunately, many of the homes flooded as a result of Harvey do not have flood insurance coverage. If you are fortunate to have flood insurance, you should give your flood insurance company notice of the claim immediately. Please keep in mind you have to complete a proof of loss within 60 days of the loss. FEMA often extends the proof of loss date for major natural disasters, but this is not guaranteed.
If your insurer has underpaid or denied part of your flood insurance claim, you may have the following options including having your contractor submit a supplemental estimate, providing additional documentation to your adjuster in support of the claim, filing an Appeal with FEMA or requesting appraisal, or filing a lawsuit. Here is a link with more information on those options. https://www.fema.gov/flood-claim-appeals-and-guidance.
WIND DAMAGE CLAIMS
Texas standard homeowner’s insurance policies and commercial insurance policies cover many different perils, including wind damage from Hurricane Harvey. If you have leaking from your ceiling or down your walls, you may have wind damage to your roof or other exterior parts of your home or business that may be covered under your insurance policy. Missing or dislodged shingles can be indications of windstorm damage that could be covered under your home or business policy. You should immediately file a claim with your insurance company if you observe water getting into your home. You should also inspect your roof and home exterior for any damage. You can hire an experienced roofer or contractor to inspect your home for damage. If you observe damage to the exterior or interior of your home, a roofer or contractor informs you of such damage or your suspect your home has damage, you should immediately file a claim with your insurance company.
The insurance company is required to investigate any property damage claim you make. The insurance adjuster will inspect your home and is required under Texas law to search for any damage that may be covered under your Policy. The insurance company has fifteen days to acknowledge your claim and begin investigating your property loss. The insurance company has an additional fifteen business days after it receives all items, statements, and forms reasonably required to secure final proof of loss to accept or reject your claim in writing. The insurance company must pay your claim within five business days after notifying you that your claim is accepted. These deadlines are extended by fifteen days in the event of a major natural disaster like Hurricane Harvey.
If your insurance company misses any of these deadlines on your first-party claim, the insurance company may be subject to interest penalties and attorney fees. Your insurance company may also be found in bad faith for delaying payment or underpaying your windstorm claim when it’s reasonably clear the company should pay. Under Texas law, if the insurance company delays payment of your wind damage claim or wrongfully denies the claim, you may be entitled to damages under the Texas Insurance Code, the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (“DTPA”) and Texas common law. Damages include policy benefits, statutory interest penalties, additional damages (also known as treble damages), attorney fees and court costs.
Wyly & Cook, PLLC has substantial experience and skill in fighting insurance companies who delay or wrongfully deny valid windstorm claims. If your home or business wind damage claim has been delay, denied or underpaid we may be able to help.
Call our experienced and dedicated attorneys at Wyly & Cook, PLLC at 713-236-8330 for a free initial consultation.
COMMERCIAL INSURANCE CLAIMS
Many businesses in the Houston area and south and central Texas were damaged by Hurricane Harvey. These businesses include apartment complexes and condominiums, hotels and motels, office buildings, car dealerships, manufacturing facilities, warehouses, grocery stores, retail stores and restaurants. Coverages that may apply to your business property claims include the following:
- Wind damage coverage;
- Flood damage coverage;
- Business Interruption coverage;
- Loss of use coverage;
- Debris removal coverage;
- Fire damage coverage;
- Tornado coverage;
- Theft or vandalism coverage.
Unfortunately, insurance companies often drag their feet when it comes to paying commercial insurance claims due to the large nature of these losses. Under Texas law, if the insurance company delays payment of your business property damage claim or wrongfully denies the claim, your business may be entitled to damages under the Texas Insurance Code, the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (“DTPA”) and Texas common law. Damages include policy benefits, statutory interest penalties, additional damages (also known as treble damages), attorney fees and court costs.
At Wyly & Cook, PLLC, our team of Houston commercial property claims lawyers have the experience, skill, and dedication necessary to fight the insurance company when it delays, denies, or underpays your valid commercial insurance claim.
Call our experienced and dedicated commercial insurance attorneys at Wyly & Cook, PLLC at 713-236-8330 for a free initial consultation.