Is Texas at War with Hail Damage Insurance Claims?
Did you know that hail damage insurance claims have become such a big deal in Texas that the department of insurance held a symposium titled “War on Hail”?
Over 2 million hail damage claims were processed from Jan. 1, 2010 to Dec. 31, 2012. During this period, the top five states generating hail damage claims were Texas (320,823); Missouri (138,857); Kansas (126,490); Colorado (118,118) and Oklahoma (114,168).
In 2010, 2011 and 2012, Texas was the state with the most hail storm events with 557, 741, and 795, respectively according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
Sometimes it’s easy to feel like a “Wolfpack of One” especially when it comes to insurance claims. Okay, maybe you’re a “Wolfpack of Two” if you have a really good roofer. That’s not a bad start, but you still have to document your claim, meet with the adjuster and their building consultant, interpret your policy and negotiate a settlement with your insurance company, who may presently be at war on hail unbeknownst to you. Don’t ever forget that your policy and its language, endorsements, and provisions were written by a gigantic insurance company with lots of attorneys in compliance with the state insurance code. If you think you’re really going to have a “like it never even happened” experience, you may need to suit up like the Seattle Seahawks on Super Bowl Sunday.
Are you one of the thousands of policyholders who have been impacted by Texas hail storms and have experienced the effectiveness of an insurance company’s “Claim Gang” comprised of Agents, Adjusters, Engineers, Building Consultants, Labs, Actuaries, Appraisers and Attorneys? They work very hard for the interests of their gigantic insurance company employer and take great measures to protect their bottom line.
Truth: Unfortunately, not all insurance claims have happy endings like the commercials you see on TV. If your roof has verifiable hail and/or wind damage, it’s possible you have a valid insurance claim that you should consider filing with your insurance company. Hail and wind damage might not cause your roof to leak for years. If you’re not sure, have your roof inspected for damage by a reputable roofer or public insurance adjuster.
Are You Damaged And Don’t Even Know It?
After a roof has been impacted by hail, damage may not immediately be noticeable. Many property owners simply are unaware that they have damage, but over the course of time heat and cold expands and contracts roof membranes that can cause fractures after a hail storm. Ice and heavy rain on a roof with undetected hail fractured membranes can lead to interior leaks. If you are experiencing this scenario, don’t wait to get professional insurance claim assistance.
Fiction: My roofer can negotiate my insurance claim on my behalf.
Fact: While there are many expert roofers who are very good at repairing or replacing roofs, handling insurance claims is a completely different animal. The issue of roofers handing insurance claims for policyholders has driven changes in the Texas Insurance Code Section 4101.251 with the passage of House Bill 1183,that went into effect September 2013 whereby the statute specifically states, “A roofing contractor may not act as an adjuster or advertise to adjust claims for any property for which the contractor is providing or may provide roofing services, regardless of whether the contractor holds a license under this chapter.”
Fiction: My insurance company will cancel my policy if I file a claim.
Fact: Most states prohibit insurance companies from cancelling policies for filing claims arising from weather events. Check your state and your policy language.
Fiction: If I don’t file my claim, my insurance company won’t raise my rates.
Fact: After a disaster, insurance companies may raise everyone’s rates in a specific geographic area or “tier.” By not filing your legitimate claim, your personal rate increase pays for everyone else’s damage except yours.
Fiction: It’s too late to file a claim.
Fact: There is no time limit to notify your insurer of a loss unless the policy specifies a time limit. However, a policyholder should certainly notify the carrier as soon as the damage from the loss is discovered. Prompt notice of loss is required by most policies, though what is “prompt” is usually a fact issue—meaning it is arguable on a case-by-case basis. Some policies now require that notice of a loss must be given within one year of the date of loss. However, in order to avoid its obligations to pay policy benefits based on a failure to give prompt notice, an insurer must prove it was somehow prejudiced by the “late” notice. An example of prejudice would be a policyholder’s late notice of roof damage which subsequently (not simultaneously) caused water damage inside the property. Arguably, the insurer would still be responsible for the roof, but may not be responsible for the interior damages because but for the policyholder’s late notice, the interior damage would have been prevented.
Get Help With Your Hail Insurance Claim
If you are dealing with an insurance claim that has stalled out, been delayed, denied or underpaid time is of the essence for you to get help. A public adjuster is a state licensed insurance adjuster who solely represents the interest of the policyholder. We are the perfect place to start getting answers and information you need to know.
By Scott Friedson, Insurance Claim Recovery Support LLC and Shannon Loyd, The Loyd Law Firm PLLC. Scott Friedson, owner of Insurance Claim Recovery Support LLC, is a Texas Licensed Public Insurance Adjuster. Shannon Loyd, owner of The Loyd Law Firm PLLC, is Board Certified in Consumer and Commercial Law. The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the firms, its clients, or any of its or their respective affiliates. This article is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice.
- PAJ, Inc. v. Hanover Ins. Co., 243 S.W.3d 630 (Tex. 2008); Hernandez v. Gulf Group Lloyds, 875 S.W.2d 691, 692-94 (Tex.1994). ↩
Filed Under: Insurance Claims