Winter storms cause high numbers of homeowner insurance claims in Texas

In the final weeks of 2013, a major ice storm hit northern Texas, causing millions of dollars of damage to homes, vehicles, roads and properties. Numerous boats suffered damage at the Lewisville Lake marina when ice caused a metal roof covering the boats to collapse. Roofs of many residential homes also collapsed under the weight of the ice or suffered damages from falling trees and branches.

ABC news reports that insured residential home losses in the Dallas area already exceed $30 million. Insurance companies are expecting claims to pour in from policy owners in the next weeks due to downed trees, burst pipes and from vehicle accidents on icy roads.

High cost of homeowners' insurance

Texans pay some of the highest homeowner insurance rates in the nation. While state homeowners no longer have the most expensive policies in the U.S., Texas rates are still the third highest, according to the Dallas News. While the National Insurance Crime Bureau reports a rise in questionable insurance claims in major cities in Texas over the past few years, the constantly rising rates have more to do with legitimate storm damage claims than false claims.

Texas, along with other coastal states, suffers from natural disasters such as ice, wind and hails storms, hurricanes, tornadoes and flooding. However, less obvious issues cause problems that can be just as serious. If you own a home in Texas, you should be on the lookout for hidden issues - such as mold - caused not only by winter storms but also by appliance malfunctions, roof leaks and slow leaks around plumbing fixtures.

Bad faith insurance claims

Unfortunately, insurance carriers sometimes appear to spend more time looking for potential false claims or ways to not fairly pay a claim than paying Texans what they are owed for legitimate claims. The result is that homeowners wait long periods of time for benefits and, sometimes, are never properly paid on their claims.

When insurance companies fail to promptly process a claim or unreasonably deny or lowball a claim, they may not be acting in good faith. Bad faith cases are all too common and can cause you to suffer further damage due to the carrier's refusal to pay or process your claim.

A lawyer can help

If your insurance company is giving you the runaround regarding a claim under your homeowners, automobile or business insurance policy, consult an experienced insurance lawyer. A Texas attorney knowledgeable about bad faith claims and insurance litigation may be able to help you obtain the compensation to which you are entitled.