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How Long Do I Have to File a Homeowners Insurance Claim?


In the event that a person’s home should be damaged due to a natural disaster or some other type of catastrophe, many people turn to their homeowners insurance policies for much needed financial support. But what happens if a person does not file a claim right away? While the specifics will vary from policy to policy, generally speaking, if a person does not report their claim in a timely manner, they run the risk of having their claim denied by their insurance.

It is extremely important for homeowners to read their insurance contracts thoroughly in order to understand the expectations and requirements that are placed upon them as the insured. Most insurance policies contain wording that require the insured to provide prompt or immediate written notice to the insurance company or one if its agents in the event of a loss. This time limit can be anywhere from 30 days to a year depending on the insurer. Waiting too long to file a claim could be used by your insurance company as grounds to prove that you are not in compliance with a condition in your homeowners insurance policy, giving them the right to deny your claim for coverage. But why is this a requirement?

To put it simply, homeowners must be able to prove that the damage to their home was the result of a covered event and not caused by some other secondary cause that exceeds the responsibility of the insurance company. If a recent tornado were to have damaged your roof, it is in your best interest to file a claim as soon as possible before the damage has time to escalate into further destruction that can be denied coverage under your policy’s negligence clause. If an appraiser finds that the damage to your home could have been prevented by filing a claim more quickly, you may be held financially responsible for the repairs.

What If the Damage Wasn’t Apparent?

Things can become much more complicated if the damage to a person’s home is not readily apparent. Say for example a violent windstorm rocks your area, causing a tree to snap and fall. While you heard a loud bang and suspect something may have struck your house, when you inspect the area the morning after, you see no damage other than the fallen tree in your backyard. Unbeknownst to you, the tree did indeed hit your house, punching a basketball-sized hole in your roof outside of your view. Eight weeks after the windstorm, a thunderstorm causes several hours of torrential rain to pour through your roof, causing extensive flood damage. Your insurance company proceeds to deny your claim, claiming that your home’s damage was caused by your failure to repair your roof.

In any case, it is always best to thoroughly investigate all potential claims as soon as possible after a disaster. These situations can be tricky and are best handled by an experienced insurance attorney. If you have been denied coverage due to unapparent damage, or if you believe your homeowner's insurance claim has been wrongfully denied for some other reason, the Houston homeowners insurance attorney at Dick Law Firm can protect your rights as a policyholder and demand compensation on your behalf. Having helped thousands of clients since 2008, we have what it takes to get the results you need.

Call 833-7RIGHTS or schedule a no-cost consultation today to get started.

Get an advocate!

If you are uncertain whether you should file an insurance claim, you should contact a knowledgeable insurance attorney. Experienced home insurance lawyers only charge money for the disputed portions of the lawsuit. Insurance companies spread myths, causing concern that clients will not hire a lawyer because they are too expensive. A home insurance lawyer will help you get a lot more. Almost all the statistics show that insurance providers pay more to consumers by hiring an experienced insurance lawyer.

Stop buying in from crooked insurance companies.

Instead of paying legitimate insurance claims, consumers are smart enough to stop buying insurance from businesses by wasting their premiums on pressing state officials and slicking TV ads. Insurance companies like State Farm have a nasty reputation for tricking customers. My law firm has discovered in the last 12 years that the only way to keep our customers from being victimized by greedy insurance providers is not to buy insurance.