Debris Removal Insurance
An accident occurs on your property or during construction and suddenly you are left with a gargantuan mess. One that can’t simply be cleaned in a few hours, but could involve shards of glass, dangerous chemicals, smoke, extremely heavy debris and more. Thankfully, your insurance company’s policy has debris removal as a part of your contract, so you shouldn’t worry. However, what happens when you’re denied removal services?
Debris removal may not seem vital when it comes to insurance, but it is. You cannot conduct repairs, renovations or construct any structure with your property insurance coverage if there’s significant debris in the way. In addition, insurance companies are obligated to remove any debris if it’s a part of your policy. Refusing to eliminate the debris even though it’s well within the limits of the policy could be construed as the insurer acting in bad faith.
If you believe your insurance denied debris removal even though it was in your policy, then it’s highly recommended you seek an insurance claims attorney.
Attorney for Debris Removal Claims in Texas
Property insurers must uphold their policies if you’ve filed a viable claim. This includes debris removal if it’s listed on your insurance contract. Insurance companies who deny their policyholders debris removal services when they’re entitled to could be held liable. If you believe your insurance acted in bad faith, then we advise you to contact LeMaster & Ahmed PLLC.
The attorneys at LeMaster & Ahmed PLLC understand the stress that comes with a property insurance claim. We know the last thing you want to deal with right now is to argue with insurance adjusters on the phone all day. That is why we want to provide you with effective representation. We can negotiate with adjusters, collect evidence and litigate why your insurance company is obligated to provide debris removal services. Call now at (888) 306-2119 to set up your first appointment free.
LeMaster & Ahmed PLLC represents people throughout the greater Houston area and surrounding counties including Harris County, Dallas County, Galveston County, and Collin County.
Overview of Debris Removal in TX
- Is Debris Removal A Part of My Property Insurance Policy?
- Does Debris Removal Include Pollution Cleanup?
- Why Did My Insurance Deny Coverage for Debris Removal?
- Additional Resources
Is Debris Removal A Part of My Property Insurance Policy?
As a property owner, you are responsible for ensuring your premise is clear of debris before you can receive any insurance coverage. However, depending on your policy your insurer may cover debris removal as a necessary expense to bring your property back to pre-loss condition. Typically, the removal must be done within 180 days of your loss of you will be denied coverage.
Coverage for debris removal depends on your policy’s limits. For most insurance policies, the limit is 25 percent of the deductible plus the amount of direct damage loss paid. For example, the amount of debris removal expense would be available after a loss of $50,0000 where a $1,000 deductible was used would be $12,750. This is because 25 percent of 51,000 is 12,750.
The limit for debris removal is a part of and not in addition to the overall coverage limit for the property. In some cases, your policy may have an additional “sublimit” for debris removal expenses of up to $10,000 if you run over your initial policy limits. Other insurance contracts may require you to pay an additional expense to cover debris removal services.
Does Debris Removal Include Pollution Cleanup?
Accidents involving chemicals and contaminants could result in catastrophic oil spills, gas explosions and other hazardous accidents which can cause serious pollution to the surrounding environment. Although it seems counterintuitive, pollution cleanup is not necessarily a part of debris removal coverage. A “pollutant” defined in an insurance policy is any type of contaminant or thermal irritant. These can include smoke, acids, alkalis, waster, soot, fumes and other types of waste.
It’s possible that pollutants aren’t listed in your insurance policy at all. However, some policies state pollutant coverage can be provided if the discharge, migration, release, escape or dispersal of the pollutants came from a “specified cause of loss.” Most policies state that if the pollutants stemmed from one of the following perils, then the cleanup is covered.
- Windstorm or hail;
- Aircraft or vehicles;
- Riot or civil commotion;
- Leakage from fire-extinguishing equipment;
- Sinkhole collapses;
- Volcanic action;
- Falling objects;
- Weight of snow;
- Ice, sleet or water damage
If the accident that caused your pollution isn’t specified in your policy, then your insurer can deny coverage. Some common exclusions include accidental oil spills, seepage from corroded pipes, or manufacturing errors.
Why Did My Insurance Deny Coverage for Debris Removal?
Insurance companies could deny their policyholder debris removal services for several reasons. To be covered, the debris must fulfill the following requirements:
- The debris is from and on a covered property;
- It was caused by an insured peril listed on your policy; and
- The expenses are not for extracting already existing pollution on the land or to cleanup or replace polluted water that was pre-existing
Some insurance companies act deceptively so they can reap all the profits from your policy. They may utilize complicated and unfamiliar verbiage to try and convince you that their denial of debris removal coverage is valid. In some cases, an insurer will state the peril which caused the debris is excluded from your policy, otherwise known as an exclusion. This means the cause of your accident wasn’t listed in your property insurance policy such as a flood damage.
Insurers may also state you’ve exceeded their policy limits, so they cannot provide debris removal coverage. This is because debris removal is a part of the policy limitations and isn’t considered an addition to the contract. Your insurer may try and persuade you that you’ve already reached your coverage limits even though to you it seems you’ve hardly received any coverage at all. When these issues happen, it’s recommended you contact legal representation to discuss your situation. Your insurer could be acting in bad faith and could be held liable.
Insurance companies act in bad faith if they knowingly refuse to uphold their implied or express duties. Denying debris removal when it’s clearly a part of the policy can be considered a bad faith action. You may be able to file a suit against your insurance company so you can finally receive the coverage you deserve. Having an insurance lawyer on your side can significantly increase your chances of winning your case.
If you’re successful, then you’ll be given a monetary reward. It may reflect all losses you’ve experienced since your insurance denied debris removal coverage. It can include interest, lost wages, attorney’s fees, rent payments if the building is rented, city-mandated clean-up programs and mental anguish.
Debris Removal After Partial or Total Loss – Visit the official website for United Policyholders, a non-profit that is dedicated to giving advice to policyholders. Access their site to learn more about debris removal, steps to take before debris removal and other helpful resources.
Property Insurance – Visit the official website of the Texas Department of Insurance to learn more about property and commercial property insurance policies. Access their site to learn the various coverage options, replacement cost vs. actual cash value coverage and other coverages you might want to add as an extension.
Texas Debris Removal Attorney
If you have been denied debris removal by your insurer, it’s vital you get in contact with an experienced insurance litigation attorney. At LeMaster & Ahmed PLLC, our insurance lawyers have years of knowledge and practice representing policyholders in Texas. With our drive and strategic tactics, our team of legal professionals can help you receive the coverage you need.
Pick up the phone today and dial (888) 306-2119 to set up your first appointment entirely free. We will sit with you, answer your legal questions and determine what the best course of action is. LeMaster & Ahmed PLLC accepts clients throughout the state of Texas including San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, Galveston, Plano, Dallas, The Woodlands and DeSoto.