20 Jul Storm Damage Claims: 7 Harmful Mistakes You Need to Avoid
Recent flooding in South Texas, and all across the Rio Grande Valley, forced many families to evacuate their homes without the opportunity to save their possessions. As per a report by the National Weather Service:
- More than 3,000 homes and businesses were flooded with waters that reached up to three feet.
- Several thousand vehicles were damaged from flood waters.
- Thousands of rescues took place, securing families from dangerous situations in their homes and vehicles.
Whether you suffered damage to your home from the most recent storm that struck the Rio Grande Valley, or should happen to suffer from an unfortunate natural disaster in the future, it is important that you be aware of several major mistakes that can cause your insurance claim to suffer.
Let the Brownsville insurance attorney at Mendez Law Firm help you navigate the confusing path of making a successful home or business insurance claim. We know how challenging it can be dealing with an insurance company and their adjusters, and that’s why we want to help protect you by providing you a brief overview of some major mistakes that can have a negative effect on your claim.
7 Harmful Mistakes to Avoid When Filing a Storm Damage Claim
Honest mistakes happen, especially during a stressful time like dealing with damages to your home and property. But it’s important to remain clear-headed and aware of the situation in order to avoid making mistakes that can really harm your storm damage claim.
Should you need to file a home or business insurance claim in the near future, please remember the following:
1. Do Not Wait to File Your Claim
Insurance companies often put a deadline on when you can file a claim following a storm. Failure to meet this deadline basically disqualifies you from obtaining the coverage you deserve. That’s why it is important to make your claim as soon as possible.
Additionally, the damages to your home will still be “fresh,” and evidence will be much more easy to come by. Don’t wait to file your paper.
2. Mitigate Damages As Soon As Possible
This can be a challenge as you will want to do just enough repairs to stop additional damages from occuring to your home or property, without doing too much that can used against you by an insurance adjuster.
If you fail to mitigate damages, additional damages can occur that are not covered by your insurance policy. On the other hand, making too many repairs, and your insurer may claim that you caused the damages and not the storm.
Contact an experienced and well versed insurance attorney, like those at Mendez Law Firm, to find out what you can and cannot do.
3. Not Having the Right Coverages in Place
This is a major mistakes that you can avoid well before storm damage actually occurs. You’ll want to make sure that you have the right coverages and policies in place. For instance, most home insurance policies do not cover flooding, and thus you will need to purchase an additional rider or provision that covers this.
Businesses often require multiple types of insurance, and you will want to make sure that your company is well protected. While your actual building may be protected, check your policies to ensure that the goods and products within the business are protected as well.
4. Not Questioning Your Insurer
Your insurer is going to bank on the high likelihood that you do not know a lot about insurance law, are in a financial bind because of damages to your home and/or property, and simply want go through the process as quickly as possible.
With these factors in mind, your insurer may act in bad faith and attempt to misinform you in order to make an invalid claim or to minimize damages you could be receiving. Sadly, the insurance adjuster who is working your claim is going to do everything they can to limit the company’s financial responsibility to you. That could mean placing fault on, or flat-out denying, your claim.
Again – if you are uninformed, how will you know any better?
Do not accept everything your insurer says as gospel. Ask questions, write everything down that they tell you, and read through all the paperwork that they provide to you. If you are unsure of insurer’s requests or the information they are providing to you, contact an insurance lawyer immediately.
5. Failing to Document Damages
Following a storm, you need to quickly document any damages your home or business property may have suffered. Collect as much evidence as possible to support your claim. Take pictures, video, and write down plenty of notes; this evidence can be crucial in proving your claim.
6. Taking the First Offer
Insurance companies recognize the stress and financial burden that can arise following major damage to a home. They know how eager many homeowners will be to fix their home and get their life straightened out.
Because of this, your insurer may attempt to offer you a quick check that will only cover a small portion of the damages. Accepting, signing, or depositing this check blocks you from attempting to recover the full amount that is rightfully yours.
Do not accept the temptation of the first offer because of mounting pressure to fix your damaged home. While it may take some additional time to get you the full amount due, it helps you avoid having to cover repairs out of your own wallet.
7. Don’t Wait to Contact a Lawyer
Insurance claims can be complex, especially for first time claimants who are dealing with the stress of fixing up their damaged home, but that doesn’t mean that you have to accept the bad faith tactics used by your insurer.
Seek out a qualified bad faith insurance lawyer should you believe your insurance company is attempting to underpay or illegally deny your claim. You don’t have to fight them alone.
Mendez Law Firm has the experience and capability to handle insurance claims, bad faith denials, and underpayments.
Depend on the responsiveness of the bad faith insurance legal team at Mendez Law Firm.
Contact us today at (956) 541-7600 to get the legal representation you need. Mendez Law Firm serves the greater Brownsville metro area and the entire Rio Grande Valley.