Your home just suffered through a hurricane and sustained damage. You ask yourself will my homeowner insurance policy pay for the damage?
Insurance Coverage – The Policy
First read your policy carefully, and look for any limitations on wind and water damage or damage from a hurricane. You pay a set amount per month and now that your home suffered damage you want to know if the damage will be paid for by the insurance policy.
An insurance policy is a contract and it sets out when an insurance company is obliged to pay for damages caused to your home by certain weather related issues such as a wind, rain, flooding and or a hurricane.
Generally, in Texas, homeowners insurance will cover damage from wind and wind-driven rain but not necessarily if caused by a hurricane. The fine print in your policy will usually have the language that excludes damage from hurricanes altogether.
For example, homeowners in Texas may need to purchase homeowners insurance with supplemental hurricane coverage. Also, most homeowner policies, exclude damage from flooding, even if it is caused by a hurricane’s storm surge.
The Insurance Deductible
You need to understand your insurance deductible. How much do you have to pay out of pocket if the insurance company does cover your home’s damage from the hurricane? If your policy does offer coverage for damage from a hurricane, it may require a much higher deductible than your standard deductible.
While you are negotiating with the insurance company what obligation do you have as to your home and its damaged condition. A Texas homeowner has the duty to mitigate their damage. This means that you have to take the necessary steps to reduce the worsening of damage to your home and personal items.
Repair vs. Replace
There is often no easy answer to the question of whether the insurer repairs or replaces the damaged property. Obviously an adjuster for the insurance company may try to argue that it only needs to be repaired rather than replaced as a way to reduce the insurance company’s cost. Oftentimes In this you will need to reach a negotiated settlement with the insurance company.
Dealing with the Insurance Company – Their Adjustors or Representatives
After a major storm you will have to deal with the insurance company representatives including contractors or adjustors. They are the ones who will assess the damage to your home and whether it is covered and how much will you be paid, if at all. This places a burden on the homeowner to do their own assessment by taking extensive notes and pictures to document any damage and to do their own negotiations. And negotiating with the insurance companies is often times difficult and very frustrating as the homeowner feels they are at a tremendous disadvantage. This is when the homeowner should resort to a lawyer to assist them in this process as well as to possibly file suit to force the insurance company to offer a better settlement