If your New Orleans, LA property has been damaged by a recent hurricane and/or flood, there are many things you may have to do in order to receive the insurance settlement you need and deserve. As a part of your homeowner’s insurance, you will have contents coverage insurance. This is also known as personal property insurance and basically covers the items inside your home when you have an insured claim or loss following a theft, fire, hurricane, etc. You will also have contents coverage with your flood insurance policy.
Since your homeowners insurance doesn’t pay for flood damage, and your flood insurance only pays for damage due to flooding, you may end up filing for contents coverage on both policies. This means you need to identify which contents were damaged or destroyed by wind, and which were damaged and destroyed by subsequent flooding. As you might imagine, filing multiple insurance claims can be a difficult task. The experienced legal team of Gulf Coast Insurance Attorneys, can help you through the insurance claim process in the best way possible. We can answer your questions and help you get the maximum settlement amount in a timely manner.
What is Contents Coverage Insurance in a Homeowners Policy?
All the personal possessions you have in your home are considered contents. This includes furniture, clothing, jewelry, electronics, artwork, musical instruments, and virtually anything “movable.” Immediate family members like your spouse and children are included on your insurance policy, therefore their personal possessions are also covered. While a roommate’s possessions would not be covered under your insurance policy, if you had a guest at your home during the hurricane, then his or her damaged or lost possessions would be covered.
In some cases, your homeowners or flood insurance may name a specific amount for contents. This means that even if your contents were worth much more than that limit, the insurance company would not pay any more. Your personal belongings are covered based on your individual policy, what the deductible is, whether there are special limits or exclusions, whether you have replacement cost or actual cash value, the limit for your contents, and whether your coverage is a named peril or open peril.
Home insurance policies usually base the content or personal property limit on a percentage of the insured dwelling amount—usually about 70 percent of the value of the dwelling. If you have many expensive items in your home, you can ask your insurance company to raise your policy limit for your contents coverage insurance, even insuring expensive jewelry or artwork as a rider to your policy.
What Is the Difference Between Actual Cash Value and Replacement Cost on Contents?
The amount you will be paid for your contents following a loss will depend on whether your policy specifies ACV (actual cash value) or RC (replacement cost) coverage on the contents of your home. RC insurance coverage on your contents means that when there is a loss your insurer may repair or replace the items. If replacement is necessary, your insurance company should pay you the amount it would cost to replace the items.
If you have ACV coverage on your policy, the value of the item minus depreciation. Depreciation means the monetary value of an item decreases over time due to use, wear and tear, and obsolescence. Although actual cash value coverage will cost you less in premiums, it will also pay you less when you file a contents coverage insurance claim.
It is important to note that if you work from home, your homeowners or flood insurance contents coverage may not cover your equipment or business-related items. Make sure you mention this to your insurance agent so he or she can add coverage when necessary.
Contents Coverage in a Flood Insurance Policy
If you also have a separate flood insurance policy, your contents coverage is capped at $100,000. This covers such things as:
- Appliances, including refrigerators, freezers, ranges, washing machines, dryers, microwaves, dishwashers, window air conditioners, and even the food in the freezer
- Permanently installed carpet over an unfinished floor, or other types of carpet over wooden floors
- Window blinds and curtains
- Water heaters, furnaces, central air conditioners, sump pumps, heat pumps, and other “essential” home systems
- Permanently installed wallboard, paneling, cabinets, and bookcases
- Personal property including clothing, furniture, and electronics, so long as they are not stored in the basement
- Certain valuables like artwork, jewelry, or furs, up to $2,500 in value
How Gulf Coast Insurance Attorneys Can Help Following Hurricane/Flood Damage to Your Home
You, like many victims of hurricane damage, may not know how to determine the full extent of your losses following a hurricane, and may not fully understand your rights. You may believe your insurance company will treat you fairly because you have faithfully paid your premiums month after month and year after year. Insurance companies are more likely to be focused on their financial bottom line rather than on your rights and your future. Your claim could be delayed, denied, or severely undervalued. Having an experienced hurricane damage claims attorney from Gulf Coast Insurance Attorneys, is the best way to ensure your rights and your future are properly protected. Contact Gulf Coast Insurance Attorneys today for a free consultation.