Hurricane seasons in Louisiana seem to get more serious every year, so you need to make sure you’re prepared! Experts predicting a 65% chance of the 2022 season being “above average” in terms of named storms and other activity. In addition, while the traditional hurricane season is defined as running from June to November each year, some meteorologists are calling for an adjustment in that time frame, given recent storm trends.
With the increase in storms comes an increased chance of experiencing major property damage from a hurricane, so it’s important to make sure you understand what your insurance covers in the event of severe weather, especially if they try to get out of paying and you have to get a hurricane claim lawyer involved.
Homeowners insurance generally covers wind damage and wind-driven rain damage during a hurricane, but some insurance companies charge separate deductibles (named storm or hurricane deductibles) before paying out for damage. Before hurricane season starts, make sure that you’re covered in your policy for the following areas:
- Dwelling coverage will take care of your home’s structure, roof, and built-in appliances, such as your water heater and cabinets. The limit of your dwelling coverage should be equal to the total rebuild cost of your home, so you’re not over- or under-paying for insurance.
- Personal property coverage covers property that’s not physically attached to your house: furniture, clothes, appliances, and more. To determine how much personal property coverage to buy, take an inventory of your belongings and insure them at their replacement cost so you can replace them if they’re destroyed.
- Loss of use coverage can help with additional living expenses after a hurricane, such as staying in a hotel, buying food, and others.
As mentioned previously, Louisiana insurance also carries a hurricane deductible, which is the amount of damage you’ll need to pay for out-of-pocket before insurance will pay for the rest. You’ll want to check your policy for this amount before the storm hits, and have it in your emergency fund if you can.
While wind and wind-driven rain damage can be covered by homeowners insurance, flooding damage—from water that rises from the floor or ground—is not. You need flood insurance, which is required in much of Louisiana for homeowners due to the likelihood of flooding in many neighborhoods, to be reimbursed for flood damage after a hurricane.
Some companies offer separate flood insurance, while others offer a flood coverage endorsement on top of your regular policy.
Residents of Louisiana coastal communities know that much of the damage from a hurricane is caused by high winds. In many high-risk areas, insurers exclude coverage for wind damage from standard homeowner’s policies. In that case, you’ll need separate windstorm insurance to be reimbursed for damage to your property from high-force winds.
If you own your home, you’ll want the above coverage to protect your investment during a storm. However, if you’re a renter, some of the above may not apply, or is the responsibility of your landlord. For renters, insurance companies offer renters insurance, which can help you recover the cost of your belongings damaged from
- And other storm damage
Does Renters’ Insurance Cover Hurricane Damage?
Renters insurance policies generally fall under replacement cost coverage or actual cash value coverage types, each of which has their pros and cons. Either way, yes, most of the perils caused by a hurricane—other than flooding—can be covered under a renters insurance policy.
Other types of coverage you should consider before hurricane season include:
Debris removal coverage
This type of coverage can help cover the high costs of removing post-storm debris, such as fallen trees and power lines, from your property.
Water backup coverage
Water backup coverage covers your belongings in the event of a sewage backup.
What Do I Do If I’m Underinsured?
When storms are imminent, most insurers apply an insurance moratorium on coverage. This moratorium is a period of time before a natural disaster where you can’t buy a new policy or update your current policy. Most carriers impose a 24-48 hour moratorium on insurance after a hurricane watch or warning has been issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
If you find yourself underinsured or uninsured before a storm, there are still a few steps you can take to prevent as much damage as possible:
- Trim branches of bushes and trees to minimize the risk of them breaking off
- Tie down or stow your outdoor furniture and other potential debris
- Install storm shutters on your windows, or nail plywood over the glass
- Seal all the openings to your house, including vents, power outlets, holes, and pipes
- Clean the gutters and all other pipes that lead water away from your house
What Do I Do If I Am Insured, but My Insurance Company Doesn’t Want to Pay?
After a major storm like a hurricane, insurance carriers are hit by another storm of claimants needing help getting back on their feet. Because they’re for-profit companies, however, most carriers are loathe to pay out all the coverage you need to rebuild after a storm.
If you’ve been impacted by a hurricane and getting the runaround from insurance, you need a passionate advocate on your side to help you get the funding you need to rebuild. Gordon McKernan Injury Attorneys are experienced insurance litigation lawyers who specialize in Louisiana hurricane damage, so you can trust that we have what it takes to help you win!
After the storm has passed, make sure to stay safe, then file a claim with your insurance. As soon as you’ve filed a claim, give us a call at 888.501.7888 for a free consultation as to your case. We’ll listen to your damages, and a dedicated lawyer will help you fight the insurance company for the compensation you need to rebuild.