How Long Do I Have to File My Texas Freeze Claim?
Megan Simonsen | Feb 16, 2022
The Texas freeze of February 2021, also known as Winter Storm Uri, was devastating to Texas homeowners across the state. If you or your home is still feeling the effects of that natural disaster, it’s important to know you can still file a claim to be made whole. But it’s critical that you work quickly because time is almost up!
Here’s what you need to know about filing a Texas freeze claim, and how long you have to do it before it’s too late.
How Long Do Texas Homeowners Have to File a Claim Following the February 2021 Freeze?
If your home was damaged in the Texas freeze, it’s not too late to file an insurance claim — but your time is almost up, so act quickly! Most policies in Texas allow just one year from the date of the weather event to make your claim. The Texas freeze occurred February 13-17, 2021, so you likely only have one day left to file.
If you’ve already filed an insurance claim, but your insurer denied it or underpaid it, the statute of limitations to pursue litigation in Texas is 24 months or two years. This means you have until February 13-17th, 2023 before you lose the right to pursue your insurer in court.
3 Things to Remember When Filing a Texas Freeze Claim
Before you rush to file, it’s important that you gather all the information you need to make a valid claim. Here are a few key details to remember before filing:
1. Take Photos of Everything
As much as possible, try to keep photos of the damage that occurred to your home. These photos provide proof that your home was damaged as a result of the storm, and they help show exactly how much damage was caused. Without them, your insurer may deny the validity or severity of your claim. So the more photos, the better — and better yet if they’re timestamped!
2. Document Everything
When it comes to insurance claims, every piece of documentation matters. Try to communicate with your insurer and adjuster through email or in writing as much as possible. Ask your adjuster to relay their findings via email, even if they tell you what they find while they’re at your home in-person. Use an app to scan the receipts for any products or services you purchase in order to repair any damages. Just remember, the more documentation you have, the better chance you have of getting the coverage you deserve.
3. Know Your Rights
Insurers make money when they don’t pay claims. It’s profitable for them to underpay or outright deny your claim, and they’ll try to do so whenever possible. Don’t let them do that to you.
Especially in a large-scale disaster like the Texas freeze, insurers are looking for a way out. Know your rights, how to defend them, and who can help you do it properly.
What Happens After You File a Texas Freeze Claim?
In Texas, insurers must pay out claims within five business days of approving them. However, there are a few steps they must go through before approval, including:
- Notice of claim — Your insurer has 15 business days to acknowledge they’ve received your claim and request any relevant information.
- Make a decision on your claim — Your insurer gets another 15 days to make a decision on your claim.
- Pay out your claim — Once your insurer has approved your claim, they have five business days to make the final payment to you.
Overall, this process takes about 35 days from when you submit your claim to when you’re paid. If you’d like to know more about what goes into the filing process, check out our recent blog, How Do Insurance Companies Pay Out Claims in Texas?
I’ve Filed a Homeowners Insurance Claim for Damage Caused by the 2021 Freeze, but My Insurance Company Has Denied or Underpaid My Claim. Now What?
If your insurer has denied or underpaid your claim, don’t hire a public insurance adjuster (PA) to make or review the claim on your behalf. In most cases, that will be a waste of your time and money, as they don’t have the ability to expedite a decision or improve your odds of approval.
Instead, contact an experienced insurance dispute resolution attorney as soon as possible. Remember, you only have two years since the weather event happened to pursue litigation! A skilled attorney will help you through the litigation process, defend your case against your insurer in court, and get you the compensation you deserve.
Texas homes have undergone extreme weather conditions in the past year. Don’t let your insurer get away without covering your claim. Instead, get in touch with The Lane Law Firm’s insurance dispute attorneys. We’re here to help you file a formal appeal for your claim and hold your insurer responsible for the claim you’re due.