How to File and Pursue a First Party Insurance Claim Arising Out of the Storms That Hit Houston, Texas May 16, 2024

How to File an Insurance Claim After the Houston Thunderstorms 

The thunderstorms and high winds that struck the Houston area on May 16, 2024 caused widespread property damage. If your home or business was impacted, you'll want to file an insurance claim as soon as possible. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you through the process:

Step 1: Document the Damage - Take Photos

Before you do anything else, take photos and/or videos documenting all damage to your property. Be thorough and get pictures/videos from multiple angles - this documentation will be crucial for your claim. Make a list describing each damaged item or area as well.

Step 2: Minimize Further Damage

Once you've documented the initial damage, take reasonable steps to prevent any further damage from occurring. This could include boarding up broken windows, tarping over roof damage, extracting water, or making temporary repairs. Your insurance should cover these prevention costs, but be sure to keep all receipts.

Step 3: Review Your Policy 

Next, review your homeowners or commercial insurance policy carefully. Look over the declarations page to understand your coverage limits and deductibles for wind/storm damage. Make note of the timeline for filing a claim as well.

Step 4: Notify Your Insurer

Contact your insurance company promptly to start the claims process - many set a window of days for filing after an incident. Be prepared to provide details like the date of loss, a description of damages, and your documentation. Your insurer will likely send an adjuster to assess the damage in person.

Step 5: Assess the Damages With a Professional

While you wait for the adjuster, assess all necessary repair work. Having multiple assessments will be useful when settling on compensation amounts with your insurer. Don't get a written estimate until it fulsome, comprehensive and complete. This will be the low point in negotiations the insurance carrier will seek to impose upon you.

Step 6: Work With the Adjuster

When the adjuster visits, ensure they have access to all damaged areas. Provide your documents. Negotiate if needed, but remain calm and cooperative.

Step 7: Review the Settlement

Once you receive a settlement figure from your insurer, review it against your policy limits and repair estimates. If the amount seems too low, you have the option to dispute it.

Step 8: Hire Contractors and Make Repairs

After settling, you can hire contractors and begin making repairs. Keep all receipts and records of the work done.

By following these steps closely, you'll put yourself in the best position to have your insured storm losses fully covered. Don't hesitate to get professional help if you have any questions during the claims process.

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