Lawyers are urging waterlogged homeowners to rapidly file insurance claims by Thursday before the new law takes effect on September 1st. House Bill 1774 was passed to limit lawsuit abuses while preserving protections for homeowners. Lawyers and consumer advocates warn consumers that this will limit their ability to file insurance claims and hold the insurance companies accountable for under payment and undue delays.
It is believed that the potential impacts of the new law are being exaggerated. However, if you worry that you will have a controversial relationship with your insurance company, try to file a claim before the new law goes into effect. The new law does not affect the claim process, only lawsuits.
We urge our clients to put their safety first and only return to their damaged properties if confirmed safe to do so. Make sure to take photos of the damages and find copies of insurance policies to make the claims process easier. Also, while acts of heroism abound there have been cases of fraud and opportunistic acts extorting Harvey victims. Please be on your guard even during these tough times.
Here are a few tips on how to start navigating through the claims process:
- Call your agent immediately to initiate the process. Be aware that it could take longer than usual for the insurance company to handle the claim.
- Speak to your adjustor before disposing of any items from your house. Special requirements for reimbursement usually exist when dealing with flood issues. Take pictures of everything you clear - pre and post claims process.
- FEMA usually requires a lot of detail. Keep a log of everything you've lost including date of purchase or estimated price. They will also need your contact information, policy details, name of flood insurance carrier and the nature of your request.
- Take notes documenting every contact with your insurer, including who you spoke with, when and what was said. These details could later prove important if you have any difficulty with your claim.
- We've attached a few helpful links below to get you started:
- FEMA: (800)621-3362 | Website: https://www.fema.gov/
- Texas Windstorm: (800)281-1431 | Website: https://www.twia.org/
- National Flood Insurance Program: (800)767-4341 | Website: https://www.fema.gov/
- Amica: (800)242-6422 or by their Mobile App | Website: https://www.amica.com/
- USAA: (800)531-USAA | Website: https://www.USAA.com/
- Allstate: (800)54-STORM | Website: https://www.allstate.com/
- Liberty Mutual Insurance: (866)219-7100 | Website: https://www.LibertyMutual.com/
- State Farm Insurance: (800)782-8332 | Website: https://www.StateFarm.com/
- Farmers Insurance: (888)327-6335 | Website: https://www.farmers.com/
- Aflac: (800)992-3522 | Website: https://www.aflac.com/
- Geico: (800)841-3000 | Website: https://www.claims.geico.com/
- Local Red Cross: Houston: (713) 526-8300 | Beaumont: (409) 832-1644 | Corpus Christi: (361) 887-9991 Harlingen: (956) 423-0523 | Website: http://www.redcross.org/
- You can also visit DisasterAssistance.gov to see if you qualify for individual assistance.
If there is anything that we can help you with, please do not hestitate to reach out to us. We hope for everyone's safety and our thoughts are with all of the families affected by Harvey.
The EWM Team