Was your house damaged by fire, hail, flooding, or another disaster covered by your home insurance policy? Dealing with contractors and insurance adjusters to get your home repaired – and determine what your insurer will and won't pay for – can be both overwhelming and time-consuming. Attorney Bill Voss describes what to do if your home is damaged in a disaster and discusses how an experienced insurance claims lawyer can help protect your rights and fight for maximum coverage.
What to Do When Your Home is Damaged in a Texas Disaster
Contact your insurance company as soon as possible and file a claim. Your insurer will send an adjuster to determine the extent of the damage and the value of your claim. Recovering the full amount for the damage to your home can be difficult. You will have to prove your damages to the insurance company, and negotiate to receive the full and fair value of your losses; this can take time and delay the completion of your home repairs.
Working with a skilled insurance claims attorney can help speed up the process and relieve considerable stress. Unlike an insurance adjuster, whose primary concern is saving the company as much money as possible, your lawyer is on your side and fighting for your best interests at every step. Allowing your attorney to handle communications with your insurer can also protect you from tactics meant to reduce their financial obligation or create unnecessary delays.
Examples of Ways Insurance Companies Delay or Minimize Claims
- Overly depreciating the value of your home and possessions. Adjusters calculate the depreciation of your home and the items in it, taking into account factors such as the age of the item, its condition, and its average life expectancy. If you disagree with an adjuster's depreciate assessment, your lawyer may be able to help you negotiate for a higher value.
- Estimating home repair costs using a computer program instead of getting a quote from a local contractor. When this happens, your insurer may offer a settlement that is woefully inadequate for both your area and your needs. An estimate from a local contractor who has seen the damage to your home is more reliable and can provide a more accurate quote of what it will cost to repair.
- Refusing to pay the contractor's overhead and profit upfront, delaying the start – and completion – of your repairs. If your insurance company refuses to pay these costs in advance, your attorney can help you protect and assert your rights.
- Rushing you through the inventory process and trying to get you to settle your claim before you realize the full extent of your damages. Determining exactly what was lost or damaged in a disaster takes time, but insurers would rather resolve the claim as soon as possible – before you've had the chance to thoroughly inventory your losses. A careful approach and gathering as much evidence as you can to document damages can help maximize your claim.
- Refusing to cover the cost to match existing materials when repairing a partially-damaged home. The insurance company should restore your property to the condition it was in before the disaster and ensure that the repaired portion of the home is uniform with the rest of the house. Your attorney can work to negotiate a settlement that covers the cost of matching materials.
Is Your Insurer Treating You Unfairly or Mishandling Your Claim? Our Texas Insurance Claims Lawyers Can Help.
Voss Law Firm has extensive experience handling home insurance claims and breaking logjams between contractors and insurers. Not only have we partnered with a variety of professionals who can assist with your home repairs, but we offer a referral program to put clients in touch with qualified roofers, landscapers, contractors, public adjusters, and insurance companies to reduce wait times, expedite the completion of repairs, and maximize your payment. Additionally, we fight to recover all the legal fees associated with your claim so that the insurance company covers our services instead of our clients.
Ready to discover what we can do for you? Contact us online or call our office at 888-614-7730. We have recovered billions of dollars in settlements for our insurance policyholder clients and do not charge a fee unless we win your case.