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Tropical Storm Damage Claims

Storms across Louisiana can cause damage from flooding and winds that homeowners need insurance to recover from. The Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (OAA) reports that 13 severe storms in Louisiana caused a total of $95 billion in damages during 2020. These damages also displace families, leading to additional and ongoing financial costs. This article provides information on how to recover these costs from your insurance company, including filing a claim and consulting with a tropical storm damage claims attorney.

Immediately After the Storm

Take pictures or videos of the damage to your home before you start cleaning up. Make temporary repairs as needed to prevent further damage to your property. These steps may include boarding up windows, covering up holes in the roof with plastic tarp and drying out wet carpets and furniture. You may also need to remove wet materials from your home to prevent mold from growing on it, but don’t throw it away until an insurance adjuster sees it. Don’t begin any permanent repairs until your adjuster has instructed you to do so.

Keep receipts for the materials you use, and maintain a record of repairs you make for the adjuster. You may need to file for Additional Living Expenses (ALE), as many homeowners policies include provisions for the extra expenses you incur while displaced from your home. ALE doesn’t cover ordinary bills, however. 

Filing Tropical Storm Damage Claims

Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible after a storm damages your home. Gather as much information as you can regarding your policy, especially the amount of time you have to file a claim. For example, policies from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) require you to file tropical storm damage claims within 60 days. An adjuster should inspect your damages within 30 days after you file your claim. Homeowner policies generally don’t cover flood damage, so you’ll typically need a separate insurance policy for this type of damage.

Working with Your Insurer

 Find out your deductible, which is the amount you have to pay out-of-pocket your insurance policy will pay for damages. In the case of storm damage, the deductible typically ranges from two to five percent of your policy’s maximum coverage. Assume for this example that your policy has a coverage limit of $200,000 and a five percent deductible. You would need to pay the first $10,000 in damages out of your own pocket.

You can cash your first claims check as soon as you receive it, even if you don’t agree with the amount. This amount is just what your insurance company believes it owes you based on the adjuster’s review of the damages. Begin making repairs and ask for more money if you need it by filing supplemental tropical storm damage claims. This situation can occur when the damage is more extensive than what the original adjustment documented. In this case, the insurance company may send the adjuster to review newly discovered damage or simply ask you to document it with your own images and video. The right to file a supplemental claim depends on your policy, but it’s typically available for a maximum of two years.

You can continue filing supplemental claims until your home is restored to its pre-storm condition. Some policies contain a provision for replacement cost value, meaning the insurance company will pay for remaining losses once you submit receipts showing you’ve repaired damages or replaced items.

Why You Need a Louisiana Tropical Storm Damage Claims Attorney

Recovering from a tropical storm in Louisiana can be particularly challenging when your insurance company undervalues or denies your tropical storm damage claims outright. An attorney can assist you with the claims process by ensuring that you submit all necessary documentation by the specified time frame. They can also help prevent claim delays and denials through their understanding of these procedures. In Louisiana, RS 22:1973 specifies that an insurance provider must make payment on a claim within 30 days from the time the parties agree on a settlement.

An insurance claim lawyer can hold your insurance company accountable if they fail to compensate you within the allotted time. Your legal team can also help maximize your compensation by considering all aspects of the incurred damages. In addition, an attorney can represent you in litigation if your compensation is inadequate or your claim is unjustly denied. Knowing your legal interests are protected provides you with the peace of mind you need to focus on the other aspects of recovering from a tropical storm.

Filing tropical storm damage claims is a critical step in recovering from a tropical storm in Louisiana. A hurricane damage lawyer can assist you in navigating this process and ensure you receive the compensation needed to restore your property. Contact the Morgan Law Group to learn more about how we can help you with your claim.