Water damage repair is one of the most expensive endeavors a homeowner or business can undertake. Under most policies, your homeowners or flood insurance should cover the cost to repair water damage and remediate mold that results from water intrusion. Whether the damage is covered under your homeowners or flood insurance policy will depend on the cause of the water intrusion.
Here at Alex R Hernandez Jr. Business Law, we help homeowners get the compensation they deserve from their insurance companies. If you have been denied a water damage claim, your insurance company is taking an unreasonable amount of time to settle your claim, or you were given a lowball settlement, our insurance claim lawyers can help.
Insurance companies try to minimize their losses, even when it involves not fulfilling their duty to act in good faith when an insured files a claim. The fact of the matter is that they do this because they can. Most insureds won’t fight back and the insurance companies know this. However, when you and your insurance provider signed a policy that allows for a certain amount of damage compensation and your insurance is not following through when you need them to, then that is not okay. Our Texas insurance claim lawyers can help you settle your case and try to get you the money you deserve to repair your home after water damage.
Water Damage Has Lasting Effects
After your home is flooded, you likely call in some experts to remove the water. When your insurance adjuster shows up, they see that the drywall and carpet may need to be replaced. What they might avoid acknowledging, though, is that water damage today can lead to serious mold, decay, and rot in the coming months and years. These issues can cause a domino effect of health problems, including respiratory issues, asthma, itchy and irritated eyes, and lung damage. The health issues can be even more pressing if the water has overflowed from a sewer or flown through the streets before entering your home.
Unfortunately, our area is no stranger to flooding and water damage. With our low elevation and proximity to the Gulf, it is not uncommon for tropical storms and hurricanes to inundate our region with heavy rain and rising water levels. This means there are hundreds of thousands of Texans every year who file a flood damage insurance claim with the insurance provider they’ve been paying for years in order to protect their home. When their clients call upon the insurance companies to pay for damages caused by floodwater, the insurance companies turn a blind eye and either deny their claims or offer them a lowball settlement, assuming that they’ll take it.
Your insurance company has a duty to act in your best interest, and when they fail to do that, you might have an insurance claim case against them.
Understanding Your Insurance Policy
Homeowners insurance can be confusing for people who buy it but have not had to use it. Or, even if you’ve called on your insurance company for a claim before, you might still not fully understand what you are entitled to. When you purchase homeowners insurance, it is vital to understand what is covered and what isn’t, especially in a region like ours that is prone to flooding. It can be easy to think, “Well, the insurance agency is the expert here, so they know what they’re talking about.” And you’d be right. The insurance agency is the expert… at settling claims where they still come out on top and assuming that the average insured will accept the first offer they get.
Of course, not all insurance agencies are bad. There are many insurance agencies who do want to work in your best interest. And if you are working with one of those, you are likely not reading this blog! At the end of the day, insurance providers have a business to run. They make money by banking on the hope that their collective insureds will pay more in premiums than the company will dole out in claims.
If you have been presented with a settlement that seems low, your claim was outright denied, your insurance company is not responding to your claim, or your providers are trying to blame the damage on events that are not covered by your policy when that isn’t actually the case, then we can evaluate your case and offer a second opinion.
Where Did The Water Come From?
Many homeowners insurance policies will cover “water damage.” Unfortunately, as a lot of people find out too late, this is not the same as “flood damage.” This is, understandably, upsetting for a lot of homeowners who file a water damage claim after a flood tears through the area. Living near the Gulf, it is strongly encouraged, and in some places required, to purchase flood insurance.
However, not everyone knows or wants to purchase flood insurance. Reports estimate that less than 20% of victims of Hurricane Harvey had flood insurance, and nearly half of the victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy did not have flood insurance. These storms caused billions and billions of dollars in damage to homes, much of which was not covered by insurance.
Are Hurricanes Covered Under Flood Damage?
Now, to deliver more bad news. Most homeowners insurance policies cover wind damage. One would think that the combination of homeowners insurance and flood insurance would then protect them from the wind and rain from hurricanes. However, in certain areas where hurricanes are common, wind damage can be excluded from the homeowners policy. For this reason, it is vital to thoroughly read through your insurance policy before an incident happens.
The main difference between whether or not damage caused by water is eligible for a water damage claim or a flood damage claim is where the water came from. Typically, water damage is covered under homeowners insurance when the water causing the damage has not come in contact with the ground. This means that, under most homeowners insurance policies, heavy rain that leaks through your roof is covered, but heavy rain that causes a river to overflow onto your property is not.
Some examples of water damage that are usually covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy are burst or frozen pipes, bad plumbing, water damage that results from putting out a fire, overflow of a toilet/washing machine, vandalism (for example, if your neighbor puts his garden hose through your window), and mold that results from a covered water damage. Water damage that is often not covered includes flash floods, sewer backups, and storm surges.
Call An Insurance Claim Lawyer
Our water damage attorneys can evaluate your policy and provide a second opinion to see if you should be getting more than your insurance provider is offering. An insurance claims lawyer will represent you to your insurance company and negotiate on your behalf, and if needed, file a lawsuit and take the insurance provider to trial to get you the benefits you are entitled to under your policy.
This will not be your insurance lawyer’s first rodeo. They have experience fighting the insurance providers and know how to maximize your claim settlement. Get in touch with our residential and commercial insurance claims lawyers and let’s start the process of getting you what you deserve.