Louisiana has had an increase in wind-intense tropical storms and hurricanes. More recently, both Ida and Laura have made landfall with intense and strong wind speeds. In 2020, insurance claims resulting from tropical storms and hurricanes amounted to $10 billion in Louisiana alone.
Louisiana Wind Damage Insurance Claim Law Firm
Johns Law Group stands up to insurance companies after they deny valid wind damage claims. Call our Louisiana team today for help receiving the compensation that you deserve.
It is essential to realize that each insurance dispute is unique to you and your property. You need a game plan to help you recover money rightfully owed to you after wind damage. In cases where your insurer has delayed, denied, or underpaid your claim, the assistance of our team of advocates can make the difference.
Common Types Of Damage Caused By Strong Winds In Louisiana
During hurricane season, homeowners can never be sure how much damage a storm or natural disaster may cause. Common types of wind damage are:
- Roof lifting off or destruction of shingles, gutters, and siding
- Siding damage from hail or other debris
- Broken windows
- Compromised doors and shutters
- Property damage to pools, sheds
- Damage from downed trees
- Fire damage from downed electrical wires
Sustained winds can cause so much surface damage, and sometimes even structural damage, to your home or property.
What Wind Damage does Homeowners Insurance Cover?
For the last several years, Louisiana has seen increased wind activity during tropical storms and hurricanes. A general homeowners’ insurance plan covers wind damage. But for homeowners in Louisiana, you may need an additional policy, or endorsement, for wind damage. A wind insurance endorsement is coverage for wind damage caused by storms. There are different names for wind insurance policies: Windstorm, Wind, and Hail, Named Storm, or Hurricane coverage.
As a general note, damaged personal property or water damage that is inside of your home generally isn’t covered by these policies unless it becomes damaged due to an opening in your roof or wall caused by wind. You will want to review your policy to make sure you are covered for the following common instances of damage caused by wind:
- Roof damage– The part of your home the most susceptible to wind damage is your roof. Your insurance company may pay for the roof repairs or even replacement. You can file a claim for damage to your roof, and you can be reimbursed up to your coverage limit.
- Windows or siding damage – Homeowners’ insurance policies will reimburse you if your windows are blown out or the siding of your home comes off from the wind.
- Wind damage to fences – Homeowners’ insurance will cover wind damage to fences under the other structures provision in your homeowners’ insurance policy.
- Fallen Tree removal – If intense winds bring down a tree on your property, your insurance policy will cover a specific dollar amount to remove it from your property. You can also file a claim to be reimbursed for property damage caused by the fallen tree.
Coverage Limits of Homeowners Policies
Many policies only cover 50 to 70% of your home’s structural value. It’s wise to plan for exactly how much it might cost to repair or even rebuild your house.
Know your storm deductible. The deductible is the amount you have to pay out of pocket before your insurance coverage will pay for the damage.
A Louisiana insurance carrier can charge specific deductibles for a named storm, hurricane, or tropical storm before you can get reimbursed for wind damage.
Typically, you have to pay a percentage deductible for a windstorm deductible instead of a standard dollar amount deductible. These deductibles tend to be 2-5% of the property value.
In some coastal regions of Louisiana, wind and hail damage are excluded from a standard homeowners insurance policy. Exclusions should be listed in your policy so you can know what is not covered. If your standard policy does not include wind and hail damage deductible or hurricane and tropical storm deductible, you can purchase a supplemental or policy. If you cannot find a policy from a private insurer, you may get additional coverage through the FAIR and Coastal Insurance plans.
Steps to Take After Wind Damage
Contact your insurance agent or company as soon as possible to get the claim process started. The deadlines for the insurance company to inspect your property are typically increased following a major catastrophic event. The sooner you file your claim, the sooner you can begin to make progress. To make a claim, you may need access to an online portal to upload documents, estimates, photographs, and other claim information. Your agent or representative should be able to guide you through the process.
Do Insurance Companies Try to Deny or Delay Valid Hurricane Claims?
When a hurricane or major tropical storm hits an area, insurance companies can get overloaded with claims. In these cases, the insurance company is not purposely working to deny or delay a valid claim.
That being said, it’s important to note that it is illegal for an insurance company to act in bad faith. Bad faith encompasses many deliberate actions an insurance company takes to stall a claim, like delaying investigating your claim, delaying your payment, or misrepresenting the amount of coverage you need.
If you are running into issues with bad faith, you will want to talk to an experienced attorney. The insurance company could be liable for up to twice the original claim plus attorneys’ fees.
What if my homeowner’s insurance company takes too long to handle my claim?
In Louisiana, insurance companies must make a written offer to settle any property damage within 30 days after receiving proof of loss which can be submitted from the insurance adjuster.
After a significant tropical storm or hurricane, there would most likely be an extension of that time period. Additionally, the proof of loss process may look a bit different. Typically after a declared natural disaster, Insurance companies can take 60 days to respond to the claim.
Once settled, insurance companies must pay the claim within 30 days. If you think your insurance company is taking too long to review your claim or pay, you should contact an attorney to discuss your options.
How can an attorney help me with my wind damage insurance claim?
An experienced and aggressive insurance lawyer can help you maximize your settlement offer, help you understand your coverage limits, and negotiate with the insurance company for you. A legal team can document all of the damages and assessments and prioritize your damage recovery.
If the insurance company is acting in bad faith, a lawyer can help advocate for you in court to recoup all of your losses from wind damage.
Does my policy cover wind damage to the surrounding property of my home?
Sheds and fences can get damaged during a high-wind storm, but is that covered by your insurance policy? Almost all homeowners insurance policies cover the repair costs for additional or “other” structures. Other structures can include garages, sheds, and fences. You’ll want to check your individual homeowner’s insurance policy to confirm that you have the Other Structure policy.
What to Do After Wind Damage in Louisiana?
Immediately after severe wind damage to your property, you need to review your homeowner’s insurance policy to check what is covered. From there, you need to document the damage and collect proof of the pre-loss state of your property.
You will want to file a claim with your insurance company and schedule a time for the adjuster to come out to assess the damage. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, the insurance company will have 30 days to send an offer or a proposed settlement.
Get Help Navigating a Difficult Insurance Claims Process
Experiencing immense wind damage can be very stressful, and you need prompt insurance payment to repair your home. If your insurance company is unwilling to provide you with the full financial recovery, you need a strong advocate on your site.
For aggressive wind damage insurance attorneys who will fight with your insurance company for the money you deserve, call the attorneys at Johns Law Group. We are trial attorneys who fight hard to protect our clients’ rights. The most significant part of our practice is handling cases against insurance companies.
Our experienced wind insurance attorneys regularly challenge big insurance companies for our clients. We’ll listen to your experience and advise you of your legal options.