Hurricane Ida is tried for the strongest hurricane on record to strike Louisiana and the 5th strongest to hit the United States.
If your commercial property or residential property was damaged in the storm, you’ll probably look to your insurance company for help. But what can you do if your insurance company doesn’t offer you a fair payout for your damages?
Keep reading to learn more about hurricane damage claims and what you can do if your insurance company isn’t paying what they promised.
What to Do After Experiencing Hurricane Damage
When a hurricane strikes, the property damage can be devastating. It’s a time of great uncertainty and loss.
Knowing what to do if you experience property damage from a hurricane can help alleviate some of your stress. These are the steps you should take after a hurricane once everyone is confirmed to be safe.
Contact Your Insurance Company
The first thing you should do when you discover property damage is to contact your insurance company. It’s important to notify them of the loss as soon as possible. Some damage can be mitigated by quick action, so they may send someone out to your property right away.
When a natural disaster like a hurricane happens, insurance companies experience a high volume of claims. Reporting your loss early can give you and your insurance company a head start.
You should get a case number assigned to your claim when you first report the loss. You probably won’t have enough information to file a complete claim, but you still want to get your notice of loss sent in right away. Most insurance companies have 24/7 claim reporting systems via phone or online.
Document the Loss
The next thing you should do is document the condition of your property and all of your losses. You can use spreadsheets to keep track of lost inventory. Be sure to include as much information as possible including serial numbers, prices, and dates of purchase.
Take clear photos of all damaged items and property. We also recommend making a video walkthrough of your property.
Mitigate Your Damages by Making Temporary Repairs
You always want to avoid making repairs to your property before your insurance company has inspected the damage, whenever possible. This is because they might not reimburse you for the full cost of the repairs you make. Your insurance company will send an adjuster or appraiser to obtain a quote for the repairs.
Protect yourself by waiting for their approval before making any unnecessary repairs.
However, it may be necessary to make temporary repairs in some cases. As a property owner, you have a duty to mitigate your damages. This means that you need to take measures to prevent further damage if you can.
You also have a duty to secure the property and keep it safe for your staff and visitors.
File a Claim
Once you have gathered additional information and documentation, it’s time to file a formal claim with your insurance company.
Remember that you should have already notified them of the loss. Now, you’ll file an official claim.
Always keep a copy of any correspondence with your insurance company. Keep a copy of the claim filing, the claim number, and your policy number.
Contact an Insurance Claim Attorney
If you are having problems with your insurance company, you can hire an attorney who specializes in property damage insurance claims.
It’s not uncommon for insurance companies to drag their feet on paying claims. They will often unfairly deny claims or offer settlements that don’t make the property owner whole. Fortunately, you have the right to fight back against insurance companies when they are acting in what is called “bad faith.”
If your insurance company isn’t paying what they should for your hurricane damage, an attorney can help you get the settlement you deserve.
Hiring an Attorney for Hurricane Damage Claims
If you think that you can’t afford to hire an attorney to help you fight your insurance company – you’re probably wrong.
You can hire an attorney on a contingency fee basis. This means that your attorney only gets paid if they win your case. They will either be paid as a percentage of your settlement or by your insurance company.
When insurance companies act in bad faith, if you win your case they are often required to pay your attorney fees as well as a penalty fee. This makes hiring an attorney affordable for policyholders who need to file hurricane damage insurance claims.
An experienced attorney can help you:
- Determine the value of your loss
- Prepare and file your claim
- Get quotes for repairs
- Communicate with your insurance company
- Evaluate settlement offers
- Negotiate a higher settlement offer
- File a lawsuit against your insurance company
Protecting Your Commercial Property Against Hurricane Damage Going Forward
If you own property in an area that is prone to hurricanes, the best thing you can do to reduce your losses is to plan ahead.
You should evaluate your insurance coverage on an annual basis to ensure your policy limits match your property’s worth. You should also be prepared to hire a private adjuster or independent inspector as well as an attorney to help you get the most out of your claim.
Take the time to read your insurance policy and understand your coverages. You should also consider whether you should purchase any optional coverages that would provide extra benefits if a loss occurs.
Flooding is one of the most damaging aspects of hurricanes. Unfortunately, commercial property damage insurance policies often exclude coverage for flooding caused by natural disasters. Property owners can purchase flood insurance through the federal government.
Was Your Property Damaged in the Hurricane?
If your commercial or residential property was damaged by Hurricane Ida and your insurance company is delaying or denying your claim, you need an experienced insurance claim lawyer on your side.
Our team of skilled attorneys has years of experience getting our clients the settlements they deserve from hurricane damage claims. We offer free consultations at no obligation to you.
Click here to schedule your free case evaluation today to learn more about how we will fight for your rights.