Houston has occasional severe weather, mostly flooding. The city is no stranger to extreme weather conditions. Since Houston is on the Gulf of Mexico, it has a smaller chance of being hit by hurricanes compared to other cities.
Nonetheless, Houston flooded in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in 2017, the hurricane that claimed the lives of more than 100 people. Thousands of homes in Houston were damaged, and many locations in the city’s metropolitan area observed at least 30 inches of precipitation.
Aside from flooding, smaller tornadoes are also not uncommon in Houston during severe weather, even though the city is not in Tornado Alley. Winter storms are also hazardous for residents of Houston and their properties.
When extreme weather, construction defects, or an act of negligence damages or destroys someone’s property, the owner of the property can file an insurance claim to obtain compensation.
The Houston property damage attorneys at Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers have aggressively and successfully represented property owners throughout Houston and Texas in cases involving property damage. Our team has decades of experience in representing homeowners and businesses in the aftermath of natural disasters.
We can help you seek the appropriate compensation to cover all of your damages and losses in your property damage claim in Houston. Call our Houston personal injury lawyers to get your free case review.
When Can You File a Property Damage Claim in Houston?
You may be able to pursue a property damage claim when your home or business property suffers damage or destruction. Damages to your property could cost from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars, which is why you need an experienced Houston property damage lawyer to calculate the value of your claim accurately.
You can file a property damage claim regardless of what caused damage to your property.
You can obtain reimbursement for the cost of repairing your property if damage to your property was caused by:
- Extreme weather. As mentioned earlier, Houston is no stranger to extreme weather conditions such as flooding and storms. Extreme weather can cause loss of life, bodily injuries, and significant property damage.
- Construction defects. If a property did not undergo construction that followed applicable safety codes and regulations, construction defects might cause cracks in the wall, water leakages, the collapse of the structure, and other defects.
- Negligent acts. A large percentage of property damage claims filed by Houston residents are based on someone else’s negligence. A person is considered negligent when they fail to exercise due care.
- Inadequate repairs. A property damage claim may arise after a person or entity fails to perform adequate repairs, which results in financial losses to the property owner. For example, if a repairer fails to fix a leaky roof, which subsequently causes extensive water damage, mold growth, and wood rot, the owner of the property can sue the repairman for faulty repairs.
Contact a skilled attorney to help you file an insurance claim or hold the negligent party responsible for the damage done to your home or business.
What Kind of Property Damage Does Insurance in Texas Cover?
When our home or business suffers damage because of extreme weather or someone’s negligence, we turn to our insurance company to seek coverage for the cost of repairing the damaged property. However, your insurer may deny your claim by arguing that the cause of damage to your property is not a “covered event.”
If your residential or commercial property was damaged or destroyed, it is essential to understand what kind of damage is and is not covered by insurance policies in Texas.
Most standard insurance policies cover the following perils:
- Natural disasters. Generally, repair costs from damage caused by natural disasters are covered by standard insurance policies. However, not all-natural disasters are considered covered events. For example, flooding caused by a hurricane is typically not covered by a standard policy.
- Structural damage. Typically, standard homeowners’ insurance policies cover any structural damage to the property.
- Theft of personal belongings. An insurance policy may also reimburse a homeowner for the cost of repairing or replacing a stolen item in the insured’s home.
- Mold damage. When mold is the result of an event covered by the policy, a policyholder can seek compensation for mold damage in their residential or commercial property.
It is highly beneficial to have an experienced attorney review your insurance policy to determine what is and is not included in your insurance coverage. Covered losses vary from one insurance policy to another, depending on the policyholder’s location.
Generally, damages caused by wear and tear have no coverage from most homeowners’ and commercial property insurance policies in Texas.
5 Reasons Your Property Damage Claim Could End With a Denial
It is not uncommon to hear homeowners and business owners complain that their property damage claim was unsuccessful. The denial of an insurance claim is always a frustrating experience.
While there are situations in which a property damage claim has a wrongful denial, insurance companies also have legitimate reasons to deny coverage to you.
There are five common reasons an insurance company can deny your property damage claim:
- Your insurance policy excludes the kind of damage done to your property. An insurance company has a legitimate reason to deny your claim if the damages are not covered by your policy.
- You fail to meet your obligations under the insurance policy. Your failure to uphold your obligations under the policy could result in the denial of your property damage claim.
- You fail to give accurate information. Policyholders must provide accurate information to their insurance company. Your failure to give accurate or truthful information during the claims process could result in a claim denial.
- You commit insurance fraud. If you intentionally caused damage to your property, your insurance company can rightfully deny your claim for committing insurance fraud.
- Your insurance company canceled your policy. Your insurance company might cancel your policy for a variety of reasons. A common reason for cancelation is a policyholder’s failure to pay premiums on time.
