Cueria Law Firm, LLC
Need to file an insurance claim after a hurricane?
Hurricanes are a part of life in New Orleans. Many residents of the Big Easy have weathered their fair share of these storms, and most have a story or two to tell as a result.
However, the damage these hurricanes leave in their path seems to be getting increasingly worse. It often leaves residents of Louisiana with little or nothing left of their homes and property. These storms leave individuals and communities devastated, which can take an emotional and financial toll on those affected.
Most homeowners along the coast are aware that insurance is a crucial part of the homeowner experience and often have to turn to their insurance company after these disastrous storms.
If your home has sustained damage after a hurricane, your insurance company will inform you whether your property is a total loss. However, keep in mind that insurance companies want to save money where they can.
An experienced New Orleans hurricane insurance claims lawyer can help make sure you get the full value of your insurance policy.
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When you purchase homeowners insurance, it certainly gives you some peace of mind knowing your property is protected. However, most homeowners insurance does not cover damage from hurricanes without extra coverage for flooding or an extra deductible for hurricane damages.
If you’re a Louisiana homeowner that’s a native of the Bayou, you probably already know that a typical homeowners insurance policy doesn’t cover flood damage. That’s why having an additional flood insurance policy is essential. In fact, if you have a mortgage for your New Orleans property, flood insurance may be mandatory.
According to FEMA, just an inch of water in your home can result in as much as $25,000 in damage. This type of policy will cover flood damage to your home and even your belongings, and you can purchase coverage through a private insurance company or through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
Through the NFIP, coverage for flood damage can be obtained in order to address your home’s damages faster and can be purchased to cover businesses, property owners, and even renters.
While wind damage is typically a covered category in most homeowners insurance policies, when you live in an area prone to hurricanes—like the Bayou—sometimes these policies exclude damage caused by hurricane winds. You may need to have additional coverage in place for strong and persistent hurricane winds.
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Under some homeowners insurance policies, the insurance company will only pay the “actual cash value” of the items damaged. This means they will reimburse you for the depreciated value of the item—or what they determine it’s worth.
Other policies—often called Replacement Cost Coverage—will pay the amount it costs to repair or replace the item completely.
Many insurance providers use their own insurance adjuster to value damaged items within the home. In those cases, receipts can help ensure that you are justly compensated for your belongings.
In addition to homeowners insurance, residents may need to purchase flood and/or windstorm insurance separately to be compensated for all the damages they incur during a hurricane.
The good news is that your homeowners insurance policy may owe you 100% of the full value of your policy after a hurricane under Louisiana’s Valued Policy Law. Basically, if the insurer places a value on the covered property (and uses that valuation for purposes of determining the premium for the policy), the insurer is required to compensate any covered loss or damage to the property if it’s a total loss.
However, the insurance company can use a different method of computing the loss in the policy. In Louisiana, if the insurer sets out a different method to be used in the computation of loss for the policy and they provided clear notice of the different method, then they may not be required to pay the full value of the loss.
If the cost to repair your property exceeds the total value of that property, then the property is considered a “total loss.” This means that Louisiana’s Valued Policy Law will apply. The issue arises when a hurricane hits and the total loss is a result of the combination of wind, which would be covered under the policy, and flooding damage, not covered by the policy. This makes it difficult to determine if the Valued Policy Law applies.
Insurance deductibles can be complicated, especially when the reason you need to use your insurance is hurricane related damage. A deductible is the policyholder’s share of the loss that must be paid prior to the insurance company paying their part.
Typically, there are standard or “other perils” deductibles of $500 or $1,000 in most homeowners policies. However, in Louisiana, there are separate deductibles from your regular home coverage deductible for damage caused by hurricanes.
There are three deductibles for homeowners policies related to wind damage:
These deductibles are typically a percentage of your home’s insured value and range from 1% to 5%. However, they can be higher in high-risk coastal areas.
Named storm deductibles are activated when the National Hurricane Center reports that a storm reached tropical storm strength, which is when winds reach 39 miles per hour.
Hurricane deductibles are activated when the National Hurricane Center reports that a tropical storm reaches hurricane strength, which is at 74 mph.
Windstorm and hail deductibles are used when homes sustain damage from winds from any source including hurricanes, tropical storms, tornadoes, or other extreme weather.
After a big hurricane in coastal Louisiana, it’s common for people to tell you to be ready for another big storm in two weeks. This doesn’t always happen, but it has happened often enough to bring up common insurance questions about a property damaged twice in a short period of time.
Therefore, it’s reasonable to wonder about the application of deductibles in the event of more than one storm in the same calendar year. Louisiana law keeps insurance companies from making you meet your deductible for more than one storm in a year and allows them to only apply the “other perils” deductible for the second and distinct storm.
“Other perils” deductibles are your deductibles for a hurricane, named storm, and wind and hail damage that are separate and less than your homeowners insurance deductible.
