We are heartbroken to see the devastating effects on our community from Hurricane Ida.
We know that our amazing community will come together and overcome this, but there are difficult days and weeks ahead.
Here are some tips for those who have damage (as most of us unfortunately do)
- Call your insurance company to make a claim now. Even if you're not home yet. Get a claim number as soon as possible to get the ball rolling. They have 30 days after you call to inspect your home and many insurance companies will approve an immediate smaller initial payment to help cover your expenses.
- Many local insurance agent offices are damaged and/or without means of communication. You should bypass the local office and call the insurance company directly or file a claim online on their website.
- Review your policy and its coverage. All policies are different with different deductibles and different terms for things such as loss of use and additional living expenses. Your neighbor's policy may be completely different from your own.
- Save all receipts including hotels, food, gas, supplies, and all other expenses you incur while away from your home.
- Take pictures and document everything! Take pictures of your roof, inside your attic, outside structures, and any and all interior damage. Take pictures of any food in your fridge or freezer before emptying it.
- You have a duty to mitigate any further damage with temporary fixes, if possible for you to do so. Including tarping the roof, removing the carpet and any items that may mold, boarding broken windows, etc. But as stated above, make sure to take pictures first and save all receipts and invoices.
- Do not make any permanent repairs until after the insurance adjuster has come to inspect your home.
- Do not throw anything (electronics, furniture, etc) away until the insurance adjuster has come.
- If your insurance company has a website where you can upload pictures and invoices, do so. This can help speed the process along.
- If your vehicle was damaged, you will need to file a separate claim under your comprehensive auto insurance.
- Document every conversation, meeting, inspection, and interaction with the insurance adjuster. Write down their name, the date and time, and a summary of the call/meeting including anything that was agreed upon and any documentation that was provided. Follow-up with an email to the adjuster detailing these points. In Louisiana, you do have the right to record all phone calls with the insurance company.
- Get repair estimates from licensed and insured contractors in writing but do not make any permanent repairs until authorized to do so by the insurance company.
- Never pay a contractor over 50% upfront for any work and pay by credit card whenever possible. Demand will be high and supply will be low, but do as much research on contractors as possible before hiring one. Make sure that anyone you hire is licensed and insured.
- Register for FEMA disaster assistance at www.disasterassistance.gov Your application may originally be denied, but it will remain active when/if more assistance becomes available and may be able to provide benefits for damage not covered by your insurance. You will need to provide them with documentation of any denials from the insurance company.
Louisiana law has strict timing that your insurance company must follow.
You may not need an insurance claim lawyer, but you do need to know your rights.
If your insurance company is dragging things out or not making you whole, contact us. The best way to currently get in touch with us is through email at [email protected]
The best thing to do is to take this process step by step. Do a little at a time and don't let it become overwhelming. Take care of yourself as much as possible and please stay safe.
We're in this together.