Take, for instance, 2017’s Hurricane Harvey, which left behind damages amounting to an estimated $125 billion across Texas and Louisiana. Or the Jarrell Tornado of 1997 and the Bastrop County Complex Fire of 2011, which together resulted in losses of over $375 million. Such events underscore the importance of robust homeowners’ insurance and the challenges Texans face in rebuilding post-disaster.
On average, Texans pay around $3,080 annually for homeowners’ insurance, offering $300,000 in dwelling coverage. This significant investment should ideally provide homeowners with peace of mind, ensuring compensation for damages from most natural events. But what happens when insurance companies delay or deny claims?
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At The Law Offices of Colby Lewis, we’re here to guide you through the complexities of homeowners’ insurance claims. Dive in for insights on navigating insurance delays and denials, and when you’re ready, connect with us at 832-821-5298 for a complimentary strategy session in Houston, TX.
Understanding Insurance Payout Timelines
While homeowners are expected to promptly pay premiums and file claims, insurance companies don’t always reciprocate with timely payouts.
Insurance Protocols & Timelines in Texas
Typically, homeowners have a year from the event date to file a claim. However, it’s advisable to act swiftly. Most policies mandate “prompt” notification, often within days, though exceptions apply in cases like natural disaster evacuations.
Post-notification, insurance companies have a 15-day window to acknowledge and initiate claim investigations. This might involve adjuster visits for damage assessments and requests for proof of loss or repair estimates.
Once all documentation is submitted, insurers have 15 days (or 30 if arson is suspected) to approve or reject your claim. This can extend to 45 days, but only with valid reasons. Successful claims should see payouts within five days post-approval.
Challenges in Insurance Payouts
Insurance companies might employ various tactics to delay claims, such as:
- Ignoring claims or communication
- Demanding excessive documentation
- Frequently changing claim adjusters
- Unreasonable claim processing delays
The Value of Legal Counsel in Insurance Disputes
If you suspect your insurer is acting in bad faith, it’s crucial to consult a seasoned home insurance attorney. They can offer guidance on expediting the process and addressing stalling tactics.
Why Do Insurance Companies Stall?
While insurers are legally bound to honor their policies, some might employ stalling strategies to safeguard their profits. By delaying, they hope claimants might abandon their claims or accept reduced settlements. Additionally, some adjusters might undervalue damages to minimize payouts. Always verify adjuster credentials and share them with your attorney.
Legal Recourse Against Stalling Insurance Companies
If faced with bad faith delays, homeowners can consider litigation. However, alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation or arbitration might be explored first. Engaging a knowledgeable insurance claim attorney can help streamline this process.
Preparation for Legal Action
If contemplating legal action:
- Maintain meticulous records of all interactions with the insurer.
- Organize all relevant documentation, including damage evidence and policy copies.
- Seek expert legal advice.
Facing Insurance Delays? Consult a Houston Insurance Expert
Proactivity is key when dealing with uncooperative insurers. At The Law Offices of Colby Lewis, we’re equipped to handle stalling insurance companies. With our founder, Colby Lewis’s, insider insurance industry knowledge, we’re uniquely positioned to assist. Reach out to us at 832-821-5298 or via our online form for a free consultation with our expert Houston insurance attorneys.
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