Dealing with the insurance claims process can be almost as stressful as facing the mess left behind from Hurricane Ida’s wake. Some insurers will act fairly, reasonably, and in good faith in adjusting and paying their policyholder’s claims. Unfortunately, many do not. In order for you to maximize your chances of getting a claim treated fairly by the insurer, we offer some general insurance claim tips to help get you started:
1. Notify your insurance company immediately.
There will be thousands of Hurricane Ida claims filed, so you want to get yours in the “hopper” as soon as possible.
2. Read your policy declarations and the policy itself.
Quite often, people are not sure exactly what coverage they have, and quite often the adjuster who shows up to look at your home will not know either.
3. Document all communications with your insurance company.
Make a time-line of any and all communication, be it telephone calls, texts, emails, or in person visits. It could be important later.
4. Be aware of your hurricane deductible.
Depending on the carrier and the coverage, your policy will have a “named storm deductible” that will generally be between 2% and 5% of the insured value of the dwelling coverage.
5. Document your damages thoroughly.
This goes without saying, but take as many photographs as necessary to document damage to your property, including contents and other structures such as out buildings, fences, etc. Do not feel as though you need to leave things “as is” until the adjuster gets there, because (1) you have an obligation under your policy to “mitigate” or lessen your losses; and (2) the quicker you can get started on removing damaged material, the quicker you can get your house restored to its pre-loss condition.
6. Request a “large loss adjuster.”
When the adjuster shows up to look at your home, ask whether he is a “large loss adjuster.” If not, he or she is probably wasting your time because he/she will have very limited dollar authority to offer you. Tell him/her you would like a “large loss adjuster” to assess your damages.
7. Gather all the documents you need to make a “proof of loss.”
This is a sworn accounting of the amount of your losses owed under the insurance policy. It will typically include supporting documentation in the form of expert reports and other information that proves your entitlement to the claimed funds under the policy. Some of these include:
a) a listing of covered contents indicating the approximate year acquired and cost;
b) mileage used for hurricane related transportation;
c) temporary housing costs;
d) temporary storage costs;
e) time-sheets to track work that family/friends did, even if they did not charge you; and
f) any other costs already incurred for tarping, debris removal, etc.
8. Contact a lawyer if you need help.
Law Offices of Ray A. Collins and Due’ Guidry Piedrahita Andrews L.C. have teamed up to handle Hurricane Ida claims. Ray A. Collins and Kirk A. Guidry were born and raised in Lafourche Parish and Ray’s office is conveniently located in Larose, Louisiana. Local lawyers ready to help local people. Contact us for a free consultation.