Do you have enough insurance to cover damage caused by hurricanes?

Experts say 2021 will be the seventh consecutive year of above-average hurricanes, so it’s more important than ever to be ready for hurricane season in the Atlantic. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts a 60% probability of overactivity, and Louisiana is right in the middle of the Gulf Coast Danger Zone. From the historically devastating Hurricane Katrina in 2005, to the destruction of Hurricane Laura last year, proper preparation is essential for residents of Louisiana.

There are several steps you need to take to keep your home and family safe. New Orleans’ “Nola readyThe website explains how to secure your home, how to evacuate if necessary, and what to have in your hurricane preparedness kit.

Related: How Louisiana Residents Can Now Prepare For Another Active Hurricane Season

But perhaps the most important and often overlooked aspect of storm preparedness is understanding and updating your home insurance. Typical policies don’t include flood coverage, and flooding is usually the most dangerous part of a hurricane because it causes long-lasting damage. storm surge. While closed windows and supply kits will get you through a hurricane, insurance is what matters when the storm is over, and it’s time to pick up the pieces.

Do you have enough insurance to cover damage caused by hurricanes?

Don’t wait until the storm is in a few days to sort out your insurance issues. If you plan to purchase separate flood insurance (a must in Louisiana), FEMA’s flood insurance provider requires a 30-day waiting period after purchase before coverage kicks in. force. Ninety percent of all natural disasters include some type of flooding.

Nineteen coastal states, including Louisiana, allow separate deductibles for hurricanes and windstorms. A hurricane franchise applies only to damage caused by a hurricane, while windstorm coverage is there for any type of wind (such as a tropical storm). The cost of this franchise, unlike traditional dollar amounts, is usually based on a percentage of your home’s structural value between one and five percent. The more your area is at risk of hurricanes, the higher the deductible will be.

While most home insurance covers wind damage, yours may not include enough to repair your home after a hurricane if you don’t have a hurricane or windstorm deductible. Many policies only cover 50 to 70% of the structural value of your home. It’s a good idea to forecast the exact cost of repairs or even rebuilding your home well in advance, so you know if you need to purchase additional coverage.

You must also constitute a detailed inventory everything inside your home – your belongings and important documents. This can easily be done with your smartphone, which can record videos and images to make the claims process much smoother and give you an educated estimate of their value.

Renters’ insurance policies also do not cover flood or wind damage, so if you are renting in Louisiana, you will need to find additional coverage for your personal effects, which are not covered by your policy. owner.

Another crucial part of your policy is Supplementary Living Expenses (ALE). This covers all the costs of living elsewhere because your home is uninhabitable after a storm. Hotels, meals and other necessities will be covered up to 20 percent of your total insurance coverage.

And always keep up-to-date copies of your policy and your agent’s contact details handy so you can start your claim as soon as possible.

Steps to take after a storm

Do not come home until it is safe to do so. When assessing damage and developing a plan for your insurance claim, be on the lookout for dangerous fraudsters who may offer home repairs and encourage you to bypass your insurer. They will likely ask for upfront payment and then do a poor job or no job at all.

Take photos and / or videos of all damage so that your insurer can compare them to those taken before the hurricane. This includes structural damage or damaged / lost property. Have copies of a complete list of these items for you and your insurer, as you will need them for justify your loss.

Do everything you can to protect your home from other risks by doing things like sealing broken windows or putting a tarp over a hole in your roof. If you do not make efforts to avoid further damage, your claim may be denied. If you need to purchase supplies for repairs that you do yourself, keep the receipts.

You must notify your insurance company as soon as possible to submit your claim. You’ll want to be on the front line, as there are likely many other families submitting applications as well. Keep a written record of all correspondence with your insurer and repair estimates from contractors you trust to perform repairs after settlement.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help with insurance claims

If you are reluctant to go to your claims meeting, your insurance agent will likely try to offer you less compensation than you are entitled to. Hang on and don’t be afraid to negotiate. Obtain a list of your consumer rights from the Louisiana insurance regulator and don’t leave claims accepted without redress for too long. Deferred compensation is the largest insurance-related complaint in the state.

If your insurer won’t adjust your benefits and you think you deserve more, it’s time to contact a licensed public claims adjuster or experienced lawyer. Herman, Herman & Katz has long been a statewide leader in successfully representing home and business owners in hurricane and natural disaster claims after hurricane devastation. . Our team has the in-depth knowledge for this litigation. Call us at 844-943-7626 or visit us online to start rebuilding your life.

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