It's been a few months since we endured the Winter Storm Uri. The storm had people stranded in the cold without electricity, heat or running water. Families hugged each other in parked cars and boiling water in their homes to drink. At the time of the storm, much of the focus was on the Texas power grid and why the infrastructure failed us in a time of need. Now, when claims come in, we see an abundance of damages left uncorrected, unresolved and generally appreciated.
Months after Uri, many Texans still live in damaged homes. Many of these residents are worried after being told too late that they had insufficient insurance. Many homeowners have been left helpless and incomplete. They have to deal with losses that they thought were covered. Many people have discovered that their policy limits payments on water damage resulting from a plumbing problem.
In recent years, insurance companies have introduced various restrictions on water damage in their attempts to limit exposure to water damage. policy. Most of the surcharges limit coverage to $ 5,000 ̵
Many consumers have "little idea of what they are buying other than a general sense that it is homeowners' insurance," said Daniel Schwarcz, a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School who has studied the move from standard forms. 2
While consumers may turn to agents, many clients pay attention to larger and more expensive policies purchased by affluent customers, said Jon Henningsgard, a longtime commercial insurance broker in Texas. 3
Many policyholders have admitted that they did not ask their agents about the details of their insurance; they simply assumed that the coverage was there. Legal options for policyholders with limited insurance are limited. When we examined many of these potential cases, we have seen huge amounts of damage to homes. These damages are estimated with high numbers and rightly so. But it is difficult to reveal to a policyholder who handles the damage that their maximum recovery is dictated by a sublimity in the policy. These provisions are usually found on the back and are added as an "approval."
It is always important to read the entire policy and review it each time it is renewed to make sure you understand what you are paying for. Do not hesitate to ask your agent or insurance company if anything has changed or why your insurance premium has risen. It is better to recognize these things before a problem arises. Many problems can be avoided by going through things proactively rather than reactively. If you wait until the damage has occurred to see what is covered, you are waiting too long.
For a more in-depth look at individuals dealing with policy constraints that limit their ability to repair their homes completely, read Collin Eaton and Leslie Schism's article in The Wall Street Journal: After Freeze, Insurance Comes Up Short for Many Texans .
1 https://www.claimsjournal.com /news/southeast/2021/05/10/303619.htm
2 After Freeze, Insurance Comes Up Short for Many Texans The Wall Street Journal, Collin Eaton and Leslie Scism, July 5, 2021.