It seems that just when you think you have addressed things properly, something else comes up that causes you to take notice. We recently posted advice on dealing with a home that was burned to the ground and what to expect from a fire loss regarding proving your damages. Following our post, a very vigilant blog follower who experienced what he considers to be a total loss from fire to his home, sent me a note reminding us of Texas
Statute 862.053 that reads as follows:
Sec.A862.053.AAFIRE INSURANCE: TOTAL LOSS OF REAL PROPERTY.
(a) A fire insurance policy, in case of a total loss by fire of property insured, shall be held and considered to be a liquidated demand against the company for the full amount of such policy. This subsection does not apply to personal property.
(b) AAAn insurance company shall incorporate verbatim the provisions of Subsection (a) in each fire insurance policy issued as coverage on real property in this state.
(c) AAThe commissioner shall require compliance with this section.
Our last post was probably not very clear when we described a house that was burned to the ground. What we need to clarify is “what” is considered a “total loss” and who determines what a total loss is. We have had reports from the field of some people being paid in full for their policy limits and some being told that while the house is burned, the slab is still usable. The questions remain for us as to whether a usable slab causes the home to be considered a total loss and the statute does not seem to define it either.
We wanted to collect various opinions from some of the attorneys we work with and Sergio Leal with Merlin Law Group reviewed this statute and took the initiative to follow up by posting a blog dealing with how the courts have defined a total loss. Please view the following link to make your own assessments as to what might qualify you for a total loss.
If you have not been paid full policy limits for your burned down home, you may want to consider asking your insurance company about the above provision. We would like to hear from you on this topic as to whether you have been paid your policy limits. I want to give our blog follower all the credit for being vigilant enough to bring this to our attention.