It’s been nearly a year since Hurricane Harvey devastated the Texas coast, but for many, Harvey is still top of mind. Thousands of Texans have filed insurance claims with their insurance companies only to face unnecessary delays and eventually wrongful denials. This has drastically slowed down recovery for many, and has prevented property owners from making needed repairs.
Any time a natural disaster occurs, insurance companies face massive payouts. Insurance companies are first and foremost a business, so they have no incentive to pay out on claims. In order to save themselves money, insurance companies often employ a plethora of bad faith tactics to wrongfully deny valid claims.
Look Out For These Bad Faith Tactics
If you have filed a Hurricane Harvey insurance claim, you need to be aware of bad faith tactics your insurance company may use. Some of the most common bad faith tactics include:
- Unnecessary Delays – While insurance companies may drag out claims over many months, policyholders have the right to have their claims handled promptly. If your insurance company is delaying your claim, you need to immediately talk to an experienced insurance lawyer.
- Lack of Communication – Policyholders shouldn’t be left in the dark in regards to their insurance claims but many are. Adjusters might refuse to answer phone calls or emails, making it impossible for policyholders to get answers about their claims.
- Not Providing The Insured With An Estimate Of Damages – Experienced insurance attorneys frequently hear that their clients never received the insurance company’s estimate of damages to their property. This is a huge issue because insurance companies that are not upfront about the cost of damages could be ready to offer a low ball settlement or outright deny a valid claim.
- Claiming The Damage Isn’t Covered – Many insurance companies intentionally misrepresent the terms or coverage available under existing insurance policies. They will claim damages aren’t covered when in fact they are.
- Incorrectly Classifying Damages – Sometimes insurance companies will intentionally misclassify the type of damage in order to claim the damage is a type not covered under the policy. After Hurricane Harvey, many insurance companies are intentionally misclassifying storm created opening damage as storm driven rain damage. While this might seem like a miniscule detail, it makes the difference between valid and denied claims.
- Undervaluing Damage – Insurance companies might accept some of the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey, but grossly undervalue the cost of repairs. Insurance companies usually undervalue damage to an amount under the policy deductible so they don’t have to pay out on the claim.
Know Your Rights Under The Texas Insurance Code
The Texas Insurance Code protects policyholders from bad faith tactics used by insurance companies. Unfortunately, there is no local, state, or federal agency that polices insurance companies for violations of the Texas Insurance Code. This means that the only way for policyholders see the Texas Insurance Code enforced is to file a bad faith insurance lawsuit with the help of an attorney.
Dealing with Texas Insurance Companies
At Dax F. Garza, P.C., our experienced Houston bad faith insurance lawyers help policyholders get their rightful payments under their policies. If you are still struggling with your Hurricane Harvey claim, contact us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.