The freezing temperatures and power outages in the State of Texas caused unprecedented conditions and an estimated cost of almost 20 billion dollars in damages. The losses caused by this disaster are not novel, but the fact that they affected an entire State put a strain on the system of insurance adjusters and providers. Let’s take a look at some of the specific damages that were caused, and how massive losses should be handled by the property owner.
The loss of power combined with a massive weather event caused widespread chilling temperatures that resulted in the pipes in many homes and businesses freezing. This is likely to be the most common type of damage-causing homeowners and business owners to file a claim, because the resulting water damage from pipes that froze and burst, then began leaking when the thaw happened.
A public adjuster for insurance in Florida is unlikely to ever deal with a claim related to frozen pipes, but they are experts on the kind of damage that happens in their area and can help homeowners through the difficult process of filing an insurance claim after a loss.
While a homeowner could certainly suffer extensive structural damage to their property from leaking pipes, the majority of structural damage claims will be from businesses. Water is heavy, a gallon of water weighs eight pounds, and businesses have plumbing that deals with
thousands of gallons per day.
Once the frozen water thaws, roof collapses, broken and leaking foundations and malfunctioning sprinkler systems will be responsible for a large portion of the insurance claims from business owners.
The good news for homeowners in Texas is that the water damage from this weather event will not be considered flooding like the damage from Hurricane Harvey, and most property insurance policies will cover the cost of repairing this water damage. In fact, the majority of claims will probably be related to water damage from the frozen and compromised infrastructure and loss of perishable food from the power outages that affected the whole state of Texas.
Regardless of the source and type of damage, the most important thing to consider when filing a claim to recover from a disaster is the specific wording of the insurance policy. A public adjuster for insurance in Florida will be intimately familiar with the types of water damage covered because of the prevalence of hurricanes.
The damage caused by the massive Texas weather event and power outage may be affected by policies that require home and business owners to take mitigating actions during the disaster itself. For example, if someone did not shut off the water intake valve, the insurance company could deny their claim for water damage after the fact because they should have known to shut the water off when the pipes were freezing.
At the same time, punishing someone for forgetting to shut off their water intake in the middle of a crisis where they are trying to get their family to safety could be argued against by an experienced public adjuster, especially once they have made a full report of the loss.
Immediately After the Crisis
Regardless of the type of disaster, it is the responsibility of the home or business owner to secure the property against further damage. After authorities issued an “all clear” for people to return to their properties, homeowners should shut off their water valves and check all electrical appliances.
This is important for two reasons: water and electricity don’t mix, and if any electrical appliances have exposed wires, or any stove knobs are turned to an “on” position, they could easily start an avoidable fire. Not only would the fire cause more damage to the property, but the insurance company is likely to deny a claim for such damage because it was preventable on the part of the property owner.
Repair, and Return to Normal
For as long as there have been crises, there have been unscrupulous individuals who take advantage of the victims of crises. Document everything related to your loss with pictures and video if possible and save all communication with your insurance company.
Wait to make any repairs until your insurance company has evaluated your property. They will have procedures you have to follow, and limits as to what they will reimburse you for. Be careful when evaluating contractors too, and don’t pay anyone a large sum of money upfront because they tell you they will return your home to perfect condition in record time. Remember, your insurance company will pay to repair the damage from a catastrophe, not to fix a shoddy job by a cut-rate contractor.
Why You Need Continental Public Adjusters
Continental Public Adjusters are public adjusters for insurance in Florida, serving the whole state in handling property claims, and they have the experience to help you get the most out of your policy.
If you have a new property claim, or even worse if your claim is denied, delayed, or underpaid, you need an experienced public adjuster.
Continental Public Adjusters will do five key things for you:
1. Advocate: Our sole responsibility is to make sure you receive the maximum recovery for your loss.
2. Review: A comprehensive investigation helps us understand each specific type of loss. With our experts and consultants, we begin to determine the overall value of your property loss.
3. Estimate: Using the latest cost estimating software to prepare supporting documentation and provide it to your carrier.
4. Adjust: We will adjust your claim and negotiate with your insurance company adjuster to reach a settlement meeting your approval, in your best interest.
5. Maximize: We can foresee issues and obstacles in the claims process with the experience that comes from settling thousands of claims and will work to reach your maximum benefit.
Start with a free consultation with one of our team members to learn about your options. Continental Public Adjusters, Inc. has 38 years of experience successfully settling thousands of claims related to both personal and commercial property in the state of Florida.