Navigating Water Damage Insurance Claims:
What You Need to Know About Water Damage Claims in Texas.
Did your pipes freeze and burst in 2021 when Texas was covered in ice? Did you your home and contents get saturated and force you to stay in a hotel to survive? If you found it hard to get additional living expenses paid and your damaged contents accurately valued by your insurance company, you are not alone. Millions of Texans suffered devastating property losses from the Texas Freeze.
Water damage can be a devastating experience for homeowners and business owners alike. Water damage can result in significant financial loss and emotional distress, whether caused by a burst pipe, severe weather, or other factors. Filing an insurance claim can be essential to recovery in such situations. However, making a water damage insurance claim can be complicated and overwhelming.
Common Causes of Water Damage
There are a variety of causes for water intrusion in residential and commercial properties. Water damage can range from a small roof leak to a building that is entirely flooded. Regardless of the extent, the source of water damage on your property (e.g. sudden burst pipe, gradual leak, natural disaster) is critical to determine whether water damage is covered under your insurance policy. The following are some of the most common causes of water damage:
- Broken or damaged pipes;
- Clogged Drains;
- Damaged roof;
- Sump pump problems;
- Structural damage;
- Window damage;
- Severe weather or natural disasters;
- Leaking sprinkler systems;
- Damaged HVAC unit/system;
Types of Water Damage Covered by Insurance:
Before filing a water damage insurance claim, it's crucial to understand the types of water damage typically covered by insurance policies. Generally, insurance policies cover sudden and accidental water damage caused by the following events:
- Burst pipes
- Leaking roofs or windows
- Faulty plumbing or appliances
- Flooding due to severe weather or natural disasters
- Sewer backups
However, it's important to note that not all water damage is covered by insurance. For example, insurance policies typically do not cover water damage resulting from gradual wear and tear, neglect, or intentional acts.
Filing a Water Damage Insurance Claim:
If your property has suffered water damage, it's essential to act quickly and take the following steps to file a water damage insurance claim:
- Document the damage: Take photos or videos, including any affected personal property or inventory.
- Contact your insurance company: Notify your insurance company as soon as possible and provide them with the necessary documentation. Most insurance companies have a 24/7 claims hotline that you can call.
- Meet with the adjuster: The insurance company will send an adjuster to your property to assess the damage and determine the cost of repairs or replacement.
- Review your policy: Review your insurance policy carefully to ensure you understand what is covered and what is not. Be sure to ask any questions you may have.
- File the claim: Once you and the adjuster have agreed on the cost of repairs or replacement, you can file the claim and receive the necessary funds to start the restoration process.
Negotiating with Your Insurer:
Negotiating with your insurer can be daunting, but ensuring you receive the total compensation you are entitled to be essential. Here are some tips for dealing with your insurer:
- Be prepared: Gather all the necessary documentation, including photos, videos, and repair estimates, to support your claim.
- Stay organized: Keep track of all communication with your insurer, including emails, phone calls, and letters.
- Know your rights: Familiarize yourself with your insurance policy and your rights as a policyholder.
- Consider hiring a public adjuster: If you need help negotiating with your insurer, consider hiring a public adjuster to represent you.
What if My Business Closes Due to Water Damage?
If your business closes due to water damage and you have a loss of business income or had to incur extra expenses to continue operations, your policy may include coverage for such losses. Let the property damage attorneys at the Cedrick D. Forrest Law Firm review your policy and represent you in your claim for damage to your business property.
At The Cedrick D. Forrest Law Firm, our property damage insurance attorneys provide fierce advocacy for our neighbors and the socioeconomically diverse communities who need us most.
We are the law firm that frustrated property owners turn to when the insurance companies fail to act in good faith. When there was a shortage of materials and contractors available, we understood the urgency of getting carriers to quickly pay the additional living expenses our clients needed to weather the freeze.
