On its website the National Centers for Environmental Information’s has a map noting every billion-dollar weather-related disaster in the United States so far in 2023. Calling a disaster a billion-dollar event means its damages are estimated to cost $1 billion or more. The map shows wildfires, severe storms and a hurricane in different parts of the country, but a quick glance shows that the disasters appear to be concentrated in Texas. Some sources say our state leads the nation in property damage caused by natural disasters, and the problem appears to be getting worse over time.
Weather-related disasters are a big part of the reason that the cost of homeowners insurance in Texas is $4,851 per year, more than twice the national average of $2,417. Insurance companies understand the risks involved, and they’re trying to avoid losing money.
Delayed and denied claims
Sometimes, that desire to avoid losing money turns into something uglier. Insurance companies make more money the less they pay in claims to their customers. They have a built-in incentive to pay as little as they can. That can mean delaying payment, paying less than a claim is worth, or sometimes denying a valid claim altogether.
For the homeowners on the other side of this dynamic, a delayed or denied claim can be infuriating. After all, a homeowners insurance policy is a contract between the policyholder and the insurance company. When the insurer doesn’t pay, the policyholder may feel the company is breaching its contract.
The problem is that the insurance companies know all the fine details of their policies better than their customers do. Their representatives know just what technicalities can be used to deny a claim. They also employ highly-paid lawyers who are skilled at defending the companies. All this can put policyholders at a distinct disadvantage when they are just trying to help repairing their homes after a natural disaster.
Appeals and more
Typically, a homeowner has the right to appeal an insurance company’s decision to deny their appeal. Homeowners can also hire an independent or state insurance adjuster to give a professional second opinion. And they can file a complaint with the state insurance department.
In all of these homeowners insurance actions, it can be important to have professional advice and representation.