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A comprehensive homeowners insurance policy is essential for protecting your valuable property. While mortgage companies will require you to obtain this protection as a prerequisite for obtaining a mortgage, all responsible homeowners should keep these policies up to date as protection against both property damage and liability for accidents that may occur on your property.
Unfortunately, even with adequate insurance policies homeowners’ claims can be denied or underpaid after a devastating event. Insurance companies can delay, deny or underpay claims, leaving homeowners responsible for paying the costs of all necessary repairs. Our attorneys at Kirk Law Firm, PLLC can analyze your current homeowner’s insurance policy, determine the cause of a claim delay, denial or underpayment and demand that insurance companies provide the benefits required by their contracts according to state law.
Insurance companies deny claims for a variety of reasons. They may allege that a policyholder was not up to date on premium payments, or they could deny a claim due to the damage not being covered under the terms of the policy.
Insurance policies are contracts whereby in exchange for a premium a provider agrees to pay out benefits in case of a covered loss. Many policies may also compensate a homeowner or business for the expenses they incur during the time they are unable to use the structure. It is very important to properly document these expenses and understand what is and is not covered under the policy.
Insurance companies make their money by denying and underpaying claims. Homeowners whose policy benefits are wrongfully denied have the right to demand enforcement of the contract through a civil lawsuit. An attorney specializing in insurance law can look at the denial or underpayment and determine if a breach of contract has occurred and help the homeowner gather the evidence necessary to enforce the contract.
Homeowners who have received a denial, delay or underpayment on a claim may have additional options under state law. In Texas, the insurance industry must comply with a collection of laws that prohibit deceptive and unfair trade practices. More specifically, Texas Insurance Code § 542.003 defines a collection of business practices that are in violation of the law, including:
Consulting with one of our insurance lawyers could help property owners to determine if an insurance company has violated the insurance code and hold them accountable for doing so.
These violations can occur in many ways and at any point during the claims process. An insurance company may deny the claim outright by blaming damage on a non-covered source. Insurance companies can fail to respond to homeowners or continually shuffle them to different agents within the company causing confusion and further delay. Another tactic insurance companies use is grossly undervaluing the damage and cost of repair leaving the homeowner unable to afford the necessary repairs.
An insurance company who fails to investigate a claim in a timely manner, provide a thorough reason for denial or pay a fair and adequate amount for the damage is likely acting in bad faith. In these situations, a property owner may be able to file a lawsuit for actual damages, statutory interest, and attorney’s fees. A knowledgeable insurance attorney can hold the insurance company accountable for their bad faith.
Under Texas state law insurance companies issuing homeowners policies must provide accurate information to customers, provide prompt communication, properly investigate claims, and offer fair settlements when liability becomes clear. Unfortunately, many insurance companies do not, resulting in people like you receiving denials of claims or settlement offers that do not properly cover your losses.
Our team of knowledgeable attorneys can explain your rights under the law, evaluate the language of your policy, and negotiate on your behalf with stubborn insurance companies. If this fails to bring a fair resolution, they are prepared to file a case in court on your behalf to enforce your rights. Give us a call now to get started on your claim.