After several days of continual rain throughout South Louisiana tens of thousands of residents in the Northshore, Hammond, Baton Rouge, Lafayette and New Iberia areas have been displaced from their homes because of damage to their roofs and properties from high flood waters in what is being called “The Historic Flood of 2016.”
Most of South Central, and the Southeastern Louisiana were hammered by more than 25 inches of rain last week. Although the rain may have stopped, the threat of rising waters is still a serious concern for many. According to the National Weather Service, several rivers and other water tributaries have poured over their banks, which only increased the water levels in already drenched areas.
At least seven people have been reported to have died so far and tens of thousands more have had to be rescued and even more had to leave on their own. The damage is so devastating that President Obama has issued a state of emergency for the region.
People’s homes, businesses, vehicles and other property have suffered devastating damage and may be entirely underwater.
While it remains unknown how much higher the waters could rise, Governor John Bel Edwards is warning residents not to return home just yet. He says the recovery stage is still several days away.
Home Owners’ Damages and Personal Property Coverages
Insurance claims may involve damages to roofs due to continuous saturation, oversaturation and soaking caused by the constant multi-day rainfall as well as damage to the interiors of homes and other structures including the ceilings, walls, fixtures and wiring, and flooring, etc. Covered losses would also involve personal effects such as furniture, electrical devices and other contents contained in these homes and structures. Persons having coverages also may be entitled to lost income, temporary housing allowances, and other benefits. These claims may also cover work performed by the homeowners for the preserving, repairing and/or protecting of their home and personal property from these damages.
Insurance companies are represented by trained adjusters whose jobs are to minimize claims. Once residents are allowed to return home, they will need to file claims with their insurance companies immediately. Residents are advised to:
- Take caution when entering their homes or businesses for the first time after the flooding. Your roof may be damaged or collapsed, and it is vital that you check the structural integrity of your home before entering.
- Take photos of any floodwater and all damage to your home, property, vehicle and belongings.
- Save any items that have been damaged.
- Make a list of damaged or lost items and document when they were purchased and for how much with receipts, if possible.
Business Losses, Income Protection and Business Interruption Policies
There have been devastating effects on South Louisiana businesses, including some businesses that may be affected for weeks or even months or more depending upon repairs, replenishment of inventory and/or damages to customer bases etc. Some business have lost their entire inventory. Entire inventories of warehouses have been ruined with the destruction of food stock, supplies, industrial equipment, tools, or even big ticket items, including entire new car inventories that have been wiped out. It may take months if not a year or more to fully recover.
Filing and Proving Insurance Claim
As this severe rain storm was not classified as a hurricane or tropical storm or other “named storm”, affected residents may have additional rights to recover their damages, losses or even temporary living expenses and replacement housing under their home owners’ policies and flood insurance policies. Other claims also may be covered under insurance policies covering automobiles such as Comprehension Coverage and under other policies such as Loss of Income policies and/or Business and Commercial property policies, and Business Loses and Interruption policies, etc. In the coming weeks and months, insurance companies will likely be inundated with tens of thousands of claims for the extensive damage many residents are facing. These companies may cut corners when investigating or paying out your claim, they may deny your claim, or may offer much less than the value of the damage done to your property.
Contact Our Experienced Insurance Lawyers
For help dealing with your insurance company, do not hesitate to contact our experienced insurance lawyers. If your insurance company refuses to cover your valid claim for compensation, we fight to get your what is owed to you.
We have decades of experience dealing with insurance companies and can help ensure they act in good faith and cover the full costs that are owed to you.