Hurricanes, Wind-Damage, and Flooding: Am I Covered?

The recent destruction from Hurricane Harvey has devastated family homes and businesses alike. New vehicles and dream houses were lost overnight; childhood memories and photographs were destroyed by surging flood waters and wind damage; some people lost loved ones and suffered physical injuries. Tragically, the hurricane hit us hard with little remorse for our coastal community.

It doesn’t take long after the storm to start wondering, “How much help can I expect from my insurance company?” Natural disasters are scary enough without having to question who’s going to assist you with the recovery process. Too many times people thought they were covered, and to their horror, discover a loophole used by the insurance company. What you thought was included in your policy is now being denied by the insurance companies. You don’t have to wonder who’s right and who’s wrong, we’re here to help. Here is a breakdown of insurance policies and what you can expect from your provider:

Windstorm policies cover damage to your property that was sustained during wind speeds more than 35 mph, such as thunderstorms, tornadoes, hailstorms, and even blizzards. Most claims under this policy deal with roof damage and many residents can’t stay in their homes after their property suffers wind damage. If you have to take temporary shelter somewhere else, save your receipts for living expenses (food, hotel, travel) so your insurance company can reimburse you.

Flood policies for both business and residential properties are purchased from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). This type of policy is not included with standard homeowner insurance and is offered as two separate plans. One that covers up to $250,000 for your building property and another policy that will guarantee up to $100,000 for your personal belongings. You can have one or both policies. Flood insurance only covers policyholders that have suffered damage from the ground or tidal water overflow, quickly rising water from rivers, creeks, lakes, and mudflow. Flooding insurance is only validated when at least two acres of typically dry land have water or when two or more properties have been damaged. Sewer and drainage systems that overflow and cause damage are not covered under this policy.

Hurricane policies deal with specific hurricane-related damage, and can only be claimed when winds sustain 75 mph or greater. Instead of a specific dollar amount, these types of policies base the deductible as a percentage of the building’s insured value, usually between one and five percent. Areas that see frequent hurricanes may have a larger percentage deductible. Hurricane insurance is a separate policy from the other two listed, and technically covers water damage caused by windstorms.

Navigating insurance policies can seem like you’re walking a tight-rope while simultaneously dodging hammers being thrown at you. If your insurance company isn’t responsibly handling your coverage, or even if you have any questions regarding the options presented to you under your policy, it is a very good idea to seek legal advice.

After a natural disaster, the last thing you want to do is fight an unnecessary battle with your insurance company. If you are covered under one or more of these policies, you deserve to be immediately and equitably compensated after you make a claim. The insurance companies are struggling to meet demands, and unfortunately, cutting corners is an option they sometimes take. Don’t wait and let them push you around; we can help you now.

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The entire team at Williams Kherkher are all too familiar with the sort of tricks insurance companies try to pull on unsuspecting policyholders. As members of the Houston and Texas Gulf Coast community, we feel the pain of your loss and want to help you get your life back to normal as soon as possible. The storm’s destruction has also ravaged insurance companies, but that doesn’t mean they can neglect their responsibility. Our team has extensive experience fighting for individuals who have been wronged by greedy corporations, unconcerned pharmaceutical companies, and careless individuals. We hold people and large companies alike accountable for their wrongdoings. Contact us immediately at (713) 352-0031 if you have any questions regarding a discrepancy with your insurance provider, we are here to help you.

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