Hurricanes & Natural Disasters


  • Home and business owners must submit specific evidence to their insurer to prove the extent of losses and damage after a hurricane or other natural disaster.

  • Many Louisiana insurance companies act in bad faith by denying, delaying, or only partly paying a valid hurricane insurance claim.

  • A hurricane damage attorney can provide advice, help build an insurance claim, and hold insurance companies accountable for the coverage clients are entitled to.

Why Hire HHK for Your Hurricane Claim

HHK has helped thousands of clients recover the insurance proceeds necessary to rebuild and repair their homes and businesses and replace lost possessions after hurricanes and natural disasters in Louisiana. We’ve been at the forefront of the legal community, establishing important standards for the interplay of homeowners and business insurance policies and the use of Louisiana’s “bad faith” insurance penalty statutes.

Sometimes, in the wake of a hurricane or other catastrophic event, insult is often quite literally added to injury, as many property owners find they cannot collect on their insurance claims. A significant part of our work is representing clients in first-party insurance claims against their insurer and subrogation cases. We leverage the expertise of consultants and accountants and can meticulously review policies and successfully litigate cases. We also advise clients on what to look for in an insurance policy when obtaining coverage.

Whether you’re having trouble getting your claim approved or were offered much lower than you’re owed, the hurricane lawyers at HHK can help.

Louisiana Hurricane Insurance

Home and business insurance policies detail the types of damage covered after a hurricane. In many cases, certain damages may not be included in the policy. It’s always best to have more coverage than you think you need and to take steps to prepare for a hurricane in Louisiana. After all, they can completely decimate homes and businesses, and the costs to repair and rebuild can be financially devastating without a strong insurance policy.

In Louisiana, you must purchase separate flood insurance to be covered when storm surges, levee failures, and heavy rains cause water damage. Without flood insurance, you will not be able to make a claim for any damage caused by water. Even those who live inland need to have flood coverage.

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) offers coverage for your home, possessions, and business. However, buying more than just the standard coverage is safest because hurricane property damage can easily exceed the minimum policy amounts.

Determining the Scope and Pricing of Hurricane Damage Claims

There are many ways hurricanes can cause property damage; broken windows, leaky roofs, missing shingles and siding, flooded homes, wrecked furniture, lost possessions, structural damage, ruined electrical systems, and more are all types of hurricane damage.

The scope of a hurricane insurance claim should include any of the physical damage caused to a property and the repairs and replacements needed. Overall, estimating total property damage and losses can take several weeks or more.

Pricing is another important part of determining the value of a property damage insurance claim. This refers to the cost to repair or replace items within the scope of your claim, which includes materials like roofing and insulation and labor costs.Home destroyed by hurricane Katrina in Biloxi

While it may seem straightforward, the cost of building supplies dramatically increases after a hurricane due to supply chain issues. If you endured Hurricane Ida or another Louisiana hurricane, you’ve likely experienced this before. However, insurance companies use basic computer programs to determine prices, and these programs often don’t apply real-world costs following a hurricane. This frequently results in insurers underpaying for repairs, but our hurricane damage attorneys can help get the true value of costs.

What To Do After a Louisiana Hurricane

The first thing to do after a hurricane is to seek medical attention if you’re injured. The safety and health of you and your family should be your top priority. Once you’re safe and have seen a doctor, if necessary, you need to take steps to ensure your insurance company covers the costs of damages.

Follow these tips after a Louisiana hurricane.

1. Contact Your Insurance Company

If you have an active business or homeowners insurance policy, it’s best to file your claim immediately. Since there are often tens of thousands of residents and businesses affected by hurricanes in Louisiana, insurance companies quickly become backlogged on claims. The sooner you make your insurance claim, the sooner you’ll be assigned an adjuster to begin the process.

2. Document Communications

Once you contact your insurance company, document any communication you have with them throughout the claims process. If an adjuster verbally assures coverage, ask for it in writing. Louisiana has strict rules for how insurance companies process claims, so it’s essential to make sure they’re acting in good faith.

3. Gather Evidence

Make sure to gather as much evidence as possible of the hurricane damage to your property. The photographs and videos you take of the scene help determine the scope of your claim and reduce the chance of disputes. You should have recent “before photos” for comparison. Having organized, detailed documentation of the damage to your home, business, and/or possessions prepares you for when the insurance company tries to minimize your payout.

4. Mitigate Further Damage

After a Louisiana hurricane, business owners and homeowners need to prevent further damage from occurring to their property. This is called property damage mitigation. Examples include covering holes in a roof with a tarp, boarding up broken windows, and removing wet furniture to prevent mold growth. 

Without mitigating property damage after a hurricane, most insurance companies won’t cover secondary losses – losses that could have been avoided if you could have safely made temporary repairs. Do not begin permanent repairs until your insurer says you can do so. If you don’t wait, it will affect your claim, and you won’t be reimbursed for the work you’ve done.

When To Contact a Hurricane Damage Attorney

Louisiana hurricanes are becoming more frequent and stronger, causing extensive damage each year. However, insurers will always pay as little as possible, and far too many act in bad faith by not covering what a policy clearly should. Proving the extent of losses and repair costs can be difficult, but our hurricane damage attorneys can help build your claim and ensure it’s as strong as it can be. We can also help before a storm hits by providing advice on the type and level of coverage based on what you own.

At the very least, you should contact a hurricane damage attorney if:

  • Your claim is denied.
  • Your claim is delayed.
  • Your claim is only partly paid.

Using our thorough knowledge of disaster insurance law, the property damage lawyers at HHK have helped thousands of Louisiana business owners and homeowners navigate claims after major hurricanes and other natural disasters. We have the experience – and track record of hurricane claim successes– to help. Do not accept a low payout, denied claim, or delayed claim without speaking with one of our lawyers first.

