The 2021 hurricane season wrapped up as the third-most active season on record, behind only 2020 and 2015. The U.S. saw 21 named storms including seven hurricanes, four of which were a category 3 or higher.
Hurricane Ida, the region’s most powerful storm, made landfall in Louisiana on Aug. 29 before traveling northeast on its destructive path. Experts estimate that the storm, which took the lives of 115 people in the U.S. and the Caribbean, will cost insurers $30 billion to cover the damages.
If you need legal muscle to help with your hurricane damage claim, contact Anderson Traylor Edwards. As attorneys focused on personal injury claims, we have extensive experience in dealing with insurance companies. We’re dedicated to helping Louisianans put the storm behind them.
Hurricane Damage in Tangipahoa Parish
Every storm has a personality of its own. Some have stronger winds while others have more rain. Some storms move fast while others lumber along.
Typical hurricane damage experienced in the Hammond area includes the following:
- Roof Damage
- Broken Windows
- Damaged Vehicles
- Sewers Backups
- Flooding and Mold
- Uprooted Trees
- Wiring & Plumbing Damage
The destruction is often difficult to measure in the immediate aftermath of a hurricane. Many homeowners evacuate and depending on the storm, several days or more can pass before they are able to assess the severity of the damage.
Understand What Your Insurance Covers
There is a long-running commentary about how insurance companies try to avoid paying on damage claims. For example, if something is damaged by wind, they could argue that flooding was the cause (if you don’t have flood insurance).
No matter what insurance policies you have, knowing what is and is not covered is crucial:
- Flood damage isn’t always covered by homeowner’s insurance. Damage that is caused by flooding (from the bottom up) is not usually covered, although damage caused by water coming from above or by wind-driven rain is covered. Separate flood insurance could be needed to cover damage from rising water levels.
- Flood damage is covered by auto insurance. If you have comprehensive coverage, then your auto insurance policy will most likely cover damage to a flooded vehicle. The vehicle could be considered a total loss and insurance will pay the car’s value.
- Some insurance companies charge separate wind deductibles. Wind damage is usually covered by your homeowner’s insurance, but you might be surprised to learn you pay a higher deductible. Instead of a flat amount for most claims, the deductible for a wind-damage claim might carry a deductible based on a percentage of your coverage.
- Emergency housing. Your insurance policy may provide up-front money for living expenses, such as hotel costs and meals if you cannot live in your home.
Realizing your policy doesn’t cover some damage is a horrible discovery. Being properly insured is the first step to returning your home back to what it was before a storm.
Streamline the Claims Process
Don’t delay filing a damage claim as insurers generally handle such claims on a first-come, first-serve basis. Insurance companies also often place a time limit on filing after a storm.
There are several actions you can take that can help make the claims process go more smoothly.
- Have an online or off-premises list of all your belongings.
- If you evacuate, bring your insurance policy and agent’s contact information with you.
- Retain any receipts associated with the hotel and other expenses if you are evacuated and/or unable to live in your home.
- Return to your home as soon as is safe to do so to determine the damage in and around the home.
- Document the damage with videos and pictures.
- Remove wet items from your home to help prevent mold, but don’t through anything away until an adjuster has seen your property.
- Call your insurance agent as soon as possible to describe the damage and share the videos and photos you’ve taken.
- Get estimates from a reputable contractor on the costs to repair the damage.
- Keep any receipts related to immediate repairs made to secure the home.
- Don’t make permanent repairs until your insurance adjuster instructs you to do so.
- Keep a record/log of your contacts with the insurance company
Working through the claims process is tedious. Patience will be required, but you do have certain rights. Unfortunately, scammers take advantage of people in desperate situations. If someone says they can repair something quickly and at a low cost, it could be a scam. Too good to be true is usually just that.
Know Your Rights with Your Insurance Company
There are specific regulations that guide how insurance companies work and process claims.
Keep in mind the following:
- An insurance adjuster should inspect the damage within 30 days after you file your claim.
- An insurance company should pay the claim within 30 days of receiving satisfactory proof of loss. Not doing so could result in their paying you a fine on top of the claim.
- Cashing a claims check does not mean you agree with the amount the insurer paid you. Use the money to start repairs and ask for more money later.
- You can continue to file supplemental claims as you learn the damage is more extensive than first thought.
- You can appeal/dispute a denied claim or an underpayment.
If your claim has been denied, you have the right to know why.
Insurance Claim Support by Homegrown Hammond Attorneys
If your insurance company is being evasive, if they have denied your hurricane damage claim, or if there is any other insurance issue that needs a legal eye, contact us right away.
Our attorneys at Anderson Traylor Edwards work daily with insurance companies and understand the tactics they sometimes use to delay or reduce the amount of compensation due to you. We support our neighbors and will fight for you to receive fair compensation for the damages you sustained.
Call us today at (985) 244-3070 or contact us online to see if we can help you move beyond the storm.