Now is the time to pay close attention to your Texas commercial properties, in relation to proper insurance coverage, and the Texas insurance property damage claims process!
Texas Hail claim attorneys in Houston, Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio, historically have seen an increase in commercial property damage claims during this time of the year.
Sometimes, these claims might even be underpaid, denied, or delayed, by the insurance carrier. If you experience any of these all too common occurrences, feel free to reach out to us here, at The Voss Law Firm, P.C., for a fee evaluation of your commercial property claims.
Do I Have Adequate Commercial Property Insurance Coverage?
It is wise to always check in with your insurance agent for a yearly review of your policies. Remember to have your agent review with you, the specifics regarding the following key components of the policy (as discussed in earlier VLF blogs):
- Policy Limits
Put aside your deductible. Insurance companies commonly require different deductibles for natural disasters. Hurricane deductibles can be much greater than those for other types of damage, so it may be worth it to put the full amount of the deductible in a dedicated account.
- Specific Perils covered
Pay attention to the details. The damage caused by hurricanes and other natural disasters is rarely straightforward, and many insurers use this confusion to their advantage. For example, while a policy may state that your business is covered for water damage, it may only apply to water that enters through the roof (rainwater) and not water that entered through a broken pipe or backed-up sewer system. Some policies even exclude wind-driven rain, only paying out when the rain has entered a structure after direct storm damage.
Look for exceptions. What won’t be covered in your policy is just as important as what will. All policies have exceptions—such as flooding damage or earthquakes—which provide ways for an insurer to wriggle out of providing coverage. Find out what specific types of exclusions you have in your current in policy and consider buying separate coverage to fill in the gaps.
- Type of policy- RCV vs. ACV.
What Is Actual Cash Value (ACV)?
Actual cash value (ACV) policies typically have lower premiums than RCV policies, and for good reason: they provide less in compensation when a claim is made. The insurance term “actual cash value” is the amount that a lost item was actually worth, a result of subtracting any depreciation the item has sustained prior to loss from the cost of replacement.
Depreciation is key in ACV claims, because an item can lose thousands in value depending on the condition it was in before the loss. Insurers calculate depreciation using the age of the lost item and the amount of wear and tear it had suffered while in your possession. If your roof was ten years old and in poor condition, your insurer will likely not pay anywhere near the amount it will take to replace the entire roof.
Have My Commercial Properties Been Inspected Lately?
It is also wise to have a quarterly inspection by an independent inspector or roofing professional of your property. Some of the key areas for quarterly inspection are as follows: roof tops and roofing components, HVAC systems, building exterior and interior. Make sure to take note of any signs of interior water leaks on the ceilings, walls, and flooring.
Keeping good inspection records will help you in the insurance claims process, should you ever need to file a storm damage claim. Keeping good records shows that you are a responsible building owner, and on top of any maintenance issues that might arise. Keeping good records also keeps the carrier from blaming new storm damage on previous storms or lack of proper building maintenance.
If your inspector or roofing professional notices any storm damage (wind, hail, etc..) they should let you know right away, so that you can inform your insurance carrier of the damage in a timely manner.
Are You Sure Now is the Time?
We have discussed the increasing frequency of extreme weather events in previous VLF blogs. This extreme weather timing historically has been known to intensify in the Spring season. Take today’s (Feb 21st, 2022) Dallas Morning News- Weather Wise Headline, as a recent example, and a warning:
The Dallas Morning News forecast today states “Severe thunderstorms possible Monday night before potential wintry weather Wednesday, Thursday.”
The Dallas Morning News continues the forecast report stating, “Here’s what you need to know: North Texas may experience severe thunderstorms and hail Monday evening before an expected cold front. The area may experience large hail and damaging winds that persist overnight.” These types of forecasts are likely to continue in Texas as the Spring season continues.
With this increase in extreme weather, we usually see an uptick in insurance storm claims. The increase in claims can also correlate into some of the claims getting denied, delayed, and underpaid.
Insurance claims of damaged properties have already begun in 2022. The estimates have not yet been stated on what the economic impact to the storm affected regions will be, but it will surely be in the billions.
We have published several earlier blogs on the insurance process, specifically as it relates to storm damage with commercial properties.
As reported on in earlier VLF blogs, when there is a catastrophic event of any magnitude, sometimes insurance companies will try to mitigate their losses by certain time tested tactics.
A good policyholder attorney will hold the carrier’s feet to the fire when claims arise. It is well documented that insurance carriers can sometimes implement various tactics when trying to lessen their financial exposure to claims, including: underpayment, denial, and the delay of claims. This is no surprise, given the record number of increasing weather events in the last several years (as documented in earlier VLF blogs).
This is why it is important to consult with a reputable policyholder attorney when filing a claim, and especially if your claim has been denied, delayed, or underpaid.
The Voss Law Firm, P.C. has been protecting policyholder’s rights for the past sixteen years, recovering billions of dollars in settlements for our clients.
Feel free to call, or email today for a free consultation on your file.
We are 100% contingency fee based. No recovery, no fee.
Todd Farr- Director of Client Relations.