Insurance coverage

Understanding Insurance Coverage for Louisiana Hurricane Wind Damage vs. Flood Damage

The Atlantic hurricane season is ongoing, from June 1 to November 30. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) predicted an above-average hurricane season for the seventh straight year due to La Nina and high Atlantic temperatures.

Louisiana already faces several hurricanes each year, many of which have been devastating. These storms bring high winds, heavy rains, storm surges and flooding. Last year, Hurricane Ida devastated parts of the state, producing sustained winds of 150 mph. Unsurprisingly, the category four hurricane caused extensive wind damage. It also led to widespread flash flooding that killed several people and damaged buildings throughout Louisiana and along the coast. However, many owners are still waiting for the intervention of their insurers.

Since hurricanes in Louisiana damage buildings, property, and infrastructure, those who live and own businesses here need to be prepared for natural disasters. This involves having adequate insurance to recover losses and, sometimes, completely rebuild.

Secure enough business and home insurance to cover hurricane damage is necessary for every homeowner – especially those in coastal areas prone to more storms than other parts of the United States. Owners should understand and update these policies to ensure the correct level of cover is provided.

But it is important to know that a standard business and home insurance policy is not enough; there are clear exclusions to the types of damages they will cover and limits to payouts. Increasing your policy limit and adding separate insurance, such as storm, hurricane, and flood deductibles, provides the best security in the event of a disaster. And if your insurer refuses to pay or rejects your claim, a Louisiana Hurricane Damage Attorney can help you obtain the insurance proceeds you are owed.

Wind and flood damage insurance coverage

Louisiana experiences many types of natural disasters, but hurricanes are the biggest threat, not to mention the costliest. In 2020 alone, hurricane insurance claims amounted to $10 billion.

Storm surges are the most dangerous part of a hurricane, as they can be 20 feet or more and stretch hundreds of miles across the coast. High winds are also a serious risk, as they can uproot and topple trees, rip power lines, rip siding and shingles, and blow debris that can damage homes and businesses. Tornadoes can even form in the midst of hurricanes, bringing even stronger winds and increased risk to life and property.

Wind damage from hurricanes and other storms is generally covered up to a certain amount in Louisiana home and business insurance policies. Insurers can cover damaged roofs, crumbling siding, broken windows, home or property damage caused by downed trees, and even fire damage. Sometimes they offer a combination of wind and water damage coverage; Wind insurance in a home insurance policy can be applied to certain types of water damage, such as water entering a home through a wind-damaged roof or window.

In general, a standard home insurance policy only covers 50-70% of a home’s structural value when hurricane wind damage occurs. For this reason, many homeowners pay significant expenses to complete hurricane repairs.

To fill this gap in coverage, Louisiana is one of many states that offers hurricane and windstorm insurance. Windstorm deductibles apply to any type of damage caused by wind, while hurricane deductibles come into effect following a hurricane. The standard deductible is 1 to 5% of the insured value of the building.

Flood insurance is another coverage Louisiana businesses and homeowners should add. Unlike standard home insurance which covers a certain amount of wind damage, flooding is excluded. And yet, 90% of all types of natural disasters cause flooding.

Hurricane damage is costly. Hurricane damage threatens the structural integrity of buildings through collapsing roofs, cracking concrete and rotting wood. Flooding can cause damage to electrical systems and gas leaks, and landslides could wash away roads and wash away vehicles.

Whether there is heavy rainfall, storm surges or broken levees, floods cause significant damage to properties, buildings and assets. But flooding also increases a person’s health risks due to harmful bacteria and mold growth caused by water damage. If your home or business is flooded, getting the water out as soon as possible should be a priority, but the building must be safe to do so.

Since flood coverage is excluded, it is essential to add flood insurance to your commercial or home insurance policy. Ideally, it’s best to buy before hurricane season begins, as it usually takes 30 days for it to kick in. It can be purchased from private insurers, the National Flood Insurance Scheme (NFIP) and excess line insurers.

How to Prepare for Louisiana Hurricanes

Those who live in Louisiana know that the damage and impact of a hurricane can change their lives. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, and the effects are still being felt today. And last year, the 16th of Katrinae anniversary, Hurricane Ida made landfall and became one of the costliest storms in US history. The storm surge and flooding from the hurricane, combined with the powerful winds and accompanying storms, destroyed many homes, businesses and communities, amounting to $75 billion in damage.

We know that hurricanes and other natural disasters plague Louisiana, and because of this, everyone should be properly prepared for the worst. An essential part of prepare for a hurricane is to create an emergency supply kit. A hurricane kit should include batteries, flashlights, emergency phone numbers, directions to the nearest storm shelter, three days of food and water, ID , money and medicine. Also be sure to follow evacuation orders.

Preparing your home or business before a hurricane is also crucial. Secure or store loose items on your property, such as patio furniture, cover windows and doors, and fill a bathtub with clean water in case essential utilities are affected. Louisiana insurance companies require property owners to make the necessary coverages for their home or business. Your request could be limited or outright denied if you do not.

Another part of hurricane preparation is to purchase additional wind and flood damage insurance. You need to understand the policy’s coverage and limits and how to submit a disaster insurance claim. If possible, it’s best to have some money set aside to cover your deductible if your home or business is badly damaged or uninhabitable as a result of a hurricane. Insurers will only pay their share if the owner pays theirs.

What to do after a hurricane

Once a storm has passed, see a doctor if necessary, then contact your insurance company. Many more will submit claims at the same time, which quickly creates a backlog and delays payment.

Inspect your building and property after a hurricane. Evidence is crucial when making an insurance claim, as is knowing the difference between wind and flood damage. Take photos and videos inside and out and make a list of damaged or lost valuables for your hurricane insurance claim. You should have taken photos before the storm so they can be compared, as well as to document what you own.

For business owners, gather your financial records; they must be easily accessible before and after a hurricane. Often, insurance companies require copies of these documents when processing claims, such as rental agreements, financial statements, and tax returns.

Legal Options for Louisiana Hurricane Insurance Claims

All too often, insurers act in “bad faith” by refusing to pay the full amount owed or denying a claim entirely. If your insurer refuses to cover what it should, it’s essential to contact a Louisiana hurricane damage attorney to discuss your legal options. You are entitled to receive the financial support provided for in your home insurance policy. The team of hurricane property damage attorneys at Herman, Herman & Katz can help you recover the insurance proceeds owed to you.

With a thorough understanding of catastrophe insurance law, our attorneys have helped thousands of Louisiana home and business owners successfully fight their insurers for the money they are entitled to. We also help clients find the right hurricane damage coverage for their building and property. Contact us online or call 1-844-943-7626 for a free consultation.