July 5, 2023

The Impact of Settling a Hurricane Insurance Claim Without a Lawyer: A Guide by Cueria Law Firm

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As a seasoned New Orleans Hurricane Attorney, Cueria Law Firm, LLC has assisted countless clients in navigating the intricate process of filing and settling hurricane insurance claims. However, some individuals may ponder the necessity of legal representation in this process. This guide seeks to elucidate the potential repercussions of settling a hurricane insurance claim without the aid of a lawyer.

Understanding the Basics: Hurricane Insurance Claims

An insurance claim for hurricane damage ensues when a policyholder suffers property damage due to a hurricane. The policyholder then seeks compensation from their insurance company based on the terms outlined in their insurance policy.

However, the significant factor to note here is that these claims are not always straightforward. There are several aspects to consider, such as understanding the policy terms, determining the extent of the coverage, and estimating the actual cost of damage and repairs.

Why You Might Need a New Orleans Hurricane Attorney

Dealing with insurance companies can be an overwhelming task. They are businesses seeking to minimize their expenses, which often results in lower settlement offers. Thus, having a Hurricane Attorney by your side can ensure you receive a fair settlement that truly covers your damages.

The Claim Filing Process: A Daunting Task

Filing a claim with your insurance company involves several steps:

  • Promptly Contacting Your Insurance Provider: It’s essential to contact your insurance company immediately after the disaster. You need to ascertain the extent of your coverage, the time limit for filing a claim, and the processing period.
  • Carrying Out Temporary Repairs: You should take reasonable steps to prevent further damage to your property. However, beware of contractors who demand a significant upfront payment or offer low estimates, as they might deliver subpar work.
  • Keeping a Record of Your Expenses: If you need to relocate temporarily, keep track of your expenses. Most homeowner insurance policies cover additional living expenses.
  • Preparing for the Adjuster’s Visit: The adjuster will assess the damage to your property. The more detailed information you provide about your damaged possessions, the quicker your claim can be settled.

Policy Types and Their Impact on Your Settlement

The type of policy you have can significantly impact the amount you receive in a settlement.

  • Replacement Cost and Actual Cash Value Policies: Replacement cost policies pay the amount required to replace a damaged item with one of similar kind and quality without considering depreciation. Actual cash value policies, however, account for depreciation and hence pay less.
  • Extended and Guaranteed Replacement Cost Policies: These policies offer additional coverage to account for unexpected increases in building costs. However, they won’t cover the cost of more expensive materials than those used before the disaster.
  • Mobile Home, Stated Amount Policies: If you own a mobile home, the maximum amount you receive if your home is destroyed is the sum agreed upon when the policy was issued. Be sure to update this value annually.

Policy Limits and Their Impact on Your Settlement

Most insurance policies are equipped with an inflation-guard clause to keep up with increases in local building costs. If you’ve made significant improvements on your house without informing your insurance company, you may not be fully covered.

Temporary Living Expenses

If the damage to your home renders it uninhabitable, your insurance company will advance you money to cover reasonable additional living expenses, typically equal to 20% of the insurance on your home.

Rebuilding and Making Repairs

If your home was destroyed, you have several options. You can rebuild a new home on the same site, sell the land and build or buy a house in a different place, or even decide that you’d rather rent.

Other Factors Impacting Your Settlement

Other factors that can influence your settlement include compliance with current building codes, the use of public adjusters, and the compensation for damage to vehicles and landscaping. Also, while homeowner’s policies don’t cover flood damage, they do cover other types of water damage.

The Payment Process

The payment process can be complex and demanding. In some cases, you may receive an advance payment from your insurer, which can be supplemented once further damages are discovered.

Why You Need a New Orleans Hurricane Attorney

A New Orleans Hurricane Attorney can guide you through the claim process, ensuring that you receive a fair settlement. They have the experience and knowledge to help you understand your policy’s intricacies, negotiate with the insurance company, and even represent you in case your claim leads to a lawsuit.

Conclusion

Filing and settling a hurricane insurance claim independently can be a challenging task. However, having a New Orleans Hurricane Attorney on your side can ensure that you receive a fair settlement that truly covers your damages. At Cueria Law Firm, LLC, we provide expert legal representation for hurricane insurance claims. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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