Hurricanes are among the most dangerous natural disasters on Earth. Furious winds, torrential rain, and even destructive fires can cause billions of dollars in damage. After even a category one hurricane, your home and property most likely need repairs or replacement.
Your homeowners’ insurance should cover hurricane damage, but securing the compensation you need to recover can be complicated. After a hurricane, you should have someone looking out for you. A Louisiana hurricane damage lawyer can help when disaster strikes. Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers is available to discuss the details of your case through a free consultation.
Damage Caused by Hurricanes
Hurricane damage can happen many ways and can be devastatingly destructive. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there were 56 weather disasters in the U.S. from 2019 to 2021 that each resulted in over $1 billion in damages. From 1980 to 2021, the estimated damage total from weather-related disasters is $2.155 trillion.
Types of Hurricane Damage to Homes and Buildings
The most destructive aspects of a hurricane are the aggressive-force winds and indomitable rainfall. Together, these two forces batter and uproot homes and other property. When it comes to houses and buildings, a hurricane can cause two main types of damage: surface damage and structural damage.
Surface damage refers to damage that is more or less superficial. It generally affects the exterior of the home and can expose the interior of your home to the elements. Broken windows, chipped-off paint, and shingles ripped from rooftops are some examples. Surface damage is usually simple to fix.
On the other hand, structural damage compromises the integrity and livability of the building. It affects the structure or foundation of the home and thus its ability to remain standing. A structurally damaged home could collapse or cause illness, depending on the damage.
For example, strong winds can weaken the load-bearing walls of your home, or hurricane waters may leak through a hole in the roof and soak into the home’s woodwork, causing mold to grow within the walls. Some common signs of structural damage after a hurricane in Louisiana are:
- Cracks in wood structures
- Cracks in ceilings
- Cracks in windows (pressure cracks)
- Hard-to-open doors and windows
- Damaged wires, pipes, and gas lines
- Wet insulation and electrical circuits
- Rust coming out of cracks
- Cracks in the foundation
- Bouncy floors
- Slanted doorframes or walls
- A home that appears to be slanted or leaning from the outside
- The smell of mold or mildew without a visible source
Structural damage can be complicated and should be addressed right away. Having your home inspected by a qualified professional is key to your safety and your hurricane damage insurance claim. A Louisiana hurricane damage lawyer at our firm can help you determine the next steps following a hurricane and assist you with getting the damage to your property evaluated and repaired by experts in the field.
Examples of Hurricane Damage
Damage from a hurricane can include:
- Rain damage
- Wind damage
- Hail damage
- Loss of power or water
- Uprooted or toppled trees
- Exterior wall damage
- Roof damage
- Foundation damage
- Garage or porch damage
When a hurricane damages your property, you could be entitled to more compensation than your insurance company initially offers. A hurricane damage attorney in Louisiana may be able to help you recover the compensation you deserve.
Laborde Earles injury was great for me they took care of me very fast and professional. If for any reason I need legal help they will be who I use.Client
Frequently Asked Questions About Hurricane Damage in Louisiana
What Should I Do If a Hurricane Damaged My House?
It can be scary and stressful to deal with a hurricane’s aftermath. However, Louisiana hurricane damage lawyers are willing to help you, and there are some steps you can take to make their job easier.
If a hurricane has damaged your house, you should do the following:
- Contact your insurance provider. Do this as soon as possible, even before the hurricane hits if possible, as time is of the essence.
- Take pictures or videos of damage to your property.
- Write down what happened while you still remember it clearly.
- Make sure you know what your insurance policy covers.
- Keep a file with documentation of all of your repair expenses, appraisals, inspections, and the cost of replacing your clothes or furniture.
- File an insurance claim, giving the insurance company any documentation they ask for.
- Insist on relocation if you need it.
- Do not accept the first offer. You can cash the check as long as they do not represent that it is a settlement of your claim.
- Watch out for “independent adjusters.” Over the next several weeks, many “independent adjusters” may start knocking on doors in a hurricane-damaged area. They work for the insurance companies and are not looking out for you.
- Watch out for other door knockers. Roofers and contractors knocking at your door to offer a free inspection are only looking to get money. It is illegal for a contractor to negotiate with an insurance company.
- Consider working with a Louisiana hurricane damage attorney.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Hurricane Damage in Louisiana?
In general, homeowners insurance covers your home, including your personal property, in the event of a loss. What your insurance covers and the amount it reimburses you depend on your company, your policy, and any additional damages you may have added.
Homeowners’ insurance usually covers damage from high winds, rain, and other consequences of a hurricane. However, homeowners insurance usually does not cover flooding and storm surges. You will most likely have to purchase extra insurance to cover rising water levels.
What is a Hurricane Deductible?
A hurricane deductible is included in your homeowners’ insurance that only applies to damage caused by hurricanes. Some hurricane deductibles are quite high, usually between one and five percent.
In Louisiana, three types of deductibles could apply to storm damage to your home:
- Named storm deductibles: These come into effect when winds reach 39 mph, otherwise known as a tropical storm.
- Hurricane deductibles: These come into effect when winds reach 74 mph, known as hurricane strength.
- Wind and hail deductibles: These come into effect any time wind from a hurricane, tropical storm, tornado, or other weather event damages your property.
In August of 2021, Louisiana Statute § 22:1267.1 took effect. This new statute dictated that insurers could only charge commercial property owners one hurricane deductible per calendar year.
Does Flooding Count as Hurricane Damage?
In general, flooding is not covered by homeowners insurance. Storm surges and rising water count as flood damage, not hurricane damage, and are usually covered by additional insurance.
If rain “floods” your house because of damage to your roof or walls, that is under the umbrella of storm damage and is typically covered by homeowners insurance.
