Opening a Claim:In my earlier post, Rent or Own, the Insurance Bill of Rights is for You, I explained how the Texas Consumer Bill of Rights protects the homeowners’ and renters’ rights by outlining guidelines for the insurance companies to follow.
There might be a time when you might need to open a claim with your insurance company. Unfortunately, policyholders have little experience on how the claim process works. This is why I have outlined the basics when it comes to filing an insurance claim.
How the claim process works:
When beginning the claim process, the first step is to file your claim as soon as possible. After opening a claim, your insurance company must begin investigating your claim within 15 days, stated in the Texas Insurance Code 542.055. Your insurance company might ask for information related to the claim and it is best to cooperate with these requests to help make the claim process go faster. You do have the right to refuse information that does not relate to the claim. This right is only waived if your insurer provides a court order, or claim is a fire or loss of income related.
Once the claim is received, the Texas Insurance Code states that the insurer has 15 days to either approve or deny the claim. When the insurance company accepts the claim, they have 5 business days to pay. If the company rejects the claim, they must give you a written statement explaining their decision, Texas Insurance Code 542.056 through 542.059.
Always exceptions to the rules.
If the insurance company needs more time, the insurer must send a notice stating the cause of the delay. If the company suspects arson during a fire claim, this is an extra 30 days. If the claim involves a natural disaster, this gives the company an extra 15 days and surplus line carriers have 20 days to pay your claim after agreeing to do so, Texas Insurance Code 542.056 and 542.059.
Food for thought:
If the insurance company is taking their sweet time with the claim process or taking way too long to pay the claim, you have the option to hire an insurance attorney. If you win, the insurance company may owe you interest at the rate of 18% per year plus attorney fees, Texas Insurance Code 542.060.
If you would like more information about this specific topic or have other insurance questions, click on the blue button below.