Once you have contacted your insurance company regarding the damage caused by a hurricane, an insurance adjuster will be assigned to inspect the damage and provide an estimate for the repair costs.
Knowing what to expect during the adjuster’s inspection – and being prepared for it – can help you protect the value of your claim.
Filing a Hurricane Harvey Insurance Claim?
Call (877) 892-2797, Text (281) 612-8024 or Email Our Firm for Your FREE Consultation
During your FREE case evaluation, we will review your claim, answer your questions and explain the process that lies ahead. We offer free virtual and mobile consultations to anyone who cannot visit our offices.
What You Can Do Prior to the Adjuster’s Property Inspection
Prior to the property inspection, here are some helpful things you can do:
- Take pictures of the damage – Photograph any and every area of the property that has been damaged. As part of this process, it can be helpful to gather pictures of the property before the hurricane damage was sustained (if available); pre-damage photos can provide a clear point of reference regarding the extent of damage caused by the hurricane.
- Keep samples of any discarded items – If you had to discard certain damaged items (like wet carpet, wallpaper, or mold-damaged items), keep a sample of each item thrown away.1 This sample will allow the adjuster to examine the damaged item(s) to be covered, rather than giving the adjuster broad discretion to determine the value of the damaged property.
- Keep receipts – These receipts should be for any out-of-pocket costs you have had to cover as a result of the hurricane damage. For example, these receipts can be for items that you had to replace, additional living expenses (like having to pay for a hotel because the damage has made a home inhabitable), etc.
- Plan to be present during the inspection – The adjuster will notify you about when (s)he plans to visit and inspect the property associated with your claim. If you are not available during the planned inspection time, request that it be rescheduled so you can be present. And, during the inspection:
- Be ready to provide pictures, receipts and details regarding the damage – This evidence and information can be essential to establishing the scope of losses.
- Take notes – Document details like how long the inspection lasted, what the adjuster asked or stated during the inspection and what (s)he did (or did not) inspect. These notes can be important later if there are discrepancies or disputes regarding the damages associated with your claim.
Property Inspections for Hurricane Damage Claims: What Insurance Adjusters Should Do
The Texas Insurance Code2 (TIC) places some specific deadlines on insurers once they receive a claim. In particular, the TIC states the following:
Not later than the 15th day or, if the insurer is an eligible surplus lines insurer, the 30th business day after the date an insurer receives notice of a claim, the insurer shall:
- Acknowledge receipt of the claim;
- Commence any investigation of the claim; and
- Request from the claimant all items, statements, and forms that the insurer reasonably believes, at that time, will be required from the claimant.
Given that Hurricanes Harvey and Irma will trigger several thousands of claims, the state insurance commissioner may extend the deadlines for insurance companies to adjust and attempt to resolve the claims.
Specifically, the Texas Department of Insurance3 may extend the deadline for insurance companies to accept or reject claims by an additional 15 days.
Despite these delays and the volume of work, the insurance inspector still must act reasonably and prudently to fully inspect and assess the damages.
Consequently, it is important for an adjuster to:
- Note all applicable damage that will impact the coverage amount offered.
- Review the photographs, receipts, samples of discarded items and/or other details you provide as part of your claim.
Unfortunately, it is NOT uncommon for insurance companies to offer amounts that seem low or unfair after rushing through an inspection following a major hurricane. As a result, be aware that:
- The inspection is your opportunity to make the adjuster and your insurance company aware of the severity of damage caused by the hurricane, as well as the costs associated with your property.
- You are NOT obligated to accept the amount offered by the insurance company. In fact, if you feel that the offer is lower than the cost of damages sustained, it is in your best interests to contact an experienced insurance lawyer at the Amaro Law Firm for essential answers about your claim, your potential entitlements and your options for proceeding.
Position Your Hurricane Harvey Claim for Success & the Maximum Recovery: Contact an Insurance Lawyer at the Amaro Law Firm
An insurance lawyer at the Amaro Law Firm is ready to help you successfully navigate the claims process and recover from the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.
Call (877) 892-2797, text (281) 612-8024 or email our firm for your FREE Consultation. In this meeting, we will provide you with priceless advice regarding your claim, your rights and how to move forward.
The Amaro Law Firm’s history of extraordinary representation and success in hurricane damage claims has earned us glowing testimonials from former clients, as well as 5-star ratings on Google and Facebook.
1: In instances where the home becomes unsafe due to water damage or substances such as mold, removal may be necessary. By keeping a sample, however, you will be able to provide evidence of the quality and value of the items removed.
2: Complete text of Texas Insurance Code
3: Texas Department of Insurance