Settling an insurance claim after a hurricane can be a frustrating experience at best. Insurance companies will go out of their way to pay you less than your claim is worth, delay payment as long as possible, and even deny your claim altogether. It is believed that Hurricane Ida will cost more than $19 billion in insured losses between private insurers for damage due to hurricane winds and the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program for damage due to flooding.
The NFIP and other private flood insurers can expect as many as 100,000 claims. If there is any good news here, it’s that the state of Louisiana has the highest percentage of residents that carry flood insurance. Most homes that were damaged by high winds from the hurricane should be covered under homeowner’s insurance, although some homeowner’s policies will not pay for wind damage without a rider, so it is extremely important to determine whether your home is covered for these perils before they happen.
It can seem like an overwhelming job to settle your insurance claim after a hurricane. You need someone in your corner that really cares about the outcome and will work hard on your behalf. Gulf Coast Insurance Attorneys is the firm that will do just that. We understand the position you are in and want to help ensure the best outcome possible as far as your insurance settlement goes. The process for settling your New Orleans, LA insurance claim will likely include:
- Begin the claim process. You faithfully paid your premiums each month, now it is time for your insurer to honor their contract with you. Report your flood and hurricane claims as quickly as possible, since insurance companies generally handle claims in the order they receive them. The sooner you get your insurance claim, the better for you and your future.
- Once you have a claim number, set up a file where you will put every single piece of paper or receipt associated with your flood and/or hurricane claim. Every time you speak to a representative on the phone, make a notation of the date, time, who you spoke with, and the essence of the conversation. You may not think this is necessary, but if your claim payment goes sideways, these notes and receipts will be invaluable.
- If you made emergency repairs or hired someone to make them, keep track of all expenses. Your insurance company should reimburse you for these expenses.
- If you are living in a hotel, keep a careful record of all expenses related to being out of your home. If your home was damaged by wind to the extent that you were unable to stay there, you should be able to be reimbursed for living expenses. Flood insurance does not cover additional living expenses.
- If your flood insurance is through NFIP, any complaints about the claims process will go to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
- When your insurance company sends an adjuster, determine whether the adjuster is an employee of the insurer or an independent insurer. If you have a contractor you trust, obtain a repair estimate to use as a guide when you speak to the adjuster. If your insurer sends an “approved” contractor, this does not mean you are obligated to use them.
- If the interior of your house was flooded or seriously damaged by wind, make as thorough a list of your possessions as you can. If you have photographs of items, they will certainly be helpful in making your list.
- If it is safe to do so, take photographs of the damage to your home.
- If your claims adjuster offers you an immediate settlement amount, don’t be in a hurry to accept it. A quick settlement offer is usually made when the adjuster realizes the final amount of the damage will be considerably more. If you accept a quick settlement then later find out that there is more damage than you realized, you could be left paying out of pocket.
- If the insurance company denies your claim altogether—and you are sure the language of your policy says they should pay—contact an attorney immediately. Having an insurance claim denied after a hurricane is huge. How will you pay for the damage to your home if your insurer refuses to pay? When you meet with an attorney, bring all the information you have regarding your claim, including your notes, receipts, and photographs. Your attorney may determine your insurance company is acting in bad faith—taking your money in exchange for a promise to make you whole following a disaster, then reneging on that promise.
How Gulf Coast Insurance Attorneys, Can Help You in Settling an Insurance Claim After a Hurricane
Attorney Peter Diiorio will thoroughly assess your situation regarding your insurance claim. The legal details of your insurance claim will be explained to you; if we can help you, we will work tirelessly to secure justice on your behalf. At Gulf Coast Insurance Attorneys we help you settling an insurance claim after a hurricane and get you the settlement you need and deserve. We aggressively take on your insurance claim issues until they are solved in a positive manner. We understand that you—and all our clients—depend on us to pursue justice on their behalf, and never take that for granted. Contact Gulf Coast Insurance Attorneys today for a free consultation.