Our property damage insurance attorneys owe it to our clients to provide the expertise and resources needed to prove your water damage is covered under your policy. If your water damage claim is denied, that's not the end of the story. It's the beginning of the battle. Choose the property damage insurance attorneys at Cedrick Forrest Law to fight your battle to get the just and right settlement you deserve.
Frequently Asked Questions About Water Damage Claims
Q: How long does receiving compensation for a water damage insurance claim take?
A: The time it takes to receive compensation for a water damage insurance claim can vary depending on the damage's severity and the claim's complexity. Typically, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to receive compensation.
Q: Will my insurance policy cover the cost of temporary housing while my property is restored?
A: Many insurance policies include coverage for temporary housing or additional living expenses while your property is being restored. However, reviewing your policy to understand the coverage limits and requirements is essential.
Q: Can I file a water damage insurance claim for damage caused by a flood?
A: If your property has suffered water damage due to a flood, you may be able to file a claim under a separate flood insurance policy. Standard homeowners' insurance policies typically do not cover flood damage.
Q: Will my insurance policy cover the entire water damage restoration cost?
A: The coverage limits of your insurance policy will determine the maximum amount you can receive for water damage restoration. However, it's important to note that insurance companies often use a formula to determine the actual cash value of your property, which may result in a lower payout than you expect.
Q: Is Water Damage Covered by My Insurance Policy?
A: The answer depends on your policy language. It is important to note that insurance coverage varies by company and policy. Like any other binding contract, the language and any addendums will be critical to determining coverage in the case of water damage. A careful review of your policy is necessary to understand your exact coverages; this fact is especially critical for water damage claims.
Most homeowner and renters policies cover sudden and accidental water damage. Common examples would include burst pipes, toilet overflow, or broken washer hose. Generally, if mold develops on a damaged item as a result of sudden or accidental water damage, it would also be covered. However, most base policies won't cover mold cleanup and testing after damaged items are removed; you may have elected an optional coverage for such events.
Insurance policies usually won't cover damage from gradual leaks or seepage and any resulting mold damage therefrom.
Texas is particularly prone to floods. Generally, homeowners/dwelling insurance policies do not cover damage to your property resulting from a flood. You will need separate flood insurance coverage. If you live in a designated flood zone, your mortgage lender may require you to have flood insurance. Most flood insurance policies cover damage to your home up to a specified limits; you will need additional coverage for personal belongings.
As with a homeowners/dwelling policy, most commercial property policies do not cover damage from flooding and may require separate coverage. The extent of the coverage will be governed by the specific language of your insurance policy.
As with a homeowners/dwelling policy, insurance coverage for water damage to a commercial property is governed by the specific language of your insurance policy. Generally, there are three levels of commercial property coverage. Each level protects against different causes of damage. They are:
•Basic form policies. They usually provide the least coverage. They usually cover damage caused by fire, windstorms, hail, lightening, explosions, smoke, vandalism, sprinkler leakage, aircraft and vehicle collisions, riots and civil commotion, sinkholes, and volcanoes.
•Broad form policies. Usually cover the causes of loss listed above in the basic form policies, as well as damage from leaking appliances, structural collapses, falling objects, and weight of ice, sleet, or snow.
•Special form policies. These policies provide the most coverage and usually cover damage from all causes of loss except those specifically excluded under the terms of the policy (i.e. “Exclusions”). Most commercial policies exclude damages from floods, earth movement, war, nuclear disaster, wear and tear, and insects and vermin.
A careful review of your policy is necessary to understand your exact coverages. The skilled water damage attorneys at the Cedrick D. Forrest Law Firm are more than capable to review your policy and identify all coverages applicable to compensate you for your water damage.
What Can I Do After Having Water Damage?
From the outset, it is important to understand that every case of damage caused by water has its unique circumstances that must be assessed individually. Assuming you have an insurance policy, your rights and responsibilities with respect to coverage should be specified in your policy.
The following are some suggestions for what to address following water damage to your property.
Do not make any permanent or full repairs until your insurance company has had an opportunity to inspect your property.
Review Your Policy.
