Earthquake insurance claims are formal requests filed by the insured to insurance companies asking for payments for damages done to their insured buildings or belongings as a result of a covered earthquake event. Generally, insurance companies review the validity of all claims. Once approved, policyholders get compensated according to the terms of the earthquake policy. After earthquake damage, the insured should gather relevant documents such as receipts, original invoices, and proof of ownership. It is also important to take photos and accounts of the event or damage. Aftershocks, which occur after the main tremor, may cause additional damage some days, weeks, or months later. Therefore, individuals should wait for 72 hours after the first shock to file the first claim. Get a Texas-licensed insurance agent to help with filing an earthquake insurance claim.
After filing a claim, your Texas earthquake insurance provider will assign a claims adjuster to analyze the losses and calculate the amount. The adjuster might be a full-time employee of the insurer or a contractor. The adjuster will most likely visit you for evidence or witnesses that can testify to the event to assess the situation. In most cases, it is best for the adjuster to come out at the same time with a building contractor, engineer, or appraiser to provide professional assistance, to precisely assess the amount of the damage. After the assessment, the adjuster will thoroughly consider your policy to establish what is and isn't covered, as well as any relevant deductibles that may apply to your case. You should review the earthquake policy’s deductible with your regular insurance agent to avoid claim settlement disputes and get compensation faster.
Every claim has a unique payment procedure determined by the type of claim and magnitude of the earthquake. Smaller claims require less time to complete and are easier to resolve, so you can get a check from the adjuster straight away. You should anticipate to receive many insurance checks during the repair process if you file a significant claim. For example, if your entire house needs to be replaced after an earthquake, the process may stretch out for months. In that situation, you'll get many checks, including the first installment on the settlement to begin repairs.
Earthquake insurance companies must pay claims filed by policyholders provided they meet the policy requirements.
If the Texas insurer denies your claim or does not pay enough to cover the damages, ask a knowledgeable and licensed insurance agent to review your policy, and if inconsistencies are found - file a complaint with the Texas Department of Insurance, by calling the Help Line at 800-252-3436 (8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday)
It is best to file a claim or call your insurer after 72 hours from the first main tremor.
According to the Texas Insurance Code, an insurer should inform a policyholder of its acceptance or denial of a claim within 15 days after receiving all materials, declarations, and forms needed to investigate the claim. An insurance provider can sometimes prolong this period to 45 days, but only if they have a good reason to do so. In addition, if your claim is denied, the insurer is required to inform you of the grounds for the denial.
Generally, you can’t file a claim if you don’t have an earthquake policy or your policy has been canceled before the ground tremor. Also, the type of earthquake coverage you purchase will determine if you can file a claim or not. For instance, you can’t file a claim for damaged properties if you have only an active building coverage policy. It is also important to note what your earthquake policy does not cover to avoid filing a wrong claim. Keep in mind that insurers do not pay claims for buildings or belongings damaged by secondary earthquake hazards like fire and flooding. (Flooding requires a separate “Flood” insurance) Choosing a high deductible that is higher than the total earthquake damage will disqualify you from filing a claim. As such, it is important to discuss your policy with a knowledgeable insurance agent, to know how to file an earthquake claim, and when not to file one.