Hurricane Harvey—What Do I Do If My Insurance Company Denied My Claim?

Hurricanes can change the face of a city in an instant. They can wipe out homes and leave miles of destruction behind. Recently, Hurricane Harvey devastated many Texas towns and cities, including Houston. At least $23 billion worth of property has been affected by flooding from Hurricane Harvey just in parts of Texas' Harris and Galveston counties, a Reuters analysis of satellite imagery and property data shows. The number represents market value, not storm damage, and is but a small fraction of the storm's reach, as satellite images of the flooding are incomplete. Satellite imagery compiled by researchers at the University of Colorado shows flooding across 234 square miles (600 sq km) of Harris County and 51 square miles (132 sq km) of Galveston County, about one-eighth of each county's land area.

In Harvey's wake homeowners are depending on their insurance companies to pay for repairs to their homes or businesses. Unfortunately, many insurance claims are underpaid, delayed, or denied outright. When a property owner is unfairly denied insurance benefits, a bad faith insurance lawsuit can be filed to recover losses to a person's body, property or other interest caused by a hurricane.

Some types of damages that can be caused by a hurricane or windstorms are as follows:

· Roof Lifting : The hardest hit part of your home or commercial structure during a hurricane is the roof. Low slope roofs can catch wind and be damaged structurally and, with strong winds, actually be from the house. If your roof goes, along with the joists that hold the tops of the walls together, your house could be destroyed altogether.

· Other Roof Damage : During a hurricane, your roof will be under constant force from the wind, and few roofing materials can withstand this kind of assault without sustaining some sort of damage. Roof turbines being torn away can also allow harmful amounts of water to enter your home. The side walls of your roof, also known as end gables, can collapse due to wind and rain.

· Lost/Damaged Siding : Dead and weak branches of trees and other landscaping can be knocked down by winds and tossed into your home. Siding may become loose or tear away altogether providing easy access for wind, which can then rip the remaining siding from your home.

· Broken Windows : Windows are particularly susceptible to hurricanes both because of the wind itself and the debris the wind carries. Once windows are broken, your home could sustain even greater damage.

· Destruction of Garage Doors : Garage doors often fall victim to high winds. Once the garage blows in, winds will be able to enter your home, allowing wind pressure to fill the house and possibly blow down from pressure.

· Door Failure and loss : Doors are often blown open or even off their hinges, becoming a danger to you as well as the structure of your home.

· Projectile Damage : Items outside the home such as BBQ grills, patio furniture, lawn ornaments, air conditioners and pool equipment can become deadly and damaging if left out in the high winds.

· Moisture Damage : If the interior of your home is exposed, mold can develop from moisture that gets into insulation and wood causing additional damages.

· Loss or Destruction of Personal Property and Automobiles : personal property such as automobiles, furniture, appliances, computers, and other electronics may be ruined due to rising flood waters. In addition to loss, the shorting out of appliances if water comes in as well as destruction of electronic components if there is a surge when the power returns may cause additional damages from fire.

· Fire Damage : Shorts caused by downed wires or water entering outlets and electrical equipment can cause fires.

· Pools : Outdoor in-ground pools get the full force of what any hurricane has which may damage the structure of your pool as it struggles with the rising water pressure around it from water saturated soil.

· Porches and Carports : These types of structures can become airborne and potentially very dangerous during a storm damaging other property.

· Damage to Car or RV : Cars, trucks and RVs may be damaged by hurricane whether parked inside or outside.

· Lost or Damaged Boats : For many people living near the coastline, may suffer lost or damaged boats stored on the water by rocks and other damaging elements finding a mooring inland for added safety. For boats on land, canvas parts can catch the wind causing damages. Boat house and warehouse structures may fail and collapse causing damages to boats indoors.

· Septic Tanks : Septic tanks with disabled electric powered due to power outages can cause sewage backup into your home.

If you, your family or your business has suffered losses due to Hurricane Harvey, the experienced legal team at Reich & Binstock can help you file a lawsuit against your insurance company that has denied your hurricane insurance claim in bad faith.

Call our Houston office at 713-352-7883 or 877-643-3099 toll free, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a lawyer.

If your home faced flooding due to the release of water from the Addicks or Barker reservoirs click here, to learn how Reich & Binstock can help with your legal claim.