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How Long After a Hurricane Can I File a Claim in Louisiana?

— March 10, 2022

One thing many policyholders ignore is that a denial letter is not final.

Metairie, LA – Experts are already predicting 2022 is going to be an above-average season for hurricanes in the US, which is very bad news for Louisiana residents as it comes on the heels of the third most active hurricane season on record. If you live in Louisiana, you need to be prepared for the moment disaster hits. It’s not a question of if, but rather of when. If you want to avoid problems with your insurance company, you need to understand the terms of your policy and know what to do after a hurricane or major storm. If your claim is delayed, denied or if the settlement the company offers you doesn’t meet your expectations, you should get in touch with experienced Louisiana hurricane lawyers to help you negotiate with your insurer. Or even sue them if they act in bad faith, which happens more often than you’d think.

How long after a hurricane can I file a claim?

According to the law, you have 180 days to file an insurance claim after a hurricane. However, the Louisiana Department of Insurance recommends that you notify your insurer as soon as possible. 

Under state regulations, the insurance company has 30 days to settle your claim, but that’s not always the case. Once you notify them of your damage, the insurer is required to send an adjuster to your property to make an official report. When a major storm, like hurricane Delta in 2020, makes landfall, the insurance companies will be flooded with claims so you can expect some delays. Yet, if your claim is met with unreasonable delays, you need to contact some knowledgeable Louisiana insurance claims lawyers. If the insurance adjuster is not taking your calls or your emails go unanswered, that’s a clear sign they’re stalling, and this is something you shouldn’t allow. You have the right to get the money you need to rebuild or repair your house as soon as possible.

What should I do if my insurance claim is denied?

This can happen for a variety of reasons, some of them justified, but many of them illegal. The company must send you a letter explaining why your claim was denied and you must get a seasoned insurance claims lawyer to study it. 

Many times a claim is denied based on the argument that the specific damage is not covered by your policy. For instance, standard homeowners insurance does not cover flooding, which is a big problem for Louisiana residents. If you live in a major flood area, you need to purchase additional coverage. However, in many cases, insurance adjusters purposefully misrepresent the damage to a property, claiming it was caused by flooding, which isn’t covered, instead of the wind and rain associated with the hurricane, which is covered.

Thunderstorm with dark clouds; image by Josep Castells, via
Thunderstorm with dark clouds; image by Josep Castells, via

As an example, if the winds tear the roof and flying debris breaks the windows of your house, the rain may cause extensive damages. You know that, your next door neighbor knows that as he’s in a similar predicament, but the adjuster will simply say it wasn’t the rainwater, but a flood, so you don’t deserve any money.

One thing many policyholders ignore is that a denial letter is not final. You don’t have to accept their verdict. Your lawyers will help you prepare an appeal and the insurance company is required to review your case. You can submit more documents to support your claim. For instance, you can bring in an independent adjuster to evaluate the situation and decide whether the type of damage your house sustained is covered or not.

If you have a problem with your insurance company, schedule a free consultation with a reliable lawyer at the Houghtaling Law Firm, LLC in Metairie, and let them help you deal with your insurer.

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