Tornado rips through Texas – here’s what damages you can claim
Houston, TX – Severe weather caused significant damage across southeast Texas on Tuesday amid a tornado outbreak in the Gulf Coast region. Southeast Houston reported its first tornado emergency on record, according to ABCNews. The area was swept by strong winds, reaching up to 135 mph and causing extensive damages. Local authorities are receiving numerous reports of building collapses, gas leaks, and downed power lines. As of Wednesday, around 57,300 customers were still without power in eastern Texas.
Is tornado damage covered by homeowners insurance?
You really need to read the terms of your policy carefully to learn the answer. Tornadoes are classified as windstorms. Generally speaking, tornado damages should be covered under your homeowners’ insurance, but that may depend on the exact location of your home. If you cannot make any sense of the terms in your policy, reach out to experienced Houston homeowners insurance claim lawyers to see what is covered and what is not. You need to pay special attention to the exclusion clauses as these are often used by insurance companies to deny a perfectly justified claim.
Types of damages you can recover after a tornado in Texas
Once you’ve clarified with your lawyers that you do have tornado coverage, you may be able to seek compensation if your house sustained damage to the:
- Roof – missing or bent shingles, dents, detached gables, torn away pieces of roof decking
- Walls – cracked walls (whether on the inside or the outside), blown-out walls or cracks between walls and the roof structure
- Floors – floor cupping and other types of damage caused by accumulating water
- Foundation – cracking or separation of the foundation caused by the high winds
- Windows – broken or damaged panes
- Electrical and plumbing systems
At the same time, you have the right to file a claim if you need to replace furniture and appliances damaged by the tornado. Also, you can get additional living expenses if the house is so badly damaged you need to move out for the duration of the repairs.
What to expect after filing a claim
Under Texas laws, insurance carriers must process your claim in a timely manner. Here’s what to expect:
The insurer has 15 days to acknowledge your claim
Once you’ve filed a claim, the company should respond within 15 days. If you claim personal property damages, they will ask you to submit a Proof of Loss, which is a detailed list of your personal belongings damaged by the tornado. Be prepared to present receipts for the items.
An insurance adjuster must inspect the property
There’s no telling when exactly the adjuster will inspect your property. After a major weather event, the company may be flooded with claims so it may be a while until someone comes around. Don’t be afraid to call them and remind them you’re still waiting. Also, keep a record of every call and email between you and the insurance company. If they seem to be dragging their feet, you could reach out to a determined Texas home insurance claim lawyer and let them give the adjuster a call.
The insurance company will base its payment on the adjuster’s estimate. If you disagree with their findings, a seasoned lawyer can put you in touch with an independent adjuster, and you can submit their estimate to the insurance company.
The company has 15 days to accept or deny your claim
There’s a catch, though. The insurance company must accept or deny your claim within 15 business days from the moment they receive all the information they need from you. You can expect them to come up with new requests every week. Some may, indeed, be justified, but when it starts to feel they’re stringing you along, talk to your home insurance claims lawyers. You may be dealing with a textbook case of insurance bad faith and you can sue for that.
Send you the check within 5 business days
If the company accepts your claim, they must send you a check within 5 days. On the other hand, if they deny your claim, they should send you a letter detailing their reasons. Take it to your lawyer. You have the right to appeal the denial decision or you can sue the insurer if the reasons they invoke are bogus.
If the insurance company is trying to delay, undervalue or deny your claim, reach out to a trustworthy insurance claims attorney at McClenny, Moseley & Associates, PLLC in Houston. They’ll help you deal with the insurance company and get the settlement you deserve.
McClenny, Moseley & Associates, PLLC
1415 Louisiana St., Suite 2900
Houston, Texas 77002
Toll-Free: 844 662 7552
Photo: City of Houston Fire Department
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