The Water Pipes Burst – Now What?

By: LeMaster & Ahmed PLLC | Published 03/04/2021

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Thousands of Texas homeowners are having to deal with the home damage inflicted by the arctic winter storm of 2021. Some homeowners had prior experience with this sort of disaster and they shut off the water to their homes and drained the water pipes in the walls and attic of their houses. However, many who did not drain their water pipes have major expenses and headaches to address.

What Is Covered In Your Home Insurance Policy

Homeowners will need to review their homeowners policy for the specific provisions that discuss water damage. Most homeowners’ policies should cover this type of damage because it was “sudden” and “accidental.” But the devil is in the details. Does it cover personal property such as furniture? Does it cover appliances such as the refrigerator and the food that may have spoiled? Does it cover the cost of having to move your family to a hotel for weeks or months while waiting for the home to be repaired? And most home insurance policies have dollar limits. Insurance coverage is limited and homeowners may be surprised how little they have insured.

Renters who have purchased renters insurance should only be concerned with their personal property. The house and any damage to the house is the responsibility of the landlord or owner.

And don’t forget the deductible in your home insurance policy. That will be the homeowner’s loss and potentially a tax deduction for tax year 2021. Consult your tax preparer or CPA if you have paid a deductible relating to a home insurance claim.

Tips for Home Insurance Claims

Document, Document, Document – everything – photos, videos, receipts, repair estimates, etc.

1 – Make a comprehensive list of all damage; home, furniture, cars, etc.
 

2 – Protect the home from any additional damage; turn off the water, cover holes in roof, lock all doors and windows.
 

3 – Ask for an insurance company inspection as soon as possible and be present when the inspection takes place. Point out damage and let them do their job. You don’t have to do their job of investigating the loss for them. It is also good practice to have an experienced contractor with you during the inspection.
 

4 – Keep notes about every conversation you have with your insurance company – who, when, topic discussed, tasks to be accomplished and when.

 

Finding Help

FEMA

Federal assistance from FEMA is available to impacted families. The organization helps people with temporary housing, home repairs, and uninsured properties. FEMA can be contacted online at:
https://www.disasterassistance.gov

Storm Relief Fund

The political leaders in Harris county and Houston have established the “Houston Harris County Winter Storm Relief Fund” to help people who have the least ability to cope with the storm’s impact. It is administered by the United Way of Greater Houston. A co-manager of this fund is the Greater Houston Community Foundation.

They can be contacted at:
https://winterstormrelieffund.org/

or text to
HoustonFreeze to 898211
HoustonAyuda to 898211 (espanol)

Do You Need An Insurance Attorney ?

Maybe. Home and Property Damage Insurance companies are under tremendous pressure to keep their payouts low. Prior to the winter storm of 2021, various case studies of claims submitted to insurance companies demonstrated they were underpaid by $10,000 or more 85% of the time. An attorney with experience in home and property damage claims can protect the homeowner from being denied or underpaid on their claims.

The lawyers of LeMaster & Ahmed PLLC are here to help home and business owners when they suffer losses and damages as a result of insured events. Contact us at our Houston location at 832-356-7983 or our DFW location at 972-483-0410. You can also message us any inquiries directly on our website.

***The foregoing is not meant to serve as legal advice relating to your insurance coverage issue. Please contact one of our lawyers if you have questions specific to your particular insurance issue.

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