Speak with a Houston property damage attorney if you get a claim denial to determine whether or not your insurer had legitimate reasons to deny coverage. If you received a wrongful denial of your claim, you might pursue a lawsuit against your insurance provider for acting in bad faith.
Insurance Companies Owe a Duty of Good Faith When Handling Claims
Under Texas law, insurance companies owe policyholders a duty of good faith and fair dealing. It means that your insurer is legally required to handle your property damage claim in good faith. If your insurer breaches the duty of good faith, you can sue the company for its failure to handle your claim fairly.
If you believe that your insurer has denied or underpaid your property damage claim, contact a knowledgeable attorney to determine whether or not you can sue your insurance company for breaching a duty of good faith and fair dealing.
At Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyers, we are committed to helping you obtain fair and full compensation for your property damages.
What Are the Insurance Company’s Deadlines When Handling Property Damage Claims?
Time is of the essence when pursuing a property damage claim. You reasonably expect your insurance company to process and settle your claim on time so that you can return to your normal life as soon as possible.
Insurance companies must comply with the deadlines imposed by the Texas Insurance Code when handling property damage claims:
- Once you file a claim, acknowledge the receipt of the claim and begin an investigation within 15 days under Texas Insurance Code § 542.055;
- Notify the claimant that the claim is accepted/denied within 15 business days under Texas Insurance Code § 542.056 (under certain circumstances, an insurance company can request additional up to 45 days);
- Pay a claim within 60 days of receiving all necessary and requested documents and materials under Texas Insurance Code § 542.058; and
- Pay the accepted claim within five business days of issuing a notification of impending payment or the claimant’s performance of a requested action before the payment of the claim.
If your insurance company delays the claims process or fails to comply with the deadlines under the Texas Insurance Code, speak with an attorney to hold the insurance company responsible for acting in bad faith.
Signs That Your Insurance Company Is Acting in Bad Faith
While the vast majority of insurance companies abide by the law when handling claims, some breach a duty of good faith in an attempt to increase their profits at the expense of the claimant. It is advisable to have a skilled attorney on your side when filing a property damage claim to recognize any signs that your insurer is acting in bad faith.
If your property damage claim is pending, look for the following signs that may be indications of bad faith insurance practices:
- Refusing to pay a valid claim without conducting an investigation
- Delaying an investigation
- Misrepresenting policy provisions in an attempt to deny coverage
- Failing to pay a property damage claim promptly
- Failing to provide a reasonable explanation for rejecting a claim
- Requiring a claimant to submit unnecessary documentation or otherwise delaying the claims process
Discuss your legal options with an attorney if you believe that your insurance company is acting in bad faith. Your attorney can help you hold the insurer responsible for the breach of duty to help you receive the compensation you deserve in addition to penalties (two to three times the amount of the claim), attorney’s fees, and court costs.
Note: As a rule of thumb, an insurance company is more likely to engage in bad faith practices when a claimant does not have representation from an attorney.
How Long Do You Have to File a Property Damage Claim in Houston?
If your property in Houston suffered damage, you have two years to file a claim to cover damages (Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003). The clock starts ticking on the date of the incident that caused your property damage.
A court is likely to dismiss your property damage claim if more than two years have passed after the incident. As a result, you will lose your right to recover damages and will not receive reimbursement for the cost of repairing or replacing your damaged property.
While two years may seem like a long time, you have no time to waste. Gathering evidence, assessing damages, and negotiating a settlement can be a time-consuming process, which is why it is essential to begin working on your claim as soon as possible. Contact an attorney to ensure that you avoid costly mistakes during the claims process.
What Types of Property Damage Claims Do We Handle?
The personal injury lawyers at Stewart J. Guss, Injury Accident Lawyer handles all kinds of property damage claims in Houston. If your home or business in Houston suffered property damage, we can help you achieve the best settlement.
We handle all types of property damage cases stemming from:
- Hurricane damage
- Storm damage
- Wind damage
- Hail damage
- Falling trees
- Roof damage
- Construction defects
- And others
Our attorney represents clients in property damage cases regardless of the cause of damage. Our goal is to help you get the compensation you deserve in a timely and prompt manner. We will not let insurance companies mistreat you or mishandle your claim. You can benefit from hiring our Houston property damage attorney to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.
Take advantage of our free consultation with us by calling 800-898-4877 or complete our contact form for your free case review.
See what past clients have to say:
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
“Mr. Guss was wonderful. He fought hard against the insurance company to get us what we deserved. I went from owing almost $5000 in medical bills to actually getting money in my pocket. Absolutely Amazing!!!!! A big thank you from me and my family!!!”
Since starting his firm in 1999, Stewart J. Guss has had the honor of representing clients from all over the world, helping them recover from even the most catastrophic injuries.
Today, thanks to a strong belief in those values of compassion, respect, and approachability, the firm has grown to employ over 120 legal professionals in numerous offices across 4 states, with nationwide reach.