Ramji Law Hurricane Harvey - HB1774

House Bill 1774 and How It Will Impact Your ClaimHurricane Harvey’s effects will continue to be felt throughout Houston and its surrounding cities for years to come, but as our friends and neighbors begin to pick up the pieces, they are no doubt concerned about how the newly introduced House Bill 1774 will impact and their recovery.

What You Need To Know About House Bill 1774

One of the first places that people will look to is their insurance companies. During this critical time, people will need to know the facts about how their insurance companies can and will assist them. Unfortunately, there has been misinformation circulated via social media and word of mouth.

Some of this misinformation about Hurricane Harvey and how it will affect your claim filing concerns House Bill 1774. HB 1774 does not affect the application process nor should you rush to file a claim before Friday, September 1st. The purpose of HB 1774 is to cut down on frivolous law suits filed against insurance companies but does not affect the victims of Hurricane Harvey or their claims. This new law will institute a lower penalty interest rate if the insurance company is late paying the policyholder after they file a lawsuit. It also provides certain protections from insurance agents from being sued as individuals.

Will House Bill 1774 Affect The Victims of Hurricane Harvey?

While many people are worried about the September 1st deadline, HB 1774 will likely not change their claim or the process. HB 1774 only puts limits on the penalty insurance rate against the insurance companies in the event of a lawsuit. Should you have to file a lawsuit because you feel like your insurance company is lowballing you, instead of paying you fair compensation for your damages, you should seek out legal counsel.

Unfortunately, this was the case during Hurricane Katrina. In the aftermath of Katrina, State Farm denied claims and ordered their claims adjusters to misclassify the flood damage as wind damage to avoid paying out over $500 million to policyholders. After two of the State Farm claims adjusters blew the whistle on State Farm and came forward with evidence of wrongdoing under the Federal False Claims Act, which states that citizens can initiate a fraud claim on behalf of the federal government. State Farm continued to fight the allegations up until December 2016, when the Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s decision and State Farm was forced to pay the claims.

Will My Flood Insurance Cover The Damage Done To My Property and Personal Belongings?

Flood insurance coverage must be purchased separately from homeowner’s insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program, otherwise known as, NFIP which is managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA. These policies can cover up to $250,000 worth of damage to your home and property and up to $100,000 to cover the value of the contents of your home, should you choose to add on to your existing policy. If you would like additional coverage, there is the option to purchase additional coverage from private insurers.

The scope of what your insurance company will pay is solely dependent on the type of coverage that you have. Some of these policies have certain exclusions that can apply to both personal property and assets that exist outside of your home, such as studios, garages, barns, etc.

What Should I Do If My Home Was Damaged In A Hurricane?

While many people will worry about the eventual cost that this natural disaster has caused, your foremost concern is to take care of you and your family’s immediate needs. Once that has been covered, then you can look to professionals who can help you assess the damage that has been done and begin to file a claim. If your home is currently uninhabitable, be sure to mention this to your adjuster so that they will be able to send someone out to you as soon as possible. Being familiar with your policy and the deductible will also work in your favor.

Insurance companies will typically send out adjusters to survey the damage done to your property. When you do speak to your insurance company, be diligent about writing everything down and keeping a copy of your insurance claim so that you can quickly and efficiently locate your information. Maintaining a record of who you have spoken to and what information you received is extremely important to get your insurance claim moving. Creating documents with pictures and videos attached will also help you and your insurance company. Some insurance companies also offer text alerts to inform you of updated information regarding your claim. During this time, your safety and the safety of your loved ones are paramount. Please keep that in mind before you return to your home and property where the structures may be unsafe.

Related Articles:
How To File Insurance Claims After Hurricane Harvey ~ Harvey Aftermath: Returning Home ~ Toxic Texas ~ Hurricane Harvey – HB1774 ~ How To File for Federal Assistance ~ How To File a Homeowner’s Insurance Claim ~How To File a Flood Insurance Claim ~ How To File a Car Insurance Claim ~ No Need to Panic Over Changes to Insurance Law ~ Legal Strategies ~ General Information