You should review your insurance policy to confirm that your property is covered for the type of event that led to the fire damage.
Preserve as much evidence as possible. Take pictures, videos, document damage, etc.
File Your Claim.
If coverage applies, contact your insurance company to file your claim. If you need help filing your claim, book a FREE consultation with our attorneys today.
Property damage claims can often be complex and daunting. It is important to contact a skilled property damage lawyer from the outset of your claim to ensure your rights are not jeopardized. The attorneys at the Cedrick D. Forrest Law Firm are always ready and able to assist you with your property damage claim.
Schedule your FREE policy or case review here.
Large Loss Property Insurance Law Firm
We handle all types of commercial and residential property insurance claims throughout Texas.
Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions about your claim.
What Can I Expect from My Insurer After Having Property Damage?
In Texas, insurers are legally required to abide by the deadlines set out in Texas Insurance Code §542.001, et. seq. in the assessment and resolution of your insurance claim. Failure to comply with these deadlines in the resolution of a covered claim can result in interest penalties and attorney's fees.
The following represent the statutory deadlines that your insurer must generally comply with:
Within 15 calendar days after receiving notice of your claim, your insurer must:
(1) acknowledge receipt of the claim;
(2) commence an investigation of the claim; and
(3) request from you all items, statements, and forms the insurer reasonably believes, at the time, will be required from you.
If your insurer could not make a determination within the above timeframes, they must accept or reject your claim within 45 days after they informed you of their need for additional time. Tex. Ins. Code. § 542.056.
If your insurer notifies you that it is going to pay your claim, then it must pay you within 5 business days after the notice is given. If payment of the claim, or part of the claim, is conditioned on you performing an act (e.g. providing a signed document), the insurer is only required to pay within 5 business days after you perform the act.
There are several legal nuances involved with your insurer's legal obligations to process your claim in good faith. It is important that you have a skilled property damage attorney to help navigate through the complex deadlines and responsibilities of your insurer.
Contact the skilled property damage lawyers at The Cedrick D. Forrest Law Firm today.
The Cedrick D. Forrest Law Firm and Water Damage Insurance Claims
When greedy insurance companies fail to treat you fairly, the experienced property insurance lawyers at The Cedrick D. Forrest Law Firm are here to step in and get you the compensation you are owed.
Your home is your castle and our property insurance lawyers are here to protect your investment and give your case the attention it needs to bring about the settlement you are justly entitled to.
Our firm works on a 100% contingency fee basis for your insurance claim.
That means that when a case is taken on, we use our own money and resources to fight for clients. We will investigate, go to court, hire experts, and do whatever is necessary to win your case. We will never ask for any money upfront for contingency matters. No money is owed by the client to us if no monetary recovery is made. That is our promise.
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Having your insurance claim denied by the insurance company and navigating the dispute process can be stressful and confusing. Insurance companies count on you not understanding your rights and not seeking legal help. That's why we have made it as easy as possible to get your questions answered. Click the contact button to speak with an available attorney. It's fast, simple, and the first step to getting maximum compensation. We also offer no-contact video consultations.
Frequently Asked Questions About Water Damage Claims
How long does receiving compensation for a water damage insurance claim take?
The time it takes to receive compensation for a water damage insurance claim can vary depending on the damage's severity and the claim's complexity. Typically, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to receive compensation.
Will my insurance policy cover the cost of temporary housing while my property is restored?
Many insurance policies include coverage for temporary housing or additional living expenses while your property is being restored. However, reviewing your policy to understand the coverage limits and requirements is essential.
Can I file a water damage insurance claim for damage caused by a flood?
If your property has suffered water damage due to a flood, you may be able to file a claim under a separate flood insurance policy. Standard homeowners' insurance policies typically do not cover flood damage.
Will my insurance policy cover the entire water damage restoration cost?
The coverage limits of your insurance policy will determine the maximum amount you can receive for water damage restoration. However, it's important to note that insurance companies often use a formula to determine the actual cash value of your property, which may result in a lower payout than you expect.