It’s a homeowner’s worst nightmare: a crack has begun to develop in the corner of a room. You’re not sure how long it’s been there, but you know it’s getting longer and longer—and you’re afraid that the repairs will only get more expensive as time goes on. But how can you be sure that your insurance will cover the costs of repair if the damage is worse than meets the eye?
Unfortunately, many sagging floors or unsightly cracks in a plaster wall can be the first sign of a serious problem—and if the cause is not discovered, the building may suffer a total structural collapse. Here are just a few common causes of structural collapse in Texas homes and businesses:
- Problems with the initial construction of the property
- Water intrusion (such as a leaking roof, humidity, or dampness)
- Settling or shifting foundation (due to sink holes or water table disruption)
- Insect damage
- Fires or explosions
- A nearby construction or demolition
- Missing or damaged joists, headers, or support beams
- Uneven ground soil
What Should I Do to Prevent a Structural Failure?
If you have discovered a crack in your wall or ceiling, you should have your property inspected as soon as possible. A building inspector can determine the extent of the damage and possible options for repair, including damage and construction estimates. You should also take pictures of the damage and ask for a copy of the inspection report and cost estimates in writing so you can submit them to your insurance company.
You may be met with resistance by your insurer, as costs to repair a structure to prevent collapse are often high. If you are having trouble getting full reimbursement for a property damage claim, you should consider:
- Rereading your policy. If your insurer denies your claim, he must provide a clear reason why you cannot be covered under the terms of your policy. If the language in your policy is ambiguous, a court is required to give you the benefit of the doubt when considering a coverage award.
- Your additional costs. In addition to the costs of repair to your home, your claim should reimburse you for out-of-pocket expenses related to your claim. Staying in a hotel, eating meals away from home, transportation costs (including fuel and mileage), boarding costs for pets, lost time from work, and babysitters needed to watch your children while you deal with construction and insurance issues may all be compensable.
- Speaking with an attorney. There are many different factors that can contribute to property damage, and a compelling case depends on evidence. A property damage attorney can investigate your property, work with experts to determine the likely cause of damage, estimate your total losses, and get you the funds you need to fix your home and restore your life back to normal.
Every moment that passes could place you and your family in danger, so get the funds you need to stabilize your home! Call Wayne Wright LLP today at 800-237-3334 to have us explain the details of your property damage case at no cost to you.