When the power went out last February, the water also went out for many North Texans. Frozen pipes split, flooding homes and businesses.
NBC 5 responds saw different results from insurers, depending on factors such as the policy, endorsements, or even which adjuster showed up to handle the claim.
TAKE PHOTOS, VIDEO AND RECORD PHYSICAL EVIDENCE
“Sometimes insurance companies play games where they claim your storm damage was, let’s say, ‘pre-existing damage,'” said Ware Wendell, executive director of the nonprofit consumer advocacy group Texas Watch.
Wendell said if you plan to file an insurance claim, keep proof of damage.
“Tell the plumber you want to keep this piece of pipe because you want to be able to show the insurance company adjuster when they come out: this pipe froze and it burst. It wasn’t a slow leak over time,” Wendell explained.
CREATE AND MAINTAIN YOUR HOME INVENTORY
Before you have to file a claim, create a home inventory and update it regularly.
“We all have cell phones these days that take really good pictures. It can be as simple as walking around your property, taking a bunch of pictures of your house or apartment and the belongings inside. “Wendell said.
It does several things: it documents the state of your home before a disaster and helps you take inventory of what you had inside.
Watch this story to learn how to get started.
CREATE A PAPER TRACK
During the claims process, document all communications with your insurance company.
If you’re talking on the phone, follow up with an email highlighting what was discussed.
“You want to show them that you have provided the information they need to settle and pay the claim. If they don’t, you can file a complaint with the Texas Department of Insurance,” Wendell said.
If you get stuck, hiring a lawyer or a public expert is an option. Public adjusters are permitted in Texas to settle claims with policyholders in exchange for up to 10% of the final insurance settlement.
“We are seeing a number of people who are dealing with these claims right now,” Wendell said. “The only way to move the insurance company out of the center is to have an adjuster in your corner.”
“We live in very risky times, and that’s why it’s so important for consumers to prepare now,” Wendell said.
You can watch NBC 5’s full four-part streaming docuseries, “Texas Power Crisis: 4:37 From Disaster.” NBC 5 looks back on the days of freezing temperatures and despair.
The series airs exclusively on NBC 5 on Roku, FireTV, and AppleTV.
To find NBC 5 on Roku: Search ‘NBC 5 Dallas Fort Worth’
To find NBC 5 on FireTV: Search ‘NBCDFW’
To find NBC 5 on AppleTV: Search ‘NBC 5 DFW’
The series also investigates issues that have been resolved over the past year, examines lingering issues that could yet leave us on the brink of another meltdown, and explores if this was truly a one-off storm. in a lifetime, or if the Texans will. have to adapt to an increase in arctic outbursts.
NBC 5 Responds is committed to finding your concerns and getting your money back. Our goal is to provide you with answers and, where possible, solutions and resolution. Call us at 844-5RESPND (844-573-7763) or fill out our customer complaint form.