New Orleans is one of the most hurricane-prone cities in the United States, with a hit to the area occurring once every seven to 11 years. And with hurricane season officially kicking off June 1st, it’s not too early to start planning.
Being aware of the necessary actions to take before and after a hurricane can significantly influence the safety of yourself, your family, and your possessions.
Should you need any legal assistance, remember that The Law Offices of Chip Forstall are always ready to help.
Prepare Your Home And Family
If a storm is headed your way, be sure to take steps to get ready for the impact. Preparations may include stocking up on essential items (non-perishable foods, water, gasoline, flashlights, batteries, etc.) and filling prescriptions.
Prepare your home by putting up storm shutters and securing any loose items outside your home. Lawn and patio furniture, grills, and children’s play sets can become projectiles in high winds. Trimming your trees and removing loose limbs that may fall or blow around during the storm is also a good idea.
When your preparations are complete, you should take pictures and videos of your property. If you suffer damage, this will document the condition of your home before the storm.
Verify Your Insurance Coverage
Avoid delaying the verification of your coverage until a hurricane is imminent. Instead, contact your insurance agent and inquire about your policy to verify you have sufficient coverage for your home should a total loss occur. If you’ve added a new vehicle, boat, or RV, be sure you have coverage for those, too.
Check to see whether you have added coverage for flooding or if your policy requires extra coverage for wind damage. Remember, most insurance companies require a waiting period before your policy goes into effect, so you’ll want to take these steps before a storm is on the horizon.
Document Any Damage
When the danger has passed, you’ll need to document any damage to your home immediately. Take photos and videos (inside and outside) of damage caused by the storm. A major cause of difficulties with insurance claims is due to deficient documentation of the damage when it happened.
Don’t forget about the surrounding areas when documenting damage. For example, if a tree fell on your roof, don’t forget to take pictures of the interior and exterior walls on all sides, damage to the flooring, and any property that was lost inside or outside the home.
In addition to your photos and videos, create a detailed list of all damaged items. If you don’t do this early on and as things are happening, it will be harder to remember later on. In addition, this will become vital evidence of your losses when you file your claim.
Contact Your Insurance Company Right Away
While most insurance policies permit you to file a claim up to a year following a natural disaster, this duration may differ depending on the specific policy. Sometimes, you may need to file your claim within six months.
Regardless of the deadline, don’t wait to file your claim. Processing insurance claims take time, especially when catastrophic damage occurs across a large area. Plus, you could end up in a dispute with your insurance company, creating an even longer waiting period for resolution.
Leveraging You Benefits With An Attorney For Your Claim Filing Process
During big natural disasters, insurance companies are overloaded with claims. They often take that opportunity to offer low settlements or may drag out your claim without paying for longer than expected.
An experienced attorney representing your claim will pressure the insurance company and ensure you’re treated fairly. It also reduces the chances of a frivolous denial and keeps the adjustor from acting in bad faith.
Get Help From A Skilled Hurricane Damage Attorney When Filing Your Claim
When you’ve done everything right to prepare for a hurricane and insure your property against damage, you expect you’ll be taken care of in the event of a natural disaster. Unfortunately, in some cases, insurance companies may use these tragedies to take advantage of policyholders by denying coverage or making low offers that don’t cover the full extent of the damage.
Our experienced attorneys at The Law Offices of Chip Forstall are ready to assist you with getting the compensation you’re owed from your insurance carrier. If you’re having trouble dealing with your insurance agent, call us at (504) 483-3400 or by using our online form to discuss the specifics of your case.