The Insurance Company’s Fiduciary Duty to their Insureds
As an insured party in the state of Texas, home owners with insurance policies are owed a financial fiduciary duty from their insurance carriers. This fiduciary responsibility requires the home owner’s insurance company to act in good faith in terms of response and management of the claim that they file. The state of Texas has a set of codes that insurance companies must comply with when handling a home owner’s claim. And, in the event that they are not adhered to, some home owner’s may be entitled to a financial settlement.
What does a Typical Texas Homeowners’ Policy Cover?
On average, a standard homeowners’ policy in Texas will cover:
: Any structural damage to the home and adjacent structures like a garage, a fence, etc.
: theft of or damage to personal belongings within the home.
: Any living expenses resulting from loss of use of the home due to damage.
: Most mold damage, as long as the mold is the result of a covered loss under the policy.
The Insurance Company’s Deadlines to Either Pay or Deny your Claim
There are many important timelines you need to be aware of when filing a claim with an insurance company. Under the Texas Insurance Code, insurance companies are required to pay claims in a “timely and prompt manner”.
The Texas Insurance Code, however, goes even further by imposing specific timelines on insurance companies to acknowledge, investigate and either pay or deny a claim.
Once the property owner files a claim with their insurance company, the company is required to:
Acknowledge and begin investigating the claim, as well as request any necessary statements, items or forms within 15 days;Notify claimant as to the acceptance or denial of his or her claim within 15 business days (the insurance company may request up to 45 additional days to complete this step);Pay the accepted claim within 60 days of receiving any requested material;Pay the accepted claim no later than 5 business days after notification of impending payment;Pay the accepted claim no later than 5 business days after claimant performs any required action upon which payment is conditional.
How to Protect Yourself from Unscrupulous Contractors
Unfortunately, even in a time of disaster, there will always be those who seek to capitalize off of the misfortune of others. While many contractors are good, hard-working people doing their best to assist in the recovery, there are a number of unqualified contractors who have been taking advantage of people who sustained property damage during the hurricane.
Here are a few tips to help keep you from being victimized:
Use a local or in-state contractor wherever possible. This will make it easier to verify the contractor’s credentials, insurance information and even reputation through the local Better Business BureauCreate a record of any and all repairs made by paying with a check, credit card, money order or any other traceable means of payment. Never pay in cash. In addition, keep any and all relevant receipts and invoices from the contractor himself.Accompany the contractor to the hardware store in order to purchase any necessary supplies. Do not give the contractor cash up front.Review everything before you sign it. There may be additional charges hidden on top of the contractor’s initial bid.