If your home suffers destruction during a hurricane in Louisiana, you could receive compensation through an insurance claim. To do so, you want to contact your insurance company as soon as you can. The insurer will then send out an adjuster to identify and measure the damage that occurred.
You will also want to create a list of any damaged personal property so you can request a settlement that accounts for everything you lost. If you feel like the insurance company is not treating you fairly or listening to your concerns about your losses, you can contact our firm to hire a hurricane damage claim attorney.
Start By Contacting Your Insurance Company
After the hurricane, the first thing you should do is contact your insurance company. The Louisiana Department of Insurance (LDI) recommends contacting the insurer as soon as possible.
RS 22:1892 requires the insurance company to respond to a notice regarding property damage within 30 days, though extensions may apply in emergency situations. In the meantime, you can begin documenting the damage that occurred.
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What to do While You are Waiting for the Adjuster
Before beginning the cleanup process, you should take photographs or videos of your property. Show the damage to both the home and any personal property. However, do not place yourself in danger by climbing on a roof or entering unstable areas—just take some general photos, if possible.
After photographing the damage, you can take some steps to shore up areas of the home that have damage. For example, you could place a tarp over broken windows or a hole in the roof.
If you want to remove wet, ruined items from the home, you can, but do not discard them until the insurance adjuster sees them. Should you end up paying someone else to help with temporary repairs or move items, request receipts. You may be able to receive reimbursement from the insurer for these items.
Seek Additional Living Expenses
Check with your insurance company to see if your policy will cover additional living expenses (ALE). According to LDI guidelines, you could apply for financial support for moving into another place while you wait for home repairs. Sometimes, you can receive reimbursement for food and a car rental as well.
If your policy allows for ALE, keep receipts for all of your expenses.
Begin Working with the Insurance Company
After the adjuster visits your property, they should send you a list of items for which you will receive reimbursement. You want to check this list very carefully. Do not just take the adjuster’s word that a particular personal item is part of the settlement—it needs to be in writing.
Even if you have concerns over some items or the value of your loss, you can accept a check for the items that are not in dispute. As the Insurance Information Institute (III) explains, the first offer after a disaster is often an advance that allows you to begin repairs as soon as possible. If you uncover more damage later on, you may retain the right to seek additional money for your claim.
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Seeking More Money
If repairs are going to cost far more or the damage at your home is more severe than what the adjuster estimated, you can go back to the insurance company and request more money. You will need to provide the insurer with the actual repair estimates to seek additional payments.
Working with Potential Flood Damage
The majority of homeowner policies will not cover your property for flooding. Whether a flood occurs because of hurricane storm surge, a swollen river near your home after a thunderstorm, or another reason, you nearly always need to have a separate flood insurance policy to receive coverage.
However, if your home’s roof suffers damage in a hurricane and rainwater comes into the house, your homeowner’s policy should cover this type of water damage. Still, this can be an area of dispute between a homeowner and an insurer, so prepare for a potential fight if you have water damage. An attorney from our firm can support you.
Consider Hiring an Attorney to Help with Your Claim
Sometimes, a homeowner will have a dispute with their insurance company regarding the projected settlement amount. This can be overwhelming given the severity of the situation, but you do not have to fight the insurer on your own.
You have the right to hire a lawyer to represent you in a dispute with the insurer. Our firm can fight for compensation to rebuild your home so you can return your life to normal as quickly as possible. Sometimes, an attorney from our firm can negotiate a successful resolution with the insurer. Otherwise, we may suggest filing a claim in court against the company.
We Stand Up to Unfair Insurers After a Hurricane Claim
If the insurance adjuster is not treating your claim fairly or taking your situation seriously, consider hiring an attorney from our firm. With the team at Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers on your side, you can trust that we will fight hard for a favorable settlement.