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Hurricane Harvey Flood Claim Lawyer

Why You May Need a Lawyer for Hurricane Harvey Insurance Claims

As many homeowners are now learning, filing an insurance claim for damages caused by Hurricane Harvey is not a straightforward process. In this section of our ongoing series on insured property damage due to Hurricane Harvey, the insurance claim lawyer at the Doan Law Firm will explain how a property damage lawyer can help you receive the best possible settlement for your insured losses.

Covered and uncovered losses vs deductibles

When a property damage insurance policy is written, it is practically never “all-inclusive.” This simply means that some portions of your property may not be included in such coverage. This can be a complex area of insurance law and it is always best discussed with a property damage insurance claim lawyer. In practice, the most common terms that you may encounter are covered losses, uncovered losses, and deductible charges.

A covered loss is any loss that the insurance company has specifically agreed to pay within the terms of its contract (policy) with you. Since most insurance policies will cover essentially the same losses, it is often necessary to understand what an uncovered loss is and how such losses can impact the insurance claim process.

Uncovered losses are those that the insurance carrier has no legal obligation to pay. Uncovered losses may be those where the property to be insured includes objects that have no “real” value in terms of dollars and cents but whose value is, for the greatest part, “personal” or “sentimental” in nature. An uncovered loss can also result from how the damages were incurred, as explained below.

As many property owners are only now learning, in most cases damage due to flooding is not covered by a basic homeowner policy unless 1) the homeowner purchased a separate flood insurance policy from a federal or state insurance program or 2) the homeowner purchased additional flood damage coverage, sometimes called a “rider,” from the same company that provided the homeowner’s basic insurance. Also, any damages that are the direct result of a deliberate act of commission or omission (something that you did or did not do) by the policy holder are usually not covered by insurance.

Finally, the deductible portion of a property damage claim refers to the portion of a claim that is the responsibility of the policy owner. As an example, let’s assume that a property damage claim is approved for $5,000 and the policy has a deductible of $1,000. The insurance carrier would then pay $4,000 of the loss to, say, a contractor and the policy owner would be responsible for paying the same contractor the deductible of $1,000 to satisfy the contractor’s charge of $5,000.

Time limits for filing an insurance claim

Texas civil law requires that property damage insurance claim must be filed within a certain time limit. This time frame is called the statute of limitations and will vary in its length depending on the type of claim that is being filed. Using a Hurricane Harvey damage claim as an example, any claim for property damages must be filed within two (2) years of the date on which that damage occurred or (and a very important or) within the time limit set forth in your property damage insurance policy.

In practical terms, this means that you should file your claim as soon as possible after the damage occurred. Texas, like other states, is very strict in this requirement and a claim that is filed even one day after the statute of limitations has “run out” will probably be rejected by a state court should it become necessary to present the matter of a disputed claim to the decision of a jury. There have also been recent changes to the Texas rules of law that can impact the timing of lawsuits regarding disputed insurance claims. These changes are best explained by a property insurance lawyer who is familiar with the details of your particular claim.

The Doan Law Firm works for you, not an insurance company!

Given the extent of damage caused by Harvey, it should come as no surprise that there will almost certainly be a slowdown in the rate at which property damage claims are evaluated and paid. In most cases this is can be understood as simply an “overloading” of the claim settlement process. Unfortunately, there will be some insurers that will try to exploit this slowdown to intimidate some policy holders into accepting an undervalued settlement offer.

When you work with the Doan law Firm, we will first help you determine the repair or replacement value of your lost or damaged property and its status under the terms of your insurance coverage. We will then work with your insurance company and its adjusters to make sure that they will honor the terms of your insurance coverage and pay you the settlement that you are entitled to receive. In most cases, you need not be personally involved in all stages of the settlement process since we will be acting on your behalf as your personal representative while your claim is being resolved.

As a personal injury and property damage practice, the Doan Law Firm of Houston has years of experience in dealing with insurance companies, their agents, and insurance adjusters. Let us work for you to help you recover the best dollar-value settlement of your Hurricane Harvey property damage claim.

The Doan Law Firm of Houston (833) FLOOD-LAWYER 1 Riverway Suite 2325 Houston, Texas 77056 (832) 835-0000

Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer

After an accident, the responsible party's insurance company may try to reduce the claim amount. Commonly, insurance adjusters are trained to get information from the injured to assist in reducing the claim. Though some insurers are less guilty of this practice than others, it is important to realize that insurance companies are profit-oriented corporations and reducing claims results in increased profits for shareholders. This can create a situation for the injured in which they are offered a settlement that does not truly reflect the damages suffered. If you accept this settlement, you lose the ability to get more money should your injuries require further medical treatments. It is critical that victims get legal assistance in any personal injury case, and The Doan Law Firm is prepared to fight relentlessly for your rights.

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