BATON ROUGE – From the Louisiana Department of Insurance:
As Louisiana families look for ways to return home and assess damage after Hurricane Ida, Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon advises residents to be vigilant while surveying damage to their homes and businesses and offers tips to begin the recovery process.
Hurricane Ida slammed the Louisiana coast Sunday with 150 mph winds as it made landfalls at Port Fourchon and Galliano. The storm maintained strength as it tore a path between Baton Rouge and New Orleans, causing significant damage inland. One modeling company estimates insured losses at $18 billion. Another firm estimates insured losses at $14 billion to $31 billion.
“Hurricane Ida was one of the strongest storms ever to hit our state. These massive damage estimates mean that many Louisiana families will need to file insurance claims,” Commissioner Donelon said. “Please be careful as you check your homes and businesses for storm damage. Many injuries occur after the storm itself has passed. And know that the Louisiana Department of Insurance will be there for you as you begin the recovery process.”
The Louisiana Department of Insurance offers the following tips on preparing to file a claim:
- Contact your insurance agent or company as soon as possible. Have your policy readily available and find out whether the damage is covered under the terms of your policy and how to file a claim. The sooner you file a claim, the sooner you are in line for an adjuster, and ultimately, a contractor. If you have trouble with that process, you can reach the Department of Insurance at 1-800-259-5300 for assistance.
- Minimize your losses and document the damage. Take photos of any damage and then make whatever reasonable temporary repairs are needed and keep your receipts for such repairs. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has now begun its Operation Blue Roof Program in 13 parishes hard hit by the storm and can put a tarp on your house for free.
- Remember that flooding is generally not covered under standard homeowners and renters insurance policies. Flood insurance is a separate policy through FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program and some private insurers. If wind or a falling tree damaged your home and allowed rain to enter, that is generally covered by homeowners insurance. Rising water – flooding – is covered by flood insurance. Talk to your agent to find out which insurance policy may cover your losses.
- Keep your receipts. If you are unable to stay in your home due to damage from a storm, keep your receipts for lodging, food and essentials. Your policy may cover a portion of the costs while you are temporarily relocated.
- Ask for identification from any agents, adjusters or contractors. Do not sign any contracts for repairs until you have been instructed to do so by your adjuster and you have checked the license, insurance and reputation of any contractor you want to hire.
The Department of Insurance can be reached at 1-800-259-5300 for those that need assistance locating contact information for their insurer or who have questions about the claims process.