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Going through a storm can be hectic, especially when you have extensive property damage. In the midst of it all, figuring out your next steps can be confusing and unsettling. Filing a home insurance claim should be easy to do, but more often than warranted, the process becomes complicated. In Louisiana, property insurance claims may take time.

Understanding the Process
Once the storm is over, make sure you and your family are safe. Here are additional steps to take:

  1. Call the insurance company.
    Contact the insurance company to file your claim. They will contact an adjuster and schedule a visit. Some homeowners also hire an independent adjuster depending on the amount of damage sustained.
  2. Start assessing the damage.
    Take pictures of the damage as soon as you can to have tangible proof. These pictures should include damage that you must make quick repairs to as well. Providing photos of the damage that needed immediate attention before and after helps support your claim.
  3. Take steps to secure your property.
    You want to make sure your property is out of harm’s way. That may mean getting a tarp or making small repairs to circumvent additional harm. Keep a record of all your expenses.
  4. Inventory your property.
    You are the best resource for knowing what is damaged. If you have receipts or pictures of the items, start getting them together in a file. It’s always best to have an inventory list already prepared to compare your damages with.
  5. Provide any documents to the insurance company when requested.
    It is important to provide all the documentation when requested, or it can hold up the process. Many property insurance claims have been rejected or pushed to the side because the property owner did not provide everything at the same time.

While this sounds simple, in many cases, it isn’t. Property owners must submit proof of loss to the company to support their claim, but the adjuster may not agree with the amount of your loss. Do not take on an insurance company by yourself. This is when you call a home insurance claim attorney who understands the nuances of the insurance industry to speak on your behalf.

Whether you have an independent adjuster or not, the property insurance lawyer will take their time to really look at your insurance policy, the claim, and determine if the insurance company is being negligent based on Louisiana’s insurance laws.

It’s no secret that insurance companies try and settle for the least amount possible. You may find yourself at odds with the insurance company because they don’t agree with your damage estimates. As a property owner, you may experience emotional grief and feelings of helplessness, may have to relocate due to the amount of damage to your property, or worse. Working with competent attorneys like The Morgan Group ensures your rights are protected every step of the way.

How Long Does the Process Take?
It depends. Insurance companies are required to start investigating a claim 14 days after receiving your proof of loss. If your property sustained a lot of damage, the insurance claim may take multiple disbursements. Once you receive a denial in writing from the insurance company, this is where the attorney steps in. If the insurance company is being unreasonable, and you must seek legal representation, it could take longer, especially if your case must be heard in court.

In most cases under Louisiana law, insurance companies have 30 days to make a written offer to settle any damages and pay the claim after they receive satisfactory proof of loss. In certain circumstances, the 60-day window applies. If your insurance company does not pay your valid claim on time after agreeing on your settlement, bad faith damages and attorney fees start to accrue.

What Are Bad Faith Damages?
Louisiana has bad faith laws in place to discourage insurance companies from predatory behavior. If an insurance company is found to be operating negatively, it must compensate the victims. Every insurance company doing business in Louisiana is legally required to act fair and in good faith when investigating, adjusting, and settling property insurance claims with owners.

Using Storm Attorneys Before Filing the Claim
Many people don’t like working with insurance companies. If your home has substantial damage, contacting an independent insurance claim attorney may be your next step. Our attorneys take the time to:

  1. Review your policy.
  2. Determine your coverage.
  3. Partner with a public adjuster.
  4. Put together a total assessment of your losses.
  5. Submit a formal claim to your insurance company.
  6. Negotiate for the best possible outcome.

When represented by an insurance attorney, property owners have a strong chance of getting a fair and equitable settlement for their losses. By having adequate representation, insurance companies are less liable to take advantage of their clients, and you can rest easy knowing you have a team in your corner that will make sure you get the best property insurance claim settlement possible.

Using an outside adjuster is beneficial because they are unbiased and work for YOU. They also see things that an untrained eye may miss. In many cases, property owners only look for the things that are immediately noticeable. An adjuster looks beyond the obvious, paying attention to underlying issues that may have resulted from a storm. The last thing you want is to settle property insurance claims that don’t address issues that crop up after the fact.

When the initial shock of property loss wears off, it’s time to take the necessary steps to get things moving quickly. Knowing what to do and when to do it is key. Having an attorney puts you in the driver’s seat and helps you have some semblance of control. Things may seem hectic when you’re going through the process, but you’ll be in a much better place if you have all your documentation in place with the best representation for your claim.

If you need assistance with a property insurance claim after a storm in Louisiana, contact The Morgan Law Group today!