By law, your insurance company must promptly and properly pay your claim, or they may owe you repair costs and your attorneys’ fees, plus a substantial penalty, even if you have already been partially paid! This may add up to much more than you have already received.
What are my insurance company’s duties?
In the wake of a Hurricane or natural disaster, your insurance company has certain duties under your insurance policy, as well as under the Texas Insurance Code and under common law. The duties of your insurance company include:
- To promptly respond to your claim
- To promptly investigate your claim
- To thoroughly investigate your claim
- To objectively investigate your claim
- To inform you of specific policy provisions that apply to your claim
- To inform you of any issues with your insurance coverage
- To accept or reject your claim in writing
- To explain why your claim is being accepted or rejected
- To provide a satisfactory basis for any denial or underpayment of your claim
- To provide a reasonable basis for any denial or underpayment of your claim
- To explain to you why there is any denial or underpayment of your claim
- To act with the utmost good faith and fair dealing
What are my duties?
You have certain duties to the insurance company in the wake of a natural disaster. Your duties to the insurance company include (but may not be limited to depending on your particular policy):
- To timely report your claim and notify the insurance company of the damage sustained
- To protect the property from further damage
- To mitigate your damages
- To make reasonable temporary repairs
- To provide requested information
- To provide access to the property
- To keep receipts for repair expenses, hotel bills and food
- To provide an inventory of contents damaged
- To reasonably cooperate with the investigation
Did my insurance company promptly pay my claim?
The law requires your insurance company to handle and pay your insurance claim timely and promptly. The Texas Insurance Code places timelines on your insurance company to acknowledge your claim, investigate your claim, and pay or deny your claim. It is your duty to inform the insurance company of your claim. After receiving notice, your insurance company must do the following (with few exceptions).
Note: The Texas Department of Insurance Commissioner may extend the following deadlines for hurricane claims by 15 days.
- Your insurance company must acknowledge your claim; commence an investigation of your claim and request items, statements, and forms they will need from you within 15 days
- After receiving items requested, your insurance company must notify you that your claim is being accepted or rejected within 15 business days. Your insurance company may also request additional time to complete the investigation for up to 45 days within this time period.
- Your insurance company must pay your valid claim within 60 days after receiving items requested
- Your insurance company must pay your claim within 5 business days of notifying you that your claim will be paid
- If payment is conditioned on an act to be performed by you, your insurance company must pay you within 5 business days after the act is performed.
- If your insurance company does not comply with these deadlines, they can be held liable for your attorney’s fees and a 10% per annum variable interest penalty in addition to the amount of your claim.
- The law protects you from dishonest insurance companies who routinely – and arbitrarily – underpay and deny valid claims. Your insurance company is contractually and legally obligated to properly and promptly evaluate your claim. If your claim has been wrongfully denied, delayed, or underpaid, your insurance company may be liable to you for “bad faith.”
- If you or someone you know has experienced an insurance loss listed above, contact us for a free initial consultation or use our online form. This list is not exhaustive. If you have a potential claim that is not listed above, call today to have an attorney review your case for free. You may be entitled to much more than you have already been paid.