Insurance: Knowing Your Rights & Ensuring Best Outcomes

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Tony Maples Photography


As Texans first and property owners second, we’ve come to understand a thing or two about insurance in the case of natural disasters. We insure our properties against losses that result from such things as Hurricane Harvey, including wind damage, flooding, or in some of the worst cases, complete loss. But have you read your policy, its fine print, and all of the necessary requirements when a claim is ready to be placed? Are you familiar with your company’s time frames for claim submission, acceptance, or your rights with respect to appraisals and rebuttal or refusal of claims? For lack of a better term, honestly, don’t get caught with your pants down when it comes to your insurance coverage. Yes, there are bigger things to regret, but paying for a policy that doesn’t suit your needs can only add insult to injury. So first and foremost, make sure that you invest in a Texas home insurance policy that covers flood damage or other damage caused by natural disasters.

You should immediately be able to determine from your policy which kinds of risks it covers. If you have questions, the first call you should be making is to your broker. Don’t be afraid to be brutally honest and ask them to explain word-for-word what certain terms may mean. They’re the insurance expert and representative and should be able to inform you, as the customer, with respect to proper verbiage, proper coverage, and the costs that are associated with that.

Natural Disaster Insurance: Knowing Your Rights & Ensuring Best Outcomes

Photo: Good Free Photos

Once damage has occurred to your insured property, your first move is to make sure everyone’s alright, but the second move is to contact the insurance agent. Report the damage and request claim forms in order to properly file a claim. Keep track of contacts, phone numbers, dates and times that you called certain offices, and specifically, dates and times that you submitted a claim, and who and how you submitted it. It may sound like a lot, but in this time of need, you won’t regret keeping track of these details.

Natural Disaster Insurance: Knowing Your Rights & Ensuring Best Outcomes

Photo: Wikimedia

You’ll also want to ensure that specific items are taken care of if they’re covered under your policy. As an example, in a flooding instance, your carpeting should be fully replaced, including underlay and labor. A mere drying and cleaning won’t suffice, considering the amount of damage that can continue to result, such as the development of mold. And speaking of mold, full removal and remediation should be covered under a flood policy. Ensure this is, in fact, the case, and that all fabric items are replaced and mold issues are cleared out and cleaned up professionally. There are many other details to consider as well, including but not limited to insulation, loss of power, additional living expenses, and refinishing the home to its original state prior to the disaster.

Natural Disaster Insurance: Knowing Your Rights & Ensuring Best Outcomes

Photo: Flickr/Pictures of Money

Lastly, if you’re completely unsure with respect to dealing with your insurance company, as well as filing a claim, you may consider reaching out to an insurance lawyer. During this process, they can help to explain policy provisions and advise with respect to certain situations that may arise in the process. However, be cognizant of the fact that they, too, have fees, and you’ll be required to pay a legal bill if this is the route you opt for.


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