There is a new law that takes effect this week of which most people are completely unaware and the timing could not be WORSE! Hurricane Harvey is destined to be one of the top 10 most costly hurricanes in U.S. history. OK, it may not be all that bad, it just depends on the end result of your claim.

If you have property damage to your home or business – including from Hurricane Harvey – and you need to make a claim with your insurance company, DO IT BEFORE this Friday, September 1, 2017. This new law applies to property damage claims involving “forces of nature” – such as floods, rainstorms, wind, tornados, hurricanes, hail, and wildfires.

The rush to submit a claim, will all depend if a lawsuit will be ultimately be filed for the claim. Since that is not something you can possibly know until later, you may not want to take a chance. 

House Bill 1774, reduces the penalties insurance companies face when they don’t pay enough, decrease the chances they will have to pay the plaintiff’s attorneys fees and protect individual agents from the negative effects of being personally sued.

The argument that this will help the consumer can also be made because this new law is intended on slowing abusive law suits on insurance companies thus lowering premiums.

Here are the major changes:

1. Consumers must notify the insurance company 61 days before filing a lawsuit.

2. Interest penalty for late payments paid by insurance providers is decreased from 18% to 15%.

3. Consumers attorney fees will only be paid IF the suit is awarded up to 80% of the damages.

On the other side, there are those who say the restrictions will ultimately hurt Texas consumers by de-incentivizing insurance companies from paying on time to avoid a lawsuit.

So, while some lawmakers are saying, “There is no need to rush to file a claim. Put your safety first”, it may not be the best time to take a chance” while, consumer advocates say those measures make it harder for homeowners to demand timely payment for the damages done to their homes and will make it more difficult for them to find lawyers willing to sue insurance companies who’ve wronged them.

Only the consumer who needs to file a claim can ultimately decide if it is their best interest to file prior to September 1st. Sadly, time is not on their side!

This article is for your information only and is not to be seen or intended to be of any legal advice.
Sources: Texas Tribune, Dallas News, KETK Tyler