One year after the hailstorm that caused so much damage in the Panhandle, property owners find themselves still waiting to be paid by their insurance companies.
Folks all over the Panhandle have still not repaired their roofs, and in many cases it??s because of their insurance company denied their claim. Pronews 7, earlier this week, took you to a church that was having trouble staying high and dry because of their denied claim, and for this segment we talked with a business owner and a homeowner, who are both frustrated with their policies.
James Bichof, of Plains Moving and Storage can??t get his insurance company to pay up and have his roof fixed. They said that the damage is not due to hail, and his premiums have already jumped because he has an open claim.
??My rate is going up 30% and he told me it??s because you have an outstanding claim on these roofs, because I??m fighting my insurance company,?? said James Bichof. ??They say that the damage is not due to hail, and his premiums have already jumped because he has an open claim.??
Different kinds of clauses in policies from all different insurers are allowing insurers to deny claims.
??Many of the problems people are having here in Amarillo have to do with the cosmetic damage endorsement that people were either forced to sign or signed unknowingly regarding their metal roof,?? said Rob Kitto, a Public Adjuster.
Ms. Maeda, a local homeowner, said that people get stuck when they go to renew. She says insurance companies don??t want to deem something damaged, but then when their policies renew, they contradict their original findings by not wanting to cover the same roof.
??People can get stuck. The insurance company will tell you that you have cosmetic damage and they??re not going to cover it, but then when you want to get coverage, they tell you that they can??t cover that because you have damage,?? said Tamara Maeda.
While sometimes denials are inevitable, it??s important to know what coverage you??ve purchased. And if you work closely with your agent, the pain of a long dragged out claim may be avoidable.
??In insurance knowledge is power, you want to make sure you have an agent you trust that??s willing to go over your coverages with if you have the ability to do the annual review and make sure you understand the coverages in your policy and that??s the biggest thing,?? said Valerie Levario, a local insurance agent with Farmer??s . ??I got into this business because I worked in disaster recovery, and there were so many people who didn??t know what was involved in their coverage. ??
There are many people in these unfortunate situations involving insurance claims here in Panhandle. Before the next disaster strikes, it??s important to understand your policy, and have any claims and repairs done, and if you??re not satisfied with how your claim is being handled, consult a public adjuster or a lawyer.