Texas water loss claims from a non-hurricane event are going to be historic. I have lived in Texas my entire life and this statewide catastrophe is a scene out of an apocalyptic movie. Texas is a mess right now. The system has failed its residents. The energy capital of the USA can’t keep residents clean, warm, or informed because for many, there is no water, electricity, or WiFi/cable.

My phone has been abuzz from calls from friends and family about pipe bursts. The photos on social media of homes with water gushing down the ceilings and icicles are just another blow in this nightmare of a week. The power grid was not made for this weather. Every residential home or commercial structure without power for a substantial time, may have structural issues related to freezing water and many will have leaks which will become even more apparent as the thaw starts.

In Texas, be aware of your insurance policy language and your obligations. Read the insurance policy as soon as possible so you are informed about your coverage. Read it now! Call and email your agent if you don’t have a copy of your policy. Please call your insurance agent if you don’t have access to the internet.

The key is to report your claim now. Do not wait until this is over. It may be too late.

What many people don’t realize is that insurance carriers have been altering policies over the years and reducing coverages right under Texan’s noses. I have spoken about this at many seminars and have detailed the dwindling rights and coverages in my presentations.

Plumbing leaks and accidental discharge claims are one of those provisions that carriers have messed with. These small changes in policy wording can leave you soaked with expenses when you have to front the cost to repair your busted pipes while the insurance company gets off the hook. For example, some Allstate policies have a two-day/48 hour window to notify Allstate that a water loss or leak claim occurred. This provision means that if you don’t call or notify Allstate about your loss within 48 hours of it first occurring (the break) then it will not be considered “accidental discharge,” which will then prevent you from recovery. Not immediately providing notice of loss could provide a reason for your insurance company to deny or lower the amount of your claim. They could assert that under the policy terms the frozen pipe claim will be treated as long-term seepage, when we all know that is not long-term seepage.

Insurance companies write these semantic changes into the policy for their benefit. If the literal language is enforced, you will be unfairly harmed. Trust me. I have seen it. I have had clients who dealt with this. Our state may enforce these draconian policy terms whether you read it or not. You could be stuck with no coverage and no money from your carrier.

Notify your insurance company immediately. Document what has happened. Take photos and videos of your damage and the water leaking and flooding.

Again, I cannot stress the important action required that you call, email and somehow notify your insurance company and agent of your loss and claim right away. Don’t make a mistake that will cost you later.

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