While Louisiana allows insurers to charge special deductibles for hurricane damage, they generally cannot increase the named storm or hurricane deductible if policies that have been in effect for more than three years.
Insurers also cannot impose more than one named storm or hurricane deductible per hurricane season.
In 2009 the Louisiana Legislature passed a statute known as the “Louisiana Homeowners Hurricane, Named-Storms and Wind and Hail Deductible Law.” This law addresses both the trigger and the application of these deductibles in homeowners insurance policies issued in Louisiana.
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Thank you Brent.”
Being prepared for a storm should always include being proactive about your insurance coverage. If there is time before a storm it’s important to document the state of your home to the best of your ability and to do the same once it’s safe after the storm.
Homeowners facing these storms also want to make sure that their belongings inside the home are covered by their insurance. It’s best practice to keep receipts for expensive or important items in your home if you live in a hurricane prone area.
At Cueria Law Firm, we understand the financial stress and emotional loss that comes with major damage after a hurricane. That’s why we offer a free consultation for any person who contacts our New Orleans law firm with a potential hurricane insurance claim issue.
We have no upfront retainer fees, and only collect our payment once we have successfully secured your settlement or trial award.
Let our team at Cueria Law Firm guide you down the path of recovery and handle each step of your case as you weather this storm.
Following a severe storm, many in southern Louisiana are left to literally pick up the pieces. This hurricane season has already kicked off the filing of claims with the destruction brought on by Hurricane Ida. Hurricane Ida had record-breaking winds and the extent of its damage is still being evaluated. Most Louisianians consider themselves “hurricane experts” and are equipped with homeowners insurance policies as well as policies providing coverage for severe wind and flooding.
If you have hurricane insurance and are wondering how to file a claim, the Louisiana Department of Insurance has issued a number of articles to provide guidance on doing so. This article will encompass the highlights of the instructions and information provided by the Louisiana Department of Insurance.
Immediately following the storm and once you have returned to your home, you should assess the area for any immediate hazards. You need to be extremely careful when entering damaged buildings and homes. If you can do so safely, remove any hazards which could injure you during your assessment of your home. If you are unable to safely remove the hazards yourself, you may need to contact emergency authorities like the fire department. Once any possible safety hazards are removed, you can begin evaluating the damages to your home.
As a homeowner, you may want to immediately start repairs to your home. However, before you begin cleanup, you will want to properly document the condition of your home and valuables. You should take pictures and videos of any and all damages to the inside and outside of your home. To prevent further losses, you can make temporary repairs by boarding up your windows, using tarps to cover any damage to the roof, and drying out the carpets, rugs, and furniture. If any items are damaged beyond repair, do not throw them out until your adjuster can assess its damage.
Additionally, if you purchase any materials, make sure to retain any receipts to document the expenses you incurred. As for permanent repairs, do not begin them until your insurance adjuster has advised that you can.
To file a claim, you will contact your insurance agent as soon as you can. Most insurance companies require notice of the claim within a certain time period, usually 60 days. It is important that you provide as much information to the adjuster so they may fairly evaluate your claim(s).
When you call to file your claim, it is suggested that you have your policy number readily available, a brief description of what happened, and a list of the type and extent of your property damage. You should also mention if you have any proofs of purchase, receipts, and photos or videos that will substantiate your property damage claims. If you don’t have a home inventory list, you should be sure to check all the rooms of your home one-by-one, including any garages or sheds outside.
The Louisiana Department of Insurance suggests that you ask for the following when making your claim: the name and phone number of every agent you speak with; your claim number; the coverage and deductibles for your policy; and a time frame for which you can expect a call from an adjuster. Under Louisiana Revised Statute 22:1892(A), once your insurance company has been notified, they are required to send out an adjuster within thirty days to inspect and assess your damages.
In Louisiana, there are three different types of adjusters you may encounter in insurance. There are the insurance company’s adjusters, independent adjusters who contract with your insurance company, and public adjusters who provide services for a fee.
Once given permission by officials to safely do so, adjusters inspect the damage to your home. The adjuster should provide you with their identification and evaluate your losses. You may even have two different adjusters if you submitted claims under two different policies. In the meantime, you can make temporary repairs to prevent any additional damage to your property.
When the adjuster comes to inspect your property, be prepared and present. Before meeting, It is wise to compile a list of all of your damaged or destroyed property, organize all of your expenses and receipts, and consider putting your photos and videos on a flash drive to give to the adjuster.
If you can’t do this prior to meeting with the adjuster, it is important you have all of your important documents readily available at the meeting. Additionally, if you have a record of improvements you made to your property, this will also assist your adjuster in assessing your damages and settle your claims sooner.
