Hurricane Claims: Here’s Why You Need The Help of An Attorney in Baton Rouge
Hurricane Laura has been passing through Texas and Louisiana for the past couple of days. It has caused a large amount of devastation and damage to everything in its path. At least six people have been killed so far and a lot of property has been damaged in what is considered to be one of the strongest hurricanes to have struck the US. The damage is so severe that a full assessment may take several days. It will be impossible to immediately take into account how much property damage has occurred and how many people have been affected by this hurricane. If you are in Louisiana at the moment, you would have witnessed the might and fury of this natural disaster. Worst even, you could be in the middle of the devastation, not knowing what to do next.
While hurricanes do cause a lot of damage to our homes and properties, there is some hope and relief in terms of insurance. If you have been affected by the hurricane, you can speak to an insurance provider to file a claim for hurricane damage in Louisiana. You may not have all the information about your rights as far as your insurance policies are concerned in the aftermath of a hurricane. You may have many questions regarding the documentation and procedure. It is always good to be prepared with as much information as you can.
Here are some important things to ask and do if your house gets damaged by Hurricane Laura.
Does Homeowner’s Insurance Pay for Hurricane Damage?
Most homeowner’s insurance policies will cover hurricane damage. The amount you get will depend on the property damage and what is covered in your policy. Many homeowner’s policies make a clear distinction between hurricane damage and flood damage. Hurricane damage will usually cover damage caused by heavy rain blowing through the windows, broken windows damage to satellite dishes, or damage from other debris that fall onto your home due to the heavy hurricane winds. However, not all homeowner’s policies will cover damages caused by floods. For that, you may have to have a separate policy. It is always good to check your insurance papers to understand what is covered and what is not.
What Should I Do Once Hurricane Laura has Passed?
It is not going to be easy to get back to normal life immediately after Hurricane Laura passes. Here are some things that you must do immediately after the hurricane.
Ensure everyone’s safety
You will be relieved once the hurricane passes. But you should not forget that there are many health hazards lurking in the aftermath of a hurricane. There could be bacteria from the receding waters (in the case of flooding), mold, and wild pests. Floodwaters could have eroded your home’s external structure as well. Make sure you check for all these issues before you go into the house.
Review Your Insurance Policy
Once you ensure safety, check your insurance policies. If necessary, speak to your insurance agent or company and get any clarifications that you may have. Hurricane damage is generally covered by multiple policies like:
- Homeowner, renter, or condo insurance
- Flood insurance
- Windstorm insurance
Not all policies will cover wind and water damage, even if your home sustains considerable damage. So make sure you know your policy in and out. Some policies may require you to pay a tax-deductible.
Don’t Waste a Lot of Time
Most insurance claims are paid on a first come first serve basis. You must act fast once you take stock of the situation. If you want your claim to be settled without too many delays, then you should file for the insurance quickly. Because of the devastation caused by Hurricane Laura, insurance companies could be dealing with lakhs of claims. Waiting for your policy to be paid is the last thing you want after having lost a home and other valuables.
Make an Inventory of the Damage
Though it is not going to be easy, you must document every damage and every loss in as much detail as possible. The more information that you give to insurance companies, the more difficult it will be for them to deny your claim. Some of the things to document include:
Inventory of your home: Now that you know you are in the middle of the hurricane, make an inventory of everything in your home, if you already haven’t made one. Even if you are not able to make a list of all the items, make sure you take note of all the expensive items. Having receipts will also be useful.
Damaged Items: If your house has already been damaged in the hurricane, you will want to go in and assess the damage. Try not to move things around. If you have to, collect all of the items and put them either in your front yard or backyard. Don’t throw away anything. When the insurance adjuster visits you, he/she will be able to see the damage themselves and you don’t have to convince them much about anything.
Claim Number: Your claim number is critical because that is how insurance companies will keep track of your claim. Always keep your claim number with you, in case you have to speak to someone from the insurance company.
Names of Insurance Employees: This information may seem unnecessary now, but you never know how or when it will be useful. Make a note of every insurance employee you speak to or interact with. Note down everything they say. This way, you can easily review the information. Also, this information will come in handy in the case of a dispute with regards to your claim
Repair Costs: Once you have assessed the damage, try and make a note of how much it will cost to repair some of the damaged things. Though you will have to throw away some things, you may be able to salvage some other damaged goods. In some cases, the insurance company may not pay your claim immediately. In such cases, you will have to repair the damages caused to your house with your own money. Make a note of all these expenses. You can get them reimbursed from the insurance company later.
Living Expenses: Some insurance companies also cover living expenses. Make a note of all the costs like temporary accommodations, medications, etc.
Get Ready to Deal with a Claims Adjuster
Once you apply for an insurance claim, the insurance company will send a claims adjuster to meet you. In most cases, the adjuster will visit you within a couple of weeks. The adjuster’s main job is to collect as much information as possible about the property and the damage. You should be prepared with detailed information to share with the adjuster. The sooner you give the information, the sooner the company will move to the next steps, which is visiting your property to assess the damage.
Ask As Many Questions As Possible
It is not easy to understand every little rule and condition of your insurance papers. And in a vulnerable situation like the aftermath of a hurricane, you will not even be able to process most of the information. It is not wrong to ask your insurance company questions. The company has a team of customer service agents to deal with your questions. Having all the answers you need is your right.
What to do after you receive an offer?
Once the insurance company visits your property and assesses the damage, they will make you an offer. Keep the damage caused to your property, repair costs, and living expenses in mind when you look at the offer. If you feel the offer is fair, you can accept it and move on with the final documentation. However, if you are not happy with the offer, you have the option to reject it and challenge it.
Can I Sue My Insurance Company for Not Paying My Claim?
You have a right to sue your insurance company if they refuse to pay your claim. You will need legal assistance though and will have to hire a personal injury lawyer who can help you with the claim. Some of the common reasons to sue your insurance company include:
- A delay in the investigation for the claim
- Refusal to pay the claim even though the liability is clear
- Insurance company neither approving nor denying the claim and wasting time
- Denying the claim without any valid explanation
If you are facing any of these issues with your insurance, you can sue the company. Contact us at Babcock Injury Lawyers and tell us about your situation. We can help you with your case and deal with the stubborn insurance investigators. We will try and convince the insurance company to pay your claim. Worst case, if the company does not budge, we will sue them on your behalf and represent you in the court of law to ensure you get the claim amount that you deserve.
Babcock Injury Lawyers
10101 Siegen Ln #3c
Baton Rouge, LA 70810
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