The damage caused by freezing weather like Winter Storm Elliot can be frightening. More frightening is the devastating effect it has on water pipes in our homes. This is because when pipes in our home freeze, they expand by about 9%, which leads to burst pipes causing potential damage to your property such as walls, appliances, furniture, electronics, etc.
As a result of these frozen pipe damages, many policyholders seek ways to recover their losses by filing insurance claims with their insurance company. Sadly, in the event of these great losses, many insurers still look for various reasons to deny claims. At the Voss Law Firm P.C., we offer free confidential consultations on all frozen pipe burst claims.
Will Home Insurance Cover Freeze Damage?
This is a tricky question because there are situations where freeze damage would and would not be covered by homeowners insurance. For example, if the damage resulting from a frozen pipe was "sudden and accidental", most insurance companies will pay for it.
This is because you took the necessary precautions to maintain heat in your home, shut off the water supply, and kept a certain temperature within your property when it was either occupied or unoccupied.
In other words, your insurer will pay for any damage to your ceilings, furniture, flooring, appliances, electronics, etc resulting from a frozen and burst pipe. They'll also pay for additional living expenses (such as hotel bills) in cases where you have to vacate your home for repairs to be made.
However, your homeowners insurance won't cover the direct replacement of frozen pipes. Which means you'll have to pay for the plumbing costs. Your insurer will also not pay for frozen pipe damage if they discover you didn't take the necessary precautions to prevent your pipes from freezing.
Again, here is the coverage provided by most Texas home insurance policies:
• The price of tearing out a wall to get to the frozen pipe
• The price to renovate the wall once the frozen pipes have been fixed
• Every part of your property that needs to be repaired as a result of the water damage from frozen pipes.
• Additional living expenses if you and your family have to stay in a hotel until your home is fully repaired or renovated.
What To Do When There's Freeze Damage In Your Home
Quickly get the leaks stopped by turning off the water supply to your home. Also, turn off the electricity to the part of your house that is flooded and take as many photos as possible. Take pictures of rooms, furniture, and any other valuables destroyed. Remember that there's no such thing as too many photos. The more evidence your insurance company has, the more likely your claim will be approved.
Then go ahead and call a plumber to have your frozen and burst pipe fixed. This is because your insurer will probably not pay the plumber. Finally, call your insurance company and file a claim.
However, you can also choose to get everything dried out. But before doing that, you need to speak with your insurance company claims adjuster to find out which contractors they recommend for drying everything out. This is important as many contractors will want to take advantage of the situation by overcharging you.
If this happens, you may find yourself on the receiving end as your homeowners insurance will only pay the estimated amount revealed by their adjuster.
So once you are fully aware of the contractors used by your insurer, quickly contact them about drying everything out. Ask them to include a statement on their quote stating that the price will not be more than what your insurance company considers logical and fair. However, if they have spent years working with your insurer, they should know the amount that seems fair.
Most good contractors wouldn't have a problem making such a statement on the quote. Using contractors from your insurance company can give you peace of mind because they are screened by your insurer. However, you may still want second opinions, or to get your own contractor, but be careful so you don't end up paying extra charges.
My Insurance Company Has Yet To Settle My Claim
Unfortunately, many insurance companies continually look for ways to delay or deny claims. Sometimes the insurer may have valid reasons for denying a claim. For example, if the freeze damage was due to negligence when you didn't keep the home warm enough or turn off your water, your claim may be denied. It could also be a result of failing to replace old and corroded pipes.
However, most of the time, insurance companies only care about improving their bottom line. They seek ways to underpay or delay claims with the help of their adjusters. Sometimes, new management comes on board with a new way of handling claims payments. Whatever the case may be if you feel your claim is being unfairly delayed, know that there's help available.
By speaking with an experienced attorney who knows how the homeowner insurance industry works, and the laws that protect you as a policyholder, you'll be able to fight off the oppression of your insurance company and get the full compensation you deserve as quickly as possible.
Contact Our Team Of Homeowners Insurance Claim Attorneys Today
If your insurance provider refuses to pay for damages, our experienced property damage attorneys can help you get the compensation you need for your losses. Call the Voss Law Firm at 888-614-7730 today to get answers to your questions, or start reading your copy of our free book, Tricks of the Trade: How Insurance Companies Deny, Delay, Confuse, and Refuse.