The adjuster will likely inspect each part of your home, taking measurements and photos. When the adjuster completes the assessment, they will provide you with a repair estimate. It is suggested that you ask for an itemized explanation of the claim settlement offer. If you are not happy with the offer, do not settle and negotiate with the insurance company. However, if an agreement cannot be reached, you can contact the Department of Insurance at 1-800-259-5300.
Many people expect a one-time check for their insurance claims. This is especially not the case after a serious hurricane that caused extensive damage to your home. Typically, your insurance company will issue separate payments for different parts of your claims throughout the claims process. This is because rebuilding your home and replacing any damaged belongings can take between 18 and 24 months for most families.
If you are unhappy with the amount your insurance company has offered to pay you for your claim(s), first call the insurance company. If an agreement cannot be reached, you should contact an attorney or the Louisiana Department of Insurance.
Next to Florida, Texas and Louisiana run neck-and-neck for the most hurricanes each year. The damage from these weather events runs into the billions in New Orleans, the Bayou Parishes, and elsewhere in our state. Such devastation means hurricane claims pour in after a named storm has pushed through the area. With so many claims, there are invariably hurricane insurance claim disputes. Yet, you shouldn’t have to deal with an uncooperative insurer after maintaining your coverage.
At Cueria Law Firm, LLC, our New Orleans hurricane insurance claim dispute lawyer relies on more than three decades of experience helping property owners rebuild their lives. Attorney Brent Curia knows which insurance companies act in good faith and which ones don’t. With this information, he intends to guide your hurricane insurance claim dispute to a fair conclusion. Call 504-525-5211 to begin your case review.
Attorney Brent Cueria founded his law firm to fight for the rights of individuals and help those seeking justice. He has spent 35 years battling insurance companies on behalf of those who simply want what they are due.
When you reach out to our team for help, we first offer a free consultation. We want to learn your side of the story, including any interactions you’ve had with the insurance company thus far. If you entrust us with your case, we work on a contingency-fee basis moving forward; we don’t charge upfront fees, retainers, or other burdensome costs.
We understand that by the time you call our attorney, your stress level is high. Our job is to reduce that stress. From the very beginning, we’re confident that you’ll get peace of mind about your claim’s outcome. Our hurricane insurance claim dispute attorney does everything in his power to secure what you rightfully deserve.
If your dispute with the insurance company cannot be resolved through mediation or arbitration, you may want to file a lawsuit to pursue the fair compensation you are due. You have just one year to file your hurricane claim lawsuit. If you do not meet the deadline, you may not be allowed to seek justice through the courts. We manage the state’s prescriptive period and other time-sensitive aspects of your case, alleviating your legal burdens.
You purchased hurricane insurance to provide relief in situations just like this. When an insurance company doesn’t process your claim in good faith, you may wonder what the point of paying your premiums was. You have rights under Louisiana R.S. 22:1973, a law that protects claimants from bad-faith insurance practices.
We intend to help you uphold your rights by:
The legal services above are just a snapshot of what we offer hurricane damage claimants in New Orleans. We create tailor-made legal strategies that put your needs first. Cueria Law Firm, LLC intends to resolve your case and secure the funds you need, so you can make repairs to your home, business, or other property.
A hurricane can sweep through a neighborhood and cause millions of dollars of damage within a few minutes. That’s why you have insurance coverage. Depending on the policy you purchased, you could have coverage for:
There’s a lot of jargon that goes into deciphering insurance policies, their exclusions, and other details. You might not 100 percent know what your policy covers. Our legal team can review your coverage and explain what would constitute a fair settlement offer based on the property damage you sustained. That way, you can start rebuilding your life and home.
Contact our hurricane damage attorney at 504-525-5211 to start a free consultation.
If you live in New Orleans, you know the damage hurricanes can leave in their wake. You would think that insurance companies would uphold their end of the bargain and pay claimants fairly. But the fact is, insurance companies are for-profit businesses with one goal: making money. So, your insurance provider may deny coverage (or justify a lowball settlement) by alleging:
Homeowners insurance doesn’t usually include flood insurance. So, to be covered for storm flood or surge damage, you need separate flood insurance for your home and property. If you have both types of insurance, you may get some finger-pointing between the two insurance companies, as neither may wish to be responsible for offering fair compensation. In situations like these, we assess your property’s damage, along with who should pay for it.
You can’t stop a hurricane from barreling through your town. The insurance company, however, expects you to prevent the damage to your property from worsening once the storm passes. The insurer is only liable for the damage caused by the storm—not anything that happens afterward.
We may suggest putting a tarp over your roof, installing a dehumidifier, and taking other measures while your claim is pending. This gives the insurance company less “ammo” when discrediting or denying your claim.
Even if you’re in your kitchen, standing waist-deep in water, the insurance company may dispute the cause of your home’s damage. Our team supplements your case with evidence, such as photos, receipts, and estimates, to make a connection between your property’s damage and the hurricane in question.
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