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Houston Explosion: The Insurance Industry is Ready to Help
ICT and the insurance industry extend condolences and are ready to respond to Friday’s catastrophe in Houston. Texas has seen its share of catastrophic explosions including West in 2013 and Texas City in 2005. Houston is yet another reminder of the impact that such events have on lives. As Houstonians grapple with this loss of life and property it’s natural to begin the process of assessing loss.
While insurance is often thought of in the context of our many Texas weather events including, hurricanes, tornadoes, and hail -- explosions and the ensuing damage caused by fire and smoke are covered in most insurance policies. Checking with your insurance agent or carrier is important to discuss your policy to understand your policy coverages, says Camille Garcia, ICT Director of Communications & Public Affairs.
There are parts of an insurance policy that may be triggered by such an event – here are three sections briefly outlined below:
Property damage is often first thought about and most policies will extend coverage to repair or rebuild your property. Temporary repairs should be made to protect your property from further damage; remember to take photos of the damage and save receipts so that you can have this ready for your claims adjuster.
Personal property may also have been damaged due to fire or smoke. Policies typically cover either depreciated value or replacement cost. Discuss this with your agent or adjuster, since knowing what type of coverage is included in your policy will help to make decisions on future purchases.
Mandatory evacuations, are often covered, usually for a limited timeframe under the Additional Living Expense section of your policy. If your home is uninhabitable, due to unsafe structural integrity, utility outage due to the explosion, or other covered losses, ALE often extends coverage subject to policy limits.
As with any catastrophic event, ICT recommends being aware of the possibility of fraud. We strongly recommend seeking references, reading local reviews, understanding contracts, and limiting deposits/payments until the work is complete. There are good contractors out there, however, falling victim to unethical contractor activity only adds to the stress of these situations.
Understanding your policy and taking current and future steps to protect your family and property are important. Your agent and carrier are ready to assist you with your claim or to simply review your policy. Anytime is a good time for an insurance review.
For more information on this or other property and casualty insurance related matters, please contact Camille Garcia, Director of Communications & Public Affairs at 512-713-4262.