How to File A Texas Homeowners Insurance Claim

Texas homeowners insurance companies sell insurance to you for the "just in case" scenarios. The last thing you really want to do is have to file one. But this article will help you wade through the process so you're not lost in the jungle of red tape.

Steps to File A Texas Insurance Claim

While some of the filing steps differ between companies, they have a basic process with common threads.

The first thing you should do when you encounter a loss is to compose yourself. A calm demeanor will help you to think clearly and make wiser decisions.

Here are some basic steps to take:

  • Keep safe.

  • If you can, try to thwart more damage to the home.

  • If you haven't already done so by this time, contact your insurance agent.

  • When it's safe to do so pull out your policy and review it.

  • Take note of all damage or destruction; if robbed, list all missing items.

  • Write everything down in connection with your claim – keep track of your expenses as well as any occasion you replaced a missing item.

  • If you've been robbed, call the police immediately. If there's damage, call 911 to send an emergency crew to your home.

Why Are Claims Denied

If you maintain your monthly premiums and your policy covers the damage, you should have no problem getting your claim paid. However, there are occasions where claims do get legitimately denied. Here are some:

  1. You cannot file a claim for flooding if you have no flood insurance. This is separate coverage that homeowners insurance doesn't carry.

  2. If you sustained damage to your home because you were neglectful or careless, you cannot legally file a claim for that damage. An example of this is a tree falling on your home that you should have cut down. In the big picture, it was preventable, and your insurance company will not pay the claim.

  3. Homeowners policies have limits, as well as exclusions. You cannot file a claim for damage that was caused by something not included in your policy.

  4. Remember that homeowners insurance, including the personal property portion, covers anything inside the home. This obviously excludes vehicles. If your vehicle is damaged or stolen, refer to your vehicle policy.

If you are denied your claim, don't get fuming angry. Talk to your insurer. With any claim, it always helps to support the claim by including photos, appraisal estimates, letters from witnesses, repair records, just to name a few.

You can always appeal too.

Texas Homeowners Insurance Claim Statistics

Here are some statistics about insurance claims in Texas.

Of the entire number of Texas homeowners who are insured, only 5.7% of them actually filed claims. It is not certain whether this is because they just didn't follow through on a claim or if legitimate claims only amounted to 5.7%.

Of all the homeowners insurance claims filed in Texas, nearly all of them were property damage claims, most likely from hurricanes or tornadoes – proof that the roof insurance claim process Texas works!

Wind and hail insurance Texas claims amounts came to an average of nearly $6,500 per claim, while claim amount average for theft came to just over $3,000 per claim.

Finally, claims for fire damage, lightning damage and the subsequent removal of debris averaged almost $32,000 per claim.

As you consider these stats, you can see why insurance companies do all they can to pay as little as they can get away with on claims, even legitimate ones. Granted, that's what they are there for, right? We pay them money to protect our homes, cars, possessions, etc.

This is why it's so important that you be prepared in advance in case you ever have to file a legitimate claim. Documenting the claim as thoroughly as possible will help the process along to ensure the timely payment of your claim.

My Claim Was Denied - What Options do I Have

If you have a legitimate claim, your testimony is not enough, however honest you are. Here are a few things to consider if your claim is denied.

The first thing to do is talk to your insurance agent. Get detailed information about why you were denied. It could be something simple, like maybe you overlooked a key detail that probably would have guaranteed your acceptance, and you forgot to include it. A simple appeal including the missing information may be enough to remedy this.

Most of the time, and again, assuming that the claim is legitimate, these things can be resolved. And while you're trying to set things straight, keep your cool. For one thing, it will help you think straight, which will help you avoid acting rashly. Better yet, your calm demeanor should rub off on your agent, who is in a position to help you.

Should I Change Carriers?

Unfortunately, there are times when an insurance company finds some way to get out of paying even a legitimate claim. Sadly, there are some who resort to some corrupt practices in order to avoid it. But know that Texas property insurance law is tough on situations like these.

That may be the open door to change carriers. Be advised that it may or may not help your claim. But sometimes peace of mind is better than fighting them.

However, this is not to say it's wrong to fight it. If you know you have a valid claim, and you have evidence to support it, contact an advocate, like the Texas department of insurance, or a lawyer if necessary. Texas homeowners insurance laws will prevail. Ask them what your legal options are. It might be hard to prove that an insurance company has defrauded a customer, but it's not impossible.

If you do decide to part ways, it might be wise to contact an independent agent. Their access to multiple carriers may be just the ticket to find you a good deal.

How to Get a Good Rate If You Change Carriers

If you are forced to change carriers, don't worry. Don't be afraid to compare insurance rates

whatever your circumstances. The same basic rules apply here.

First, consider what kind of home insurance you need. What needs to be covered? Write everything down, and present it to a prospective company or an independent agent if you decide to go that route.

One thing that might prove helpful is to see if you can find some testimonials about the insurance company you're considering. Go to their social media pages. You might find them on Google as well. The point is, you need to get feedback. How are they when it comes to paying claims? What is their reputation for customer service? If they have mountains of negative comments, especially with claims, move on.

Arming yourself with this information will help you find the best company possible and get the best rate possible.