Austin Personal Injury Attorney
If you need help enduring the winter storm in Texas, there are resources available.
If your insurance will not cover all your damage, you may be eligible for federal assistance from FEMA. Online at www.disasterassistance.gov. Or by phone, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. (CDT: 800-621-3362) (TTY: 800-462-7585)
To apply for federal assistance, you will need to have:
- Proof of Identification
- Documents that show you were the occupant or owner of the damaged property
- A list of all your property that was damaged
- Photos of your damaged home or other belongings
- An insurance determination letter. Fema will not pay for damage covered by your insurance. So you have to be able to show that your insurance will not cover it.
Property Damage and Injuries in Texas From The 2021 Winter Storm
The winter storm that hit Texas in February 2021 caused widespread damage and affected millions of Texans.
Record-low temperatures and a steady blizzard of snow and freezing rain bore down on the Lonestar state, obstructing roads and transportation, and resulting in extended power blackouts.
More than 4 million homes in the Lonestar state lost water or power as a result of the 2021 Texas winter storm. Many were forced to evacuate, and at least 22 people have died.
The 2021 Texas winter storm is expected to be one of the most costly events in the state’s history, even eclipsing the devastating Hurricane Harvey.
Many insurance claims are predicted to arise from this event.
In such circumstances, insurance companies may take longer to review or issue a decision on a claim. Some can even rightly be accused of dragging their feet.
Even worse, insurance companies may deny claims that should be approved under the insurance policy terms.
If you are waiting to make a claim, your claim is delayed, or you have received a denial of your claim, speak to an Austin property insurance attorney at Justinian and Associates to discuss your options.
There are no obligations and no fees unless you collect a larger settlement.
Warriors For The Injured
Justinian & Associates has extensive experience with property damage claims.
Battling bullies and uncooperative insurance companies is our forte. Securing millions of dollars for our clients and seeing that justice is done is our foundation.
We offer an entirely free no-obligation consultation with a seasoned personal injury attorney.
We’ll listen to the details of your property damage case and explain your rights under Texas law.
And unless we get you compensation, you pay nothing.
Contact us for a free case evaluation. We’re here to listen 24/7.
There are resources available if you need help enduring the winter storm in Texas.
Making an Insurance Claim for Winter Weather Damage in Texas
At such a challenging time, it can be difficult to even think about whether your property damage will be covered by insurance.
For those who have had a claim delayed or denied, the idea of having to pursue an insurance company dispute can seem overwhelming.
Every insurance policy is different, but many home and commercial property insurance policies do cover damages caused by winter weather like the winter storm that hit Texas.
Winter storm damage in Texas may be covered by an insurance policy.
Extreme winter weather can cause major property damage to homes and commercial property, as well as the personal property and business equipment contained inside:
- High winds upend trees and tear at building exteriors, causing damage to roofs, antennas, lights and other fixtures. Wind can even cause holes in a building, giving access to rain and snow and causing interior damage.
- Freezing temperatures can wreak havoc on plumbing systems, causing pipes to burst and significant water damage to buildings and the property inside them.
- Snow and frozen rain buildup can topple trees or drop heavy branches and chunks of ice onto the structures, vehicles and other personal property below.
- Roofs and entire structures can collapse under the weight of piled ice and snow. This damages not only the building themselves, but also property inside. Ongoing exposures to the winter storm can lead to water damage.
Insurance disputes relating to the 2021 Texas winter storm
Many residential and commercial property owners in Texas have paid for insurance policies to protect against damages caused by occurrences like the winter storm.
These events are exactly why people purchase insurance.
But insurance companies may use a variety of ways to reduce or deny coverage. These may include:
Treating each damage incident as a separate occurrence with a separate deductible.
An insurance company might make this claim if the various damages to the house occurred at different times during the winter storm.
Treating water damage as a result of a frozen water pipe that burst as not covered under a “flood” exclusion.
Many insurance policies contain exclusions, which are are types of damage that will not be covered. Some homeowner insurance policies in Texas exclude flood coverage (separate flood insurance is available).
Insurance companies have claimed that flooding, even caused by a burst water pipe, fell under an insurance policy exclusion.
Insurance policies often have specific rules that a policyholder must notify the insurance company of damage, or make a claim by a certain deadline. In some cases an insurer will deny coverage if those rules were not followed.
Under Texas law, you generally have two years from the date your claim is denied.
The truth is, some insurance companies rely on the fact that many customers will just accept a denial or an inadequate offer. They are businesses, and smaller settlements means bigger profits.
But you do not have to accept a denial. You usually have options.
