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When Should You File a Property Damage Claim With Your Texas Homeowner’s Insurance? Will Your Insurance Company Hike Your Rates?

Homeowners Insurance Paperwork With a Wooden House CutoutWhen you and your family have been through a serious storm, fire, or other natural disaster and your home is damaged, it’s normal to reach for the phone and automatically call your insurance company. After all, your home is often one of your largest assets, and you want to protect it. That’s why you have insurance, right? But did you know that some homeowner’s insurance policy claims can raise your premiums from 10 to 20%? Yikes! In this article, Attorney Bill Voss will break down when you should and shouldn’t file a claim with your homeowner’s insurance policy.

When You Shouldn’t File an Insurance Claim

Read your policy before you file an insurance claim for property damage on your home. Then evaluate the damage and think about a few things, including:

Is Your Claim Bigger Than Your Deductible?

How much is your deductible, and how much will it cost to repair your home? If you have $6,000 in damages and your deductible is $1,000, the choice may be clear. But if you have $1,200 in damage and your deductible is $1,000, you may want to pass on filing a claim to avoid a rate hike. In some cases, you may also want to check your wind deductible. In many policies, insurance companies include a separate deductible for wind claims that is a percentage of the value of your home. If your wind deductible adds up to $7,000, it may not be worth it to file a claim for that fence that fell during the last hurricane.

What Kind of Coverage Do You Have?

In some situations, your insurance may not cover much of your damage. So, look at your policy and determine what kind of coverage you have. For example, if you have a pipe break, your insurance policy may not cover the plumbing, even if it covers repairs to the walls and floor. If you had damage to your furniture and electronics, your policy might only cover their current, depreciated value rather than your cost to replace them. 

Even if you call your insurance company to ask about a potential claim, they may make a report and hike your rates even if you don’t follow through with the claim. So, if you call your insurance company or your agent before deciding to file a claim, make sure they understand that your questions about your policy are completely hypothetical.

How Many Claims Have You Made in the Past?

We tend to have higher homeowners’ insurance premiums in Texas because tornados and hurricanes are more common here. But we do have one thing going for us—your insurance company can’t raise your policy premium after your first claim in Texas. But if you make frequent claims, you can expect your insurance company to raise your rates. So, before you make that claim, take a minute to think about how many claims you’ve made in the past and whether the homeowner’s insurance policy premium hike will be worth what your insurance company pays for your property damage claim.

When Should You File a Claim?

Of course, if your home has extensive damage, the choice to make a claim may be an easy one. But if you aren’t sure what your policy will cover or whether a potential policy cost increase will be worth the claim, it’s a good idea to talk to an experienced Texas insurance lawyer before deciding or contacting your insurance company. Moreover, if you’ve contacted your insurance company and they’re already delaying or asking for unreasonable documentation, having an insurance lawyer with extensive experience handling intractable insurance companies can be a big help.

Hire an Experienced Texas Insurance Lawyer

If you’re facing a potential property damage claim with your homeowner’s insurance policy and have questions about your policy or deductibles, we can help. The experienced attorneys at The Voss Law Firm, P.C., have guided Texas homeowners through homeowner’s insurance policy questions and disputes for years. At The Voss Law Firm, P.C., we won’t charge you any fees until we recover money on your behalf. Give us a call at 888-614-7730 or contact us online to schedule your free case evaluation.

 

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The Voss Law Firm, P.C. represents clients on a local, national and international basis. We proudly serve companies and individuals along the Gulf Coast and around the globe on a contingency fee basis. Our law firm collects nothing unless we recover on our client's behalf.

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