Storm Damage Claims

In 2021, natural disasters destroyed 1 in 10 American homes, totaling almost $60 billion worth of property damage. Mother nature can be harsh. She strikes when you least expect it and doesn’t discriminate.

The good news is that if you’ve been impacted, you can have your home repaired. File an insurance claim and get a lawyer who can fight for you.

If the negotiations fail, file a lawsuit and keep the negotiations going until you get the settlement offer you know you deserve.

Are you ready to get started? Access the storm damage, find out how much cash you’ll need to fix your home, and follow these key steps.

Evaluate the Damage

The first step in making a claim is documenting the storm damage. To get an accurate estimate of how much the repairs will cost, you’ll have to hire an experienced contractor.

They’ll provide you with a written quote that you can give to your insurance company. If you can’t find a contractor, your New Orleans Homeowners Insurance Lawyer may be able to get one for you.

Look at Your Policy

Once you know the level of damage you’re working with, it’s time to comb over your policy. Most policies will protect your home and belongings in the event of things such as fire and lighting.

If you want flood and earthquake coverage, you’ll have to buy it separately. If you have a garage or gazebo on your property you need to protect, that will require you to buy separate coverage as well.

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Most policies will only cover your belongings up to a certain amount. If the storm damage exceeds that amount, it will be up to you to pay the difference.

Read the Settlement Offer

After you let your insurance company know how much money you need to repair your home, they’ll send you a settlement offer. Nine times out of ten, this offer will be way lower than you expect.

Have your insurance adjuster go over the settlement and your policy with you. It might be a simple case of you misreading what the company covers.

Either way, keep records of the conversation between yourself and the adjuster. It could act as a key piece of evidence in the event you decide to take your insurance company to court.

Negotiate the Offer

You don’t have to accept the first offer given to you by the insurance company. You have the right to dispute it and open negotiations.

Grab a pen and write a letter to the insurance adjuster. Explain your situation and tell them in great detail why you believe the original settlement offer is too low.

Provide a copy of the contractor’s estimate as proof that the first offer won’t cover the costs of repairs.

Make two copies of the letter. Send the first one to the adjuster and the second to the adjuster’s supervisor. It could take up to a week for you to receive a response, so be patient.

What If the Negotiations Fail?

Just like you are within your rights to negotiate a better offer, your insurance company has the right to deny it.

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There are a couple of reasons why they may have denied storm damage coverage.

You could have failed to file your claim on time. Maybe you didn’t give enough evidence. If you haven’t been paying your insurance premiums, there’s a good chance the company will refuse to work with you.

If your insurance company learns that the damages happened because you failed to keep your home maintained, they can deny you. These are only a few examples.

Hire a Lawyer

The best way to fight denied or unfairly low property damage claims is to hire a lawyer. They’ll bring in a professional appraiser to analyze the storm damages.

Your attorney can also give you a good idea of what you’re owed, and they’ll gather evidence to make sure you get it.

They will do their best to keep the matter from going to court. They’ll act as a mediator between you and your insurance company to come up with a reasonable solution that benefits both parties.

If an agreement is made, they’ll sign the paperwork, and it will be as if the entire situation never happened.

File a Lawsuit

If an agreement can’t be reached, you can then move on to filing a lawsuit against your insurance company.

Once the case goes to court, it could be a while before you see your settlement, but it’s worth it if it means you get the money needed to repair your home.

Get the Final Offer in Writing

Once everything is said and done, get your final settlement offer in writing. The letter should include all the details of the offer and the date when you’ll receive your check.

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Some insurance companies may try to give you this information on the phone, but it’s not as legally binding that way. You need someone’s signature on a piece of paper.

Navigating Storm Damage Claims

Navigating the world of storm damage claims can be tricky and frustrating. The first offer you get from your insurance company is almost guaranteed to be a low one.

To get the money you deserve, you’ll need to dispute the settlement and open negotiations. If the insurance company refuses to negotiate, it will be time to get a lawyer involved. They’ll fight for you and guarantee you get the money you deserve.

For more information on property insurance settlements, visit the real estate section of our blog.

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