Unfortunately for residents in Louisiana, storms are a part of life. Whether a destructive hurricane or whipping tornado, homeowners often have to face their insurance company in order to recoup compensation from the damage these storms leave in their wake. Knowing the intricacies of filing a homeowners insurance claim can be the difference between peace of mind and complete loss.
An experienced attorney can help navigate this process and ensure you are fully compensated for the damage. Our team can help you determine the amount of loss caused by a storm and explain your options for repair or replacement of damaged property. This article provides information that is important to know if you find yourself face-to-face with an insurance claim.
Time Limits for Filing a Homeowners Insurance Claim
Laws in the state of Louisiana that prescribe time limits to file an insurance claim for property damage can be surprisingly convoluted. Certain laws can affect how long you have to file a specific claim, however, the actual deadlines to which you are held typically have more to do with what is stated in your policy (more on knowing your policy later).
When filing a homeowner’s insurance claim after a storm, the first thing you should do is notify your insurance company of the situation. Most policies require that you notify them as soon as possible after the storm. In fact, if you wait to notify them it is possible that you entire claim may be denied. Although there may be certain situations where a delay may be forgiven, it’s not worth the risk.
Soon after you have notified your insurance company, it is important that you submit all requested documentation and work to mitigate your losses as you wait for a response. While you should avoid making full repairs, you are responsible for doing what you can to prevent further loss. Again, this is often spelled out in your policy, and knowing what’s in your policy is extremely important.
Know Your Policy
As mentioned above, knowing your insurance policy is extremely important. However, as with most contracts, policies can often be difficult to read and even harder to fully comprehend. This is typically on purpose.
Express terms of a homeowner’s insurance policy will dictate specific terms to which you must comply in order to have your claim accepted. Insurance companies adhere to these terms very strictly and if one term is not met, it may be grounds for them to deny your claim entirely.
In addition to the express terms of the contract, policies also contain an “implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing”. This implied contract means that the insurance company is required to handle your claim fairly, and you are required to submit claims truthfully and accurately. A breach of this implied agreement can mean potential legal ramifications by either party.
Importance of Representation
Navigating not only the insurance policy itself, but also the many intricacies that are involved in filing a claim, dealing with insurance companies, and if necessary, pursuing litigation can be very complex. A qualified and experienced attorney in this field can help you understand what, exactly, is in your policy and the best way to proceed to ensure your claim is accepted and you are fully compensated.
Professional representation can also act on your behalf when the insurance company seeks to settle the matter – often for much less than homeowners are due. An experienced attorney that knows the insurance laws in the state of Louisiana, as well laws applicable to breach of contract and legal procedure can be the difference between a complete loss and full compensation.