Do I need a Lawyer?
We believe that representation early in the insurance claim process is most often the best course of action. You must have someone to look out for your rights. You need a lawyer with the knowledge and understanding of your rights to make sure you are treated fairly by your insurance company. Such knowledge and understanding is typically gained from years of experience dealing with insurance companies in these and similar type insurance disputes. For this reason, it is essential that you select a law firm with the appropriate experience handling hurricane and other property damage insurance claims. While there are times that you will not need the assistance of an attorney to assist you with your claim, we generally recommend that you speak to an attorney early in the claim process if you have any doubts or questions concerning your rights under the insurance policy or relating to your hurricane claim. Grisham & Kendall, PLLC offers a free initial consultation to all potential clients. We are pleased to discuss any questions or concerns you may have concerning your hurricane, wind-storm, or flood claim without any further obligation to retain our services.
What is Bad Faith?
An insurance company acts in “Bad Faith” when it violates the duty of good faith and fair dealing or violates the certain provisions of the Texas Insurance Code or Deceptive Trade Practices Act. An insurance company must treat the insured fairly. An insurance company will be held liable for acting in Bad Faith when it denies a claim without a reasonable basis or when it fails to conduct a reasonable investigation of the claim. An insurance company may commit acts of Bad Faith if it violates Texas laws governing the insurance company’s duties owed to an insured, such as the Texas Insurance Code or Deceptive Trade Practices Act. If an insurance company knowingly acts in Bad Faith, then it may owe additional damages beyond the actual damages owed under the insurance policy as well as attorney's fees and other penalties such as mental anguish damages.
What is the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association?
TWIA was created so that Texas residents who were otherwise unable to obtain adequate wind and hail coverage (including damage for hurricane losses) would still be able to purchase insurance in certain high-risk areas to protect their property. Most policies written under the TWIA umbrella provide coverage along the Texas coastal regions. All property and casualty insurance companies doing business in Texas must agree to participate in the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association. TWIA is a provider of “last resort” and is generally not available in areas where property owners are able to obtain adequate insurance coverage in the marketplace. See the following links should you have additional questions: Texas Department of Insurance and Texas Windstorm Insurance Association.
What should I do after a Hurricane?
You should report or file your claim as quickly as possible. Also, you will want to document the extent and severity of the damage by taking photos of the damage to the dwelling and your contents. Most insurance policies require the homeowner or business owner to take steps to protect the property from further damage. Of course, you are entitled to reimbursement for such expenses incurred in connection with a covered loss. You may also refer to your policy of insurance for your duties under the policy following a loss.
How do I File a Claim?
Refer to your policy regarding reporting or filing a claim with your insurance company. Generally, you should call your agent immediately after the loss to report your claim for damages. The agent, in turn, will file your claim with TWIA. If you are unable to reach your agent, you can also call, fax or e-mail your insurance company or TWIA directly to report and file your claim. See the following link for instructions on how to file a claim with the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association: http://www.twia.org/Agents/FileAClaim.aspx.
Am I Covered if I Suffered Flood Damage? My Adjuster Says the Damage to My Property was Due to Flood Not Wind but I disagree. What Can I do?
This depends on the type of insurance policy you purchased. If you obtained insurance for your property under the National Flood Insurance Program and the loss is otherwise covered under the policy then a flood loss should be covered. If you do not have this type of flood policy and your damages are due to a flood you may not have relevant coverage. If you purchased a policy of insurance pursuant to the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association or otherwise obtained insurance through the marketplace, please bear in mind that an adjuster or expert for the insurance company may incorrectly conclude that some or all of your loss is due to flood when in fact some or all of the damage is due to wind damage. If you find yourself in this situation, it is imperative that you get a second opinion. We have the knowledge and expertise to help.
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