The bayou is subject to frequent hurricanes, and many property and business owners are still trying to recover from Hurricane Ida. Sadly, insurance companies intent on padding their profits fail to respond to claims with the care and compassion their advertising might lead you to expect.
If your insurer is stalling on payments, offering too little, or operating in bad faith, contact a Houma and Terrebonne Parish hurricane insurance lawyer. A knowledgeable personal injury attorney could help you fight back against predatory insurance companies and get a settlement that reflects your actual losses.
Homeowners’ Policies Should Cover the Basics
Homeowner’s policies differ, and someone whose home suffers damage in a hurricane must look to the terms of their specific policy to understand what the insurance company will pay for. However, nearly every homeowner’s policy claims it will cover damage to the contents of the home, repairs to bring the structure up to code, and living expenses while the repairs are underway.
Sometimes insurers deny a claim, asserting that the policy does not cover the damage. This is often the case with water damage. Homeowners’ policies typically cover damage from wind-driven rain that enters a home through an entry caused by the storm. However, the company might claim that flooding or storm surges caused water damage, not wind-driven rain. An insurer could contend that a hole in the roof was pre-existing damage, not caused by a hurricane.
Insurers will not cover flood damage unless a homeowner or business owner has an endorsement for flood coverage. However, they must pay for hurricane-related wind damage and its consequences. If an insurer is refusing to pay, a hurricane insurance attorney could refer a homeowner to structural engineers and independent adjusters in Houma and Terrebonne Parish who could offer second opinions.
Disputes Regarding Estimates
Many disputes between homeowners and their insurance companies center around the cost of making a damaged home habitable. Often homeowners find an estimate egregiously low. Most insurers use a computer program to make estimates, but these programs may underestimate the cost of materials and labor, given their high demand after a storm.
When dealing with a disaster that affected many people, it makes sense to cash the check the insurance company offers and get started making basic repairs. A homeowner who believes the estimate was too low could offer invoices and receipts for work to make the structure safe to prove that the insurance company underestimated the cost of bringing it back to a livable state.
A hurricane insurance lawyer in the parish seat of Terrebonne could help a homeowner document their damage and file a supplemental claim. Although not all policies insure the home’s replacement value, they must cover the costs of reasonably necessary repairs.
Bad Faith Claims Processing Violates the Law
Insurers writing policies in this state must comply with the law that requires them to deal with customers in good faith. Louisiana Revised Statutes §22:1973 makes it illegal for insurers to:
- Misrepresent the coverage an insured party purchased
- Delay payment after the insured party and the company have agreed on a settlement
- Mislead or misinform a claimant about their legal rights
Homeowners must provide adequate proof of their losses, and sometimes doing so could be challenging after a severe hurricane. Pictures of their home’s interior and receipts proving the value of improvements or fixtures might have been among the items damaged or destroyed in the storm. A hurricane insurance attorney in Terrebonne Parish and Houma could help a homeowner prove their losses through sworn testimony and other evidence.
If a homeowner can prove their insurer acted in bad faith, the company could face significant penalties. A court could force them to pay the original amount of the homeowner’s claim plus the homeowner’s attorney’s fees and court costs.
Seek Help With Hurricane Insurance From a Houma and Terrebonne Parish Attorney
Hurricanes are a fact of life in the bayou, and most residents know how to prepare. However, few homes can stand up to a Class 3 or 4 storm, no matter how thorough the preparations.
If your insurance company is avoiding you, delaying payment, or offering much less than your claim is worth, contact a Houma and Terrebonne Parish hurricane insurance lawyer right away. They could help you communicate with the insurance company and ensure that it has the information needed to process a fair settlement.
If the company does not operate in good faith, a local legal professional could take the insurer to court. Call today to speak with an aggressive attorney.