Many severe hurricanes have impacted Louisiana. Just last year, Hurricane Ida wreaked havoc on the state, and in 2005, New Orleans suffered devastating losses from Hurricane Katrina. It was one of the worst hurricanes in the United States, and displaced 400,000 people, killed at least 1,833, and cost $161 billion in damages. Almost two decades later, New Orleans is still feeling the effects of Hurricane Katrina, and another disaster in the city could have an unsalvageable impact.
Louisiana’s history of hurricanes proves that all residents need to understand the dangers of these powerful storms and how to be prepared. You should know what to do before and after a storm and how to make an insurance claim – not to mention what to do if an insurer underpays or refuses to pay for Louisiana storm damages. As the number of hurricanes and their severity in Louisiana and the U.S. continues to rise, the devastation families and businesses face is serious and can be life changing.
There are several risks associated with hurricanes. Hurricane storm surges have led to countless drownings, and people and their pets face the risk of being stranded without help for days, if not weeks. Power outages, structural damage, and dangerous debris threatens the safety of those who endure a hurricane. Damage to infrastructure, personal property, and businesses can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Before such disasters hit, it’s vital to have a hurricane emergency plan for personal safety and hurricane insurance claims. You should also know how Louisiana hurricane damage attorneys can help with insurance claims after a storm. By following our hurricane prep checklist, Louisiana residents will have an easier time weathering upcoming storms.
How to Prepare for Hurricanes in Louisiana
There are several ways to prepare for hurricane season. Creating an emergency kit and emergency plan, making your property as safe and protected as possible, having adequate property insurance, and being aware of the risks are all part of hurricane preparedness.
Hurricane Emergency Kit
An emergency kit should be created well before any hurricane hits. It’s best to have one ready at all times because many items in a hurricane kit could be difficult to purchase if Louisiana residents know a storm is coming.
Hurricane emergency kits should include:
- Three days (minimum) of non-perishable food for every member of your household
- Three gallons of water for each person
- Can opener
- Batteries for flashlights, radios, and any other helpful battery-operated items
- Candles and matches
- Over-the-counter medication
- Radio (battery-powered)
- List of emergency phone numbers
- Books and games
If you have young children or pets, make sure the emergency kit has diapers, baby items, pet food, a leash, and anything else these vulnerable family members need. Also, get a week’s supply of all prescription medications when a disaster is expected and add them to your hurricane emergency kit.
Hurricane Emergency Prep & Go-Bag
Limiting hurricane damage to your home and business is important. When a hurricane approaches and is expected to hit Louisiana, regularly monitor the weather and the news, so you’re updated on risks in your area. Cover windows with boards if able, secure or store loose items on your property, such as patio furniture, and trim trees, all of which are susceptible to damage from high winds during hurricanes. Charge cell phones and put your fridge and freezer temperature on their lowest setting. Limit how often these appliances are opened, so the contents last longer during power outages.
Make sure to have fuel for generators, a full tank of gas, and a place to go to in case of evacuation. If you stay and lose power after a storm, know how to safely use generators to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, a deadly risk that kills people every year during natural disasters.
One of the most important ways to ensure your safety is to follow mandatory evacuations if issued. These happen when there is an extreme danger to life, and failure to evacuate can produce devastating results. Plan your routes (with alternatives) to an emergency shelter or other destination if necessary to evacuate.
Make sure loved ones in the area are prepared and agree on a location to meet them. Louisiana residents in mobile homes should not stay in them when a hurricane hits because it’s too dangerous. The structural integrity and protection a mobile home offers are simply inadequate.
In addition to securing and protecting property, prepare a go-bag with items that may be needed if you have to evacuate or leave your home on short notice.
A hurricane go-bag should include:
- Clothing for everyone in the family, including weather-resistant items
- Water bottles
- Cell phone chargers
- Pet supplies
- Evacuation routes
- Emergency phone numbers
- Sanitizing wipes
- File folder of important documents
The documents that should be included are identification, insurance policies, and birth certificates. Paperwork and IDs are easily lost in a hurricane when a home is severely damaged or flooded, so keep them in your go-bag. If possible, use a plastic or weather-resistant folder or bag to protect these items from the elements.
Food, medications, and water should be added to your go-bag, among other necessities in your emergency kit. If you’re headed to a shelter and can carry it, bring bedding with you. Just remember that you may have to walk part or all of the way with these items if roads are impassable and there’s limited space in shelters, so only take what’s necessary. Lastly, remember to review your hurricane emergency plan with everyone in your family.
Hurricane Insurance Prep & Claims
Navigating before and after natural disasters can be overwhelming. While ensuring your family’s safety is paramount, properly compiling hurricane insurance claims is crucial to ensure you’re compensated for losses.
Before the storm hits, take pictures of your personal and business properties and every room within, as well as any vehicles you own. Take photographs of shingles and siding and all of your possessions. This way, you’ll have the evidence needed when it’s time to make a hurricane insurance claim. Keep a copy of everything on a flash drive and the internet just in case the physical copy is lost.
Once a hurricane passes and the initial dangers have cleared, photograph all of your properties and vehicles again. Make a written list of damages and lost possessions, too. Having a list and before and after photos gives hurricane insurers proof of damages and losses from the disaster. It can also speed up your claim and reimbursement.
Hurricane insurance claims should be made as soon as possible. It can take months to process and receive reimbursement for your losses. And if your insurer refuses to pay or doesn’t offer enough, the sooner you know, the sooner you can consider your legal options.
Louisiana Legal Claims Against Hurricane Insurers
The cost of hurricanes in Louisiana is high, and it’s essential to know the dangers, be prepared, have hurricane insurance, and know how to protect yourself and your family. Part of this is having an insurance policy that covers more, not less, than what you may need. Many property owners don’t realize they need to pay extra for flood insurance, even though it’s one of the most costly and common hurricane risks. While some things are irreplaceable, adequate hurricane and flood insurance can help you rebuild and move forward following a disaster.
Unfortunately, some insurers act in bad faith – they undercompensate policyholders – and when they do, you should contact a Louisiana hurricane attorney. You should also seek legal advice if what they offer is much less than what your policy covers or if your claim is denied. And if you’re simply unsure if you are entitled to more money, it’s also worth getting legal advice.
Louisiana has a known hurricane risk, and the hurricane damage attorneys at Herman, Herman & Katz have helped residents get the financial support they need and deserve. Just last year, we helped many clients following Hurricane Ida, ensuring their insurance provider paid what they were owed. We are available to help Louisiana homeowners and businesses recover the necessary insurance proceeds to rebuild and move on after a storm. For more information or a free case evaluation, contact Herman, Herman & Katz online or call us at 844-943-7627.