What Happens If My Hurricane Damage Claim Was Denied?
If your claim was denied or the insurance company only offered a fraction of what you need to recover from a natural disaster, you should contact a hurricane damage attorney in Louisiana. Our law firm has years of experience and knows how to deal with insurance providers who just want to save themselves money.
A lawyer can document all of your damages and ensure your files are in order for your claim. Sometimes the problem is a simple mistake, or sometimes the insurance adjuster is being fussy so they don’t have to pay you your entire claim.
What Can I Do to Prepare for a Hurricane?
While hurricanes can cause unstoppable destruction, there are certain things you can do to protect your home as much as possible and be fully prepared for a future insurance claim. Before a hurricane strikes, you should:
- Never underestimate what you cannot control—don’t be complacent.
- Photograph the exterior of your home to document pre-storm conditions.
- Make a comprehensive video showing the outside and inside of your home and its contents before the hurricane as reference and proof in an insurance claim.
- Keep an updated list of your belongings, or at the very least, the most valuable ones. Your insurance company will want to know what possessions were damaged or destroyed in the hurricane.
- Locate important bills, receipts, invoices, or other proofs of purchase for expensive items and keep them in a file that you can take with you if you evacuate.
- Tape your windows at a minimum and board your windows if the storm becomes a category one or greater.
- Locate and make a copy of your insurance policy and declaration page.
- Above all, stay safe and cooperate with local and state guidelines.
Taking these steps can make the job easier for you and your Louisiana hurricane damage attorney. Before the hurricane hits your area, make sure you know how to contact a Louisiana lawyer if anything happens.
I thank God for Digger & David. I don’t know what we would have done if it hadn’t have been for them.Rick Smith | Client
What to Do in the Event of a Hurricane
If you know a hurricane is predicted to land at or near where you live, the most important thing to do is follow the advice and directions of your local or state government. If authorities tell you to evacuate or take certain safety measures, you should follow those directions.
Past that, there are certain things you should do for each category of hurricane that can help ensure your safety and the safety of your property:
- Category one: Board up your windows and prepare for minor power outages. This is the lowest hurricane level, but it is still a strong storm that you should take seriously.
- Category two: Reinforce your roof, secure all garage doors, and be prepared to evacuate if need be. If you live in a mobile home, consider cutting all utilities off and evacuating.
- Category three: Have an evacuation plan in place. Cut all utilities, seal up your house, and ensure your possessions are secure. Pack for the potential of weeks away from home and consider buying a generator.
- Category four: The best thing to do in the case of a category four hurricane is to evacuate as soon as you can. If you do decide to stay, have a safe room in your house to retreat to in the event of heavy damage.
- Category five: Evacuate immediately. Monitor conditions and only return to your home once you know it is completely safe. Have lots of bottled water prepared, as tap water will likely be contaminated.
In the event of any hurricane, we advise that you take pictures of your damage-prone property before the storm hits. That way, you have a record of what your property looked like beforehand to prove the full scope of damages to your insurance company.
The reassurance from Digger and his staff gave me that renewed hope that it’s going to be okay down the road.Client
Recent Destructive Hurricanes in Louisiana
Louisiana has a very long history of hurricanes. Residents know just how much damage a storm can cause. The most recent hurricanes that have touched down in Louisiana include:
- August 26-September 5, 2021: Hurricane Ida – category four – $75.25 billion in damages
- October 24-30, 2020: Hurricane Zeta – category three -$4.4 billion in damages
- October 4-12, 2020: Hurricane Delta – category two – $3.09 billion in damages
- August 20-29, 2020: Hurricane Laura – category four – $17.7 billion in damages
- July 11-19, 2019: Hurricane Barry – category one – $600 million in damages
- October 4-11, 2017: Hurricane Nate – category one $787 million in damages
- August 17-September 2, 2017: Hurricane Harvey – category four – $124 billion in damages
- August 21-September 3, 2012: Hurricane Isaac – category one– $3.11 billion in damages
- November 4-12, 2009: Hurricane Ida – category two – $11.4 million in damages
- September 1-15, 2008: Hurricane Ike – category four – $38 billion in damages
- August 25-September7, 2008: Hurricane Gustav – category four – $8.31 billion in damages
They treated us like no other people would. Whenever we needed something they were there for us. I put my trust in them and I don’t regret it.Client
How a Hurricane Damage Lawyer in Louisiana Can Help
After a hurricane, you might wonder what to do. You deserve to work with someone who can help you through the process of claiming damage and recovering money from your insurance company. Our Louisiana hurricane damage attorneys can help by:
- Proving the damages you suffered
- Getting your documents in order
- Preparing your insurance claim for you
- Monitoring the claims process
- Answering any questions your insurance company might have
- Appealing an unfair denial or low payout
- Taking your case to court if your insurer won’t cooperate
Our Louisiana lawyers have been working for years to get accident victims the compensation they deserve. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need help with your hurricane damage claim or if you think your insurer is taking advantage of you.
Our hurricane damage attorneys serving Louisiana can review your insurance policy and claim to help ensure you are claiming the full amount of benefits you are entitled to and pinpoint the necessary evidence to receive them.
Talk to Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers Today for Free
After a natural disaster, you shouldn’t have to pick up the pieces alone. A Louisiana hurricane damage lawyer can walk you through the steps of your claim and protect you from any tricks the insurance company might pull to reduce your compensation.
We’ve helped families and individuals across Louisiana claim over $600 million in compensation for personal injury, hurricane damage, and other claims. We are devoted to helping clients like you rebuild their lives after suffering devastating injuries and losses.
Laborde Earles Injury Lawyers wants you to be able to go back to normal after a hurricane. Contact us today to get a free consultation with a member of our team.