New law could impact hurricane, flood property claims

Law goes into effect on Sept. 1

SAN ANTONIO – The amount of wind and flood damage Hurricane Harvey will do is projected to be in the billions of dollars.

That means tens of thousands of insurance claims. A large part of Texas from the coastal bend to Houston is wrecked or under water. Insurance companies are staging its catastrophe teams and beginning to move them in where they can.

The teams of adjusters will help storm victims file their claims.

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Flooding is not covered under the typical homeowner’s policy, but other damage may be. Claimants should check with their insurer to see where they stand.

People are also encouraged to file claims as early as they can, because claims are handled on a first-come first-served basis.

Those who plan to file a claim should know that some controversial changes to the Texas Insurance Code kick in Friday.

The new law was designed to curb frivolous lawsuits by storm-chasing lawyers.

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Critics said, however, that insurance companies may benefit at the expense of property owners making legitimate claims.

For one thing, the law reduces the penalties insurance companies face for late payments if the property owner sues.

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Claims filed after Thursday can be affected by the changes. Any damage will need to be documented. If possible, use a cellphone to take pictures and video of ruined belongings.

The insurance council said folks can go ahead and make simple repairs to mitigate further damage and keep your receipts.

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