Hurricane & Property Damage Claim Tips
As many are coping with the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, we have compiled a list of tips that can help you and your family recover property damages.
- Take pictures of all property damage. Try to focus on pictures which may depict the cause of damage to property. For example, if part of your roof was ripped off, a picture depicting that and resulting water in your property will trigger your wind damage coverages, and dispute any argument that your flood insurer may be responsible for damages to your property.
- If you have water damage, get a mitigation company into your property as soon as possible. Dehumidifiers, fans, and different attempts to dry out your property will help to prevent and contain mold growth and further damages.
- Make an insurance claim as soon as possible and be as honest and truthful as possible with your insurer. The insurer has an obligation under Louisiana law to timely adjust your claim. The sooner you file the claim, the sooner their obligations to timely adjust your property damages begin.
- When the adjuster comes to visit your property, make sure that you are present and walk the entire property. Also consider having a friend or family member there with you who could be a witness to what the inspection involved and what was discussed if this becomes an issue later in your insurance claim or if you must file suit against your insurer.
- Type/write down a detailed list of all your contents. Contents could be furniture, clothes, electronics, and other household items, including kitchen items. Almost all homeowners pay premiums to have contents coverage to pay for their contents needing to be replaced or repaired.
- Also try to take pictures of all your contents, whether they need to be replaced or repaired.
- If you are temporarily displaced due to property damage, keep all receipts from your temporary housing. Receipts from food, hotel bills, temporary furniture, and temporary clothing items can all be reimbursed through your homeowners’ insurance additional living expense coverages.
- Keep a record for how long a period you cannot live in your property. Many policies of homeowners insurance may provide loss of use coverage, which could reimburse you for the time you can not utilize your property.
- Make sure to do whatever you can to mitigate your damages. Most policies and Louisiana law obligate homeowners to mitigate damages. An example would be to quickly move to tarp a roof which is open/exposing your property to prevent further water damages.
- Identify a reputable contractor you would like to provide an estimate for your property repairs. You have the right to select your own contractor. Ask that contractor for proof of insurance, proof of their contractor’s license, and ask for their website/job history. If any of these basic requests are rebuffed, consider it a red flag, and continue to search for other contractors. The best contractor can usually be found via word of mouth from other reputable people/companies who have had positive experiences with that contractor.
- Do not agree to sign any agreement signing over all insurance checks to the contractor. The insurer will pay the contractor through joint check, but you may be entitled to additional money for depreciation to the property once the work is completed which is your money, not the contractors.
- If your insurer denies the claim or refuses to cover specific areas within your policy coverages which you believe you are entitled to, consult a lawyer. Hopefully, you won’t need a lawyer, but there are situations where an insurer either wrongfully denies a claim, misrepresents a policy coverage, or refuses to pay for specific items which should be covered. This could be considered bad faith under Louisiana law and entitle you to attorney fees and penalties above your actual damages.
Contact Our Attorneys To Learn Your Options
If you have been affected by Hurrican Ida and aren’t recieving the claims you are entitled to, contact our law office at 504-500-1111 or fill out a contact form here.