Insurance Update: Tropical Storm Lee
Following the events of Tropical Storm Lee, Commissioner Donelon is reminding Louisiana citizens of the steps that you should take if you incurred damages to your property as a result of a storm.
Filing your claim:
After any disaster in which you incur property damages, it’s important to call your insurance company’s claims hotline or the agent who sold you your policy and file your claim as soon as possible. When calling about your claim, keep a record of your conversations with insurance personnel including the person’s name and the time and date of the call. If your home or property has been damaged, the agent will submit a loss form and an adjuster will be assigned to your claim. If you are not able to stay in your home, let your agent or insurance company know where you will be.
Working with your adjuster:
Be sure to work closely with your adjuster. The adjuster should call you as soon as possible to come and inspect the damage to your property, but be patient and know that the cases with the most serious damage will be handled first. Be present when the adjuster comes to inspect your property and ask for identification. Unscrupulous repairmen often try to take advantage of people who have suffered storm losses. Make sure you have your insurance policy, your list of possessions and any photos or videos of your property ready for the adjuster. This will make the adjuster’s work easier and help settle your claim sooner. The adjuster will prepare a repair estimate of the damage to your property. When working with the adjuster it is important that you come to an agreement on what needs to be repaired or replaced. Do not accept an unfair settlement. If you cannot reach an agreement, call your insurance company or contact us here at the Department of Insurance at 1-800-259-5300.
Repair temporary damage:
Remember that you are required to make temporary repairs to prevent further damages to your property from weather or looting. This includes boarding up windows and covering your roof with plastic covering if it is leaking.
If the damage to your property is the result of flooding and you carry flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) the process is the same. Call your flood insurance agent or company with your policy number and information. An adjuster will be assigned to survey the damage. Take photos of water damage and keep swatches of carpets or fabrics for your adjuster.
If you carry multiple insurance policies such as homeowners and flood and are not sure which to file the claim under, use your best judgment once you determine damages. You may need to file separate claims with your different policies. The adjuster or adjusters will take care of determining which policy covers which part of your loss. If you cannot reach an agreement, call your insurance company or contact us here at the Department of Insurance at 1-800-259-5300.
For additional resources, visit the Louisiana Department of Insurance Web site at www.ldi.la.gov and click on Hurricane Season 2011 in the scrolling newsreel to access important information, or dial 1-800-259-5300.
The Internet offers several resources on preparedness and planning, including www.fema.gov and www.ready.gov. Another source for great tips on preparing for disasters is the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Emergency Preparedness’ “Get a Game Plan” Web site found at www.getagameplan.org
Residents can also visit www.FloodSmart.gov or call 1-800-427-2419 for more information about their flood risk and the benefits of purchasing a flood insurance policy.