The first step in filing your insurance claim is contacting your insurance company. Most people will do this by calling their agent as soon as possible. This is a great idea and should get things moving quickly, but it is also important to notify your insurer of your claim in writing.
According to the Texas Insurance Code of an insurance company has the 15 days to begin investigating a claim after they have been notified of a claim by the policy holder. After a natural disaster, an insurance provider can take up to 30 days if granted this leniency by the state insurance commissioner. This extra time was granted following Hurricane Ike.
If this 30 day deadline is missed you may want to enlist the services of an attorney to assist you in your case. Attorney’s fees and an additional 18 percent interest penalty are imposed by the Texas Insurance Code if these deadlines are not met.
Once an investigation begins the deadlines are lifted. There is no limit to the amount of time an insurance company has to investigate a claim.
It is important to also remember that settling your claim is not something that is going to happen overnight. The reality is that may take some period of time before you actually see any compensation from your insurance provider.
It is very important that you document all of the damage to your property with photographs or videos. Remeber to photgraph anything that is thrown out, as it will be very difficult to recover compensation for these items if you have no proof that they ever existed. This simple task will provide a record of damages and possessions, therefore strengthening your claim and making things much easire on you down the road.
You should keep all of your receipts for any hurricane related expenses. This includes alternative living expenses and any money that is spent on temporary repairs to reduce further damage to your property.
You should make arrangements to meet the insurance adjuster at the scene when he or she evaluates your claim. Being present and pointing out all of the damages to the adjuster can make huge difference, and gives you the best chance of having a favorable initial estimate.
Most contractors will provide free estimates on the costs of repairs. Using independent contractors to evaluate damages will provide you with an understanding of how much it will cost to have repairs completed and the ability to see if your adjuster’s estimates are sufficient to have these tasks preformed.
Differences in the amount that you are quoted by a contractor, and the amount that your adjuster estimates that these repairs should cost, may be cause for cocern. If there are discrepancies between the amounts offered by your insurer and the estimates provided by your independent contractors, you should request that the estimates provided by your contractors be taken as the amount needed to have these repairs completed.
In some cases the adjuster may request additional inspections by engineers or other third-party companies. It is always good idea to request copies of any reports that may be related to these additional inspections. Remember, the more information you have the better.
If you are not satisfied with the initial offer made by you insurance provider, do not agree to it. You have other options. Reopening a closed claim can be very difficult so it is very important to carefully read what you are signing before doing so. You should not be intimidated by your insurance company. After all, they do work for you.
If you feel like your insurance provider is not adequately handling your Hurricane Ike related claim, we may be able to help. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.