Texas’ New Property Insurance Law That Could Affect Your Flood-related Claims from Hurricane Harvey

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What is this new property insurance law?

The House Bill 1774, which becomes a law in the state of Texas on September 1st 2017, will make it more difficult for home and business owners to seek payouts from private insurance companies after hailstorms, floods, and hurricanes. 

One big change is that the bill will significantly reduce the penalty interest rate that insurance companies face for late payments if the policyholders files a lawsuit from 18 percent to 10 percent of the claim. 

Who will be affected?

The law will impact policyholders in Texas that are under private property insurance companies. Even though flood insurance is generally provided by the federal government, it is important to check whether the property owner is under a private property insurance company.

When should I file the claim?

Before September 1st 2017.

What should I do?

If you are a policyholder under a private property insurance company, take the following steps necessary:

  • Call your insurers & file a written property damage claim before September 1st 2017.
  • Write your insurers in addition to calling. Be sure to also email or write/fax in a written Formal Notice of Claim regardless of what the person on the phone tells you. Just calling is not enough for a Formal Notice of Claim. Check your written insurance policy to make sure you have done everything else it may say you need.
  • Document damages to your property with pictures and video (When it’s safe to enter your property). If possible, include a list of damaged personal items. Include the date of purchase and approximate value of any damaged items and collect receipts. 
  • Keep good records of anything you spend to make immediate repairs to secure your home, as well as receipts for hotels and meals if you can’t return home right away.
  • Keep a claim diary. Start a notebook with contact information of the people you deal with from your insurance company. Make a list of everyone you speak to and note the date, time and issues discussed. 
  • Call Texas Property and Casualty Insurance Guaranty Association (nonprofit) at 1-800-856-0298 or Texas Department of Insurance for more information free of charge at 1-800-252-3439 

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