Southeastern Texas was battered by rainfall from Hurricane Harvey. Although Harvey had downgraded from its Category 4 status when it swept through Beaumont, the storm still managed to cause widespread damage. The city received so much rainfall it effectively became an island, making it difficult for people and supplies to get out or in. The lasting effect of this flooding is that the city has seen very slow progress in rebuilding.
Many houses in Beaumont were flooded up to their roofs and residents were forced to evacuate to storm shelters. The situation became dire as rising rainwater continued, completely flooding routes in and out of Beaumont. Multiple highways, including Highway 290 and I-10, were completely impassible via vehicle.
According to measurements taken by the National Weather Service, the city received 49.06 inches of water, with more than half of this rain falling during one day. The rainfall caused such significant damage to the municipal water system that it left Beaumont residents without running water for several days .
Six months after Harvey, much of Beaumont is still uninhabitable and unusable. Homes and businesses gutted by Harvey’s aftermath still await repairs because contractors have been hard to come by. For some property owners, floodwaters sat as high as the roofs for days, making entire properties a total loss. The decision whether or not to rebuild at all has been a difficult one, and some property owners are selling “as-is,” afraid of rebuilding only to be flooded again in future storms.
What the Insurance Companies Won’t Tell You
The insurance industry has been quick to deny substantial interior damage claims to commercial properties on the ground that the wind did not create an opening in the roof or exterior. But in many insurance policies, interior damage is covered without a “storm created opening.” Whether or not interior damage is covered depends on the language of each individual policy. But too often, the insurance company will outright deny interior damage without mentioning the actual language of the insurance policy. Interior damages can be substantial, and each claim and policy must be evaluated on its own merits to determine whether or not the damage is covered.
Bad Faith Insurance Practices
Part of Beaumont’s slow recovery comes from property owners struggling with their insurance companies. Insurance is first and foremost a business. This means that when property owners try to collect on their policies, many insurance companies use bad faith tactics to avoid paying out on claims. Insurance companies may misrepresent policies to avoid payouts, including representing that certain damages are not covered by a policy when in fact they are. Insurance companies might also grossly underestimate the scope and cost of property damage to minimize payments. However, these tactics aren’t just wrong, they’re illegal. If your insurance company isn’t being straight with you during your Hurricane Harvey claim, don’t wait to get help.
Raizner Slania LLP Can Help With Your Beaumont Hurricane Harvey Claim