Insurance Tips: After the Storm
After the storm:
Check your house and car for damage. Contact your insurance company promptly to report damage and follow up with a written claim to protect your rights. Your homeowners and renters policies will pay for debris removal and temporary living expenses. Make necessary repairs to protect your home and property from further damage.
Cover broken windows and holes to keep rain out. However, do not make permanent repairs before a claims adjuster inspects the damage. Keep a record of your repair expenses and save all receipts. Photograph the damage. Try to be present when the adjuster inspects your damage.
Resolving your claim:
Your insurance company must acknowledge that it has begun an investigation within 15 days of receiving your claim. The company may request additional information to settle your claim. Once it has that information, the company must accept or reject your claim within 15 business days or tell you why it needs more time.
If the Commissioner of Insurance designates the event as a major catastrophe, the claim handling deadlines are extended for an additional 15 days. Once a settlement is reached, the company has five business days to mail you a check. If you do not receive your payment promptly, call your agent.
If you have questions about your claim, call TDI at 1-800-252-3439 or visit our Web site at www.tdi.state.tx.us.
Work with reputable contractors:
Ask contractors for references and verify them. Contact your Better Business Bureau, local police, or Chamber of Commerce for information.
Insist on an itemized contract in writing and pay only as work is completed. The Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act prohibits price gouging once the governor has declared an area a disaster area.
Call the Office of the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Hot Line at (800) 337-3928 if you suspect price gouging or any other deceptive business practice.
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