Tips for Making Insurance Claims After Hurricane Ida

September 16, 2021 Insurance

Tips for Making Insurance Claims After Hurricane Ida

We are still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ida. The human costs, property damage, and economic dislocation have been massive. As we begin the cleanup, our attention must inevitably turn toward making insurance claims to cover the costs of medical bills, cleanup, repairs, and rebuilding. Here are a few tips for making insurance claims after a hurricane.

  1. Avoid post-hurricane dangers and accidents.

Sometimes, cleanup can be as dangerous and hazardous as the hurricane itself. Buildings, structures, and trees may be unstable, and flood waters may contain toxic runoff and substances. So, as you begin the cleanup process, avoid dangers and accidents and generally keep yourself and your family safe. This applies equally to cleanup efforts and to efforts to take photos and videos needed to document your property damage.

  1. Contact your insurance carrier as soon as you can

 Given the massive destruction that comes with a hurricane and its aftermath, it is important not to delay in contacting your insurance carrier. Insurance companies can legally deny insurance claims if they do not receive prompt and timely notice of the claim or claims. Often, the period is as short as 10 or 14 days. Yes, there may be long wait times in trying to get through to your insurance carrier. But it must be done. At a minimum, provide your insurance carrier with basic information and then provide additional information as soon as you can.

  1. Begin taking photos, videos and collecting evidence of “proof of loss”

Before starting the cleanup, take photos, and videos and start collecting other evidence so that you can submit what is called your “proofs of loss.” But, as noted above, be safe when you take your photos and videos. Climbing on the roof to take photos is a bad idea and not necessary. And, no need to overdo it — a short video and/or 15-20 photos is usually sufficient. Take photos when the light is good and from a distance sufficient to get clear broad images. The insurance company will take their own photos and videos, but it is useful to have some of your own since yours will be closer in time to the hurricane and its aftermath.

Collecting evidence of your proof of loss is important for property damage AND for any injuries. With personal injuries, a lot of documentation will be contained in the medical records from the hospital or other medical facilities. But photographs and videos of injuries can still be legally useful in making your insurance claims.

In addition, keep your receipts for everything post-hurricane, including meals, travel expenses, lodging, anything you purchase or any service you hire. You might not be allowed reimbursement for everything, but it is better to keep the receipts just in case.

Importantly, do not dispose of anything until the adjuster from the insurance company has inspected it.

  1. Find or order a copy of your insurance policies

At some point, you need to find a copy of your insurance policies. This may be tough since they could be underwater or under the wreckage. If that is the case, ask your insurance company or broker to provide you with copies of your policies. We say “policies” because many people have a homeowners or renter’s policy and an auto policy (and maybe some other relevant policy). Hurricane damage might be covered under one or both or neither. Also, most flood insurance policies are separate and distinct from a homeowner’s policy. So, copies of all relevant policies are needed. It is important to be able to reference your policies before cleanup and repairs begin so you know if there is coverage. Otherwise, you might end up paying out of pocket. Your policies state what your insurance rights are. Plus, if you need to dispute or litigate a denial of coverage, you will need a copy of your policies.

  1. If there are questions, contact experienced Louisiana insurance coverage attorney

If you have questions about your insurance coverage and for what your insurance carrier is required to pay or if you are denied coverage, you should seek the advice and counsel of experienced Louisiana insurance coverage attorneys.

Our Attorneys Can Help

For more information, contact the Louisiana insurance claims and personal injury lawyers at Mansfield, Melancon, Cranmer & Dick LLC. Contact us by calling one of our offices: New Orleans at (504) 500-1108, Baton Rouge at (225) 612-0800, or Lafayette at (337) 409-0003. You can also request a consultation by using our “Contact Us” page.