Friday, September 19, 2008

File Your Hurricane Insurance Claims Now!

For those of you affected by Hurricane Ike in the Houston and Galveston areas, I know that you are facing many challenges and "to-do" lists right now. Many of you are still without electricity in your homes. If you are living (or own a business) in an area that is inaccessible unless you are part of emergency personnel, you feel like life is in a holding pattern until you can return and assess the damage. For others, the calls to carpet cleaners and the visits to home improvement stores have begun. During this difficult time, you must not forget the importance of filing your insurance claims immediately.

Earlier this week, the Texas Department of Insurance posted an article with some important recommendations for those who will need to file insurance claims:

1. Make a list of your damaged property. Take photos or videos, if possible.

2. Go ahead and make temporary repairs (such as covering broken windows) to prevent further damage. Keep receipts for all expenses incurred.

3. Try to be present during the adjuster's inspection.

The Department of Insurance has other helpful Hurricane Ike information on its site, including contact information for government services and volunteer opportunities.

The current estimates show that Hurricane Ike is expected to result in more than $11 billion in claims, making it the fifth most expensive insurance event in United States history. A report completed earlier this earlier by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), done in the wake of complaints stemming from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, determined that the insurance industry has some shortcomings when processing flood payments for hurricane-damaged properties. Therefore, it is essential that you are aggressive and detailed in your pursuit of insurance collections.

At Bertolino LLP, we have attorneys who can assist you with your insurance issues. If you are a victim of a denied Hurricane Ike insurance claim due to bad faith, or have not filed your claim, please give us a call at our Houston office at (713) 225-7474.

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