And if they have delayed or lowballed you on a settlement, a company may change their tune when you are represented by a seasoned Austin property damage attorney.
A property damage lawyer knows the law and the legal loopholes that insurance companies try to use to deny coverage. Your lawyer also takes a lot off your plate.
And with all the insurance claims that will likely be filed because of the 2021 Texas Winter storm, people trying to recover damages under their policy may have a lot on their plate.
You will need to ask for all the coverage you want, and that includes knowing everything that’s available. It also includes gathering evidence and presenting your claim in the best way possible.
Every insurance policy in Texas is different, and whether property damage is covered by the plan can depend on the terms of the policy, and the circumstances of the damage.
But there are some general principles and possibilities worth knowing about if your property has been damaged during the 2021 Texas winter storm, especially before you file a claim.
FACT SHEET FOR PROPERTY DAMAGE FROM THE 2021 TEXAS WINTER STORM
All your claims will need to be
Take photos from various angles:
- CLOSE-UPS that show damage.
- WIDER SHOTS that show how the
take a photo of
your proof of
premiums are all
Write down what happened, including dates and times,
to refresh your memory and get it on record.
- Include a list of all property that was damaged, when it was
acquired and what it was worth.
Some home insurance policies will cover the costs of
having to evacuate the home because of collapse or
- It depends on the specifics of the insurance policy, but this can
include hotel and transportation fees, as well as up to $500 for
spoiled food. (Take photos of the spoiled food and make a list of
all the items.)
- Note: Most insurance plans will probably not cover
evacuations caused by power outages.
Many insurance plans will help
provide you with a hotel or shelter
while your property is being
repaired. However, there are
limitations on most coverage.
- You should speak with your insurance
agent, and you may want to have a
property damage attorney in Texas
examine your policy and damage.
You are generally permitted to make temporary repairs
to your damaged property, especially repairs needed to
prevent further damage.
This may include:
- Shutting off your water,
- Covering holes in the roof and other areas to prevent additional
damage (water / snow / wind).
Your policy may pay for the
materials and labor needed to
make these temporary repairs,
but be certain to document:
- Why they were necessary,
- The process you took to repair them,
- Any receipts or invoices you pay
by a frozen water
pipe that burst will
be covered by a
policy, but there
Many policies will pay
for damage caused by
snow, sleet and ice
buildup. But some plans
limit coverage to damage
on the actual house.
Under some policies,
damage to a fence, deck,
toolshed, etc. may not be
Not all policies will pay for
damage in connection with a tree,
even if the winter storm caused
the tree to fall on a house.
Many policies will pay for tree or
branch removal from your house or
driveway, but not from your yard.
The 2021 Winter Storm will probably be categorized as
a force majeure event, also known as an Act of Nature.
- That means if your neighbor’s tree fell on your property, unless
your neighbor did something wrong to cause the tree to fall,
your neighbor (and your neighbor’s insurance policy) probably
will not have to pay. You would have to file a claim with your
own insurance company.
If the 2021 Texas winter storm caused a tree or branch
to fall on your vehicle, a comprehensive auto insurance
policy may cover the damages.
- Comprehensive coverage pays for damages to your vehicle
that are unrelated to driving collisions. This includes incidents
like fire, theft or storm damage.
- Note: Texas law does not require comprehensive coverage,
and it costs additional fees. If you do not know whether you
have it on your vehicle, ask your insurance provider.
Talking To An Austin Personal Injury Attorney At Justinian & Associates Costs Nothing
Our dedicated roster of Austin personal injury lawyers are no strangers to battling insurance companies. And we offer an absolutely free consultation to hear the specific details of your case and let you know your options.
You Don’t Pay Unless We Win Your Case
We do not accept defeat. That means unless we get you money for your injuries, you don’t pay us a dime.
We work on a contingency-fee basis, our pay is contingent upon whether we recover money for you or not. So if we work on your case and fail, you won’t owe a dime. We can talk by phone, video conference, or whatever you’re comfortable with. Just get in touch.
Your Rights Can Be Lost If You Wait
Statutes of limitation are laws that limit how much time you have to file a lawsuit after being injured.
Texas statutes of limitation may apply to your property damage insurance claim if it has been denied. Don’t let your rights expire.
All We Do Is Fight For Injured Victims
Our only goal is justice for our clients, whatever that means for them.
We understand that the well-being and livelihood of you and your loved ones may be at stake.
Call, text or email us for a free consultation, with no obligation. Speak to an Austin personal injury attorney from Justinian & Associates (not a “screener” or paralegal) to understand your rights.