What To Do If Your Hurricane Claim is Delayed

Regardless of the degree of damage or number of other claims they are dealing with, it’s the insurance company’s job to address your claim in a timely manner. They must send an adjuster to inspect property damage within 30 days of filing a hurricane damage claim. They also must act in good faith. It is not your responsibility to worry about, accommodate, or accept a delay in service from your insurance company.

What To Do If Your Hurricane Claim is Denied

Unfortunately, Louisiana residents and business owners often face situations where their insurance company denies their hurricane damage claim. However, just because the company denies your claim does not mean it is correct. Processing agents make mistakes. In addition, some companies act in bad faith.

If your claim is denied, don’t accept your insurance company’s decision. Instead, contact our hurricane claim attorneys. We’ll investigate the insurance company’s denial, demand further consideration, and fight for the coverage you are owed. As needed, our team can represent you if you sue your insurance company for not paying a Louisiana hurricane claim.

Business Hurricane Damage Claims

After a Louisiana hurricane, small businesses have difficulty dealing with service interruptions, lost revenue, and property damage. Filing an insurance claim often means the difference between permanently shuttering a business or staying afloat while the community recovers. However, even small mistakes during the claims process can jeopardize the recovery of your business.

Estimating the total property damage to a business can take much longer than determining damage to a home. To make a proper estimate, it’s essential to have multiple inspections from experts like electricians, plumbers, and roofers. This becomes even more complicated when businesses have rentable units on their property, such as office space or apartments.

When you make a business insurance claim, the insurance company may need several copies of your financial records. These records help calculate the extent of your losses during a business interruption following a hurricane. To prevent any processing delays, obtain the necessary documents immediately following documentation of the damage. This may include profit and loss statements, lease and rental agreements, tax returns, financial statements, and more.

Know Your Insurance Policy

Remember that your policy outlines what the insurance company promises to pay in exchange for your premiums. However, it also includes any damages not covered after a hurricane. It may also have hurricane deductibles that you must pay before the policy starts to cover any damage.

By reading your policy thoroughly, you’ll better understand what your insurer is obligated to cover. But it’s essential to make sure you have enough insurance coverage before a hurricane hits. If you have issues understanding parts of the policy or need advice, our hurricane property damage attorneys can help.

Insurance Companies Must Meet Certain Standards

When investigating a claim, the insurance company cannot misrepresent any facts about the claim or the insurance policy. For property damage claims, the insurance company can’t lie about what it covers in the policy. In addition, the insurer must be truthful about any facts pertaining to the case. For example, if your policy includes protection from damage caused by wind, the insurer can’t claim that it’s not covered.

There are penalties for insurance companies that misrepresent facts or policy provisions to policyholders. If the insurance company lies about your policy coverage, you may be able to collect attorney fees along with your damages.

Frequently Asked Questions

When Will an Insurance Adjuster Assess Hurricane Damage on My Property?2023-05-23T18:54:03+00:00

In Louisiana, insurance companies must begin their claim adjustment process within a timely manner, even after major events like Hurricane Ida. Under this law, the insurance company must assign an adjuster and have them inspect the damage within 30 days of the date you file your claim. Since hurricanes, floods, and other weather events leave many people on the verge of financial ruin, Louisiana law ensures that the insurance company acts promptly. If you have to wait more than 30 days for inspection, you may be able to collect attorney fees from the insurance company.

How Quickly Will I Get an Insurance Payout?2023-05-23T18:55:28+00:00

Once an insurance company receives a “satisfactory proof of loss,” it must pay the claim within 30 days. Proof of loss is a detailed report with supporting documentation that provides an estimate of the losses owed to you. This includes all the evidence collected for your claim, such as photos, videos, invoices, receipts, and repair estimates. The purpose of this law is to prevent insurance companies from delaying claim payouts. If the insurance company forces you to wait more than 30 days for a payout, it may be subject to additional penalties under Louisiana law for acting in bad faith.

Why Was My Hurricane Damage Claim Denied?2023-05-23T18:56:38+00:00

Insurance companies deny hurricane damage claims all the time, but that doesn’t mean their decision was right. When a claim is denied, the insurer provides a reason, such as:

  • You did not include enough information to support the claim.
  • The policy does not cover the damage.
  • The policy has lapsed.

Many insurance companies take advantage of people affected by hurricanes and other natural disasters, paying out far less than – or none of – what a policyholder is owed. If your hurricane insurance claim was denied or you were only paid part of what’s covered, contacting a lawyer is important.

What Is Louisiana’s “Good Faith” Requirement?2023-05-23T18:57:54+00:00

Louisiana has laws that require insurance companies to act in good faith and fair dealing when handling claims. This means there are certain things an insurance company can and cannot do during the claims process, such as acting fairly and promptly when settling a natural disaster claim. They must be reasonable and have probable cause to deny, delay, or underpay a claim. When it’s not justified, and the insurance company acts in “bad faith” this way, they may be penalized under the law.

How Much Is My Hurricane Insurance Claim Worth?2023-05-23T18:59:05+00:00

Many factors affect how much a Louisiana hurricane insurance claim is worth, such as the cost of:

  • Lumber
  • Drywall
  • Insulation
  • Lights
  • Windows
  • Roofing materials
  • Labor
  • Insured possessions

It’s important to note that these costs increase following hurricanes because of supply chain issues and demand. Since insurance companies don’t usually adjust for these increased costs, it’s crucial to start determining the scope and pricing of your claim with one of our hurricane damage attorneys sooner rather than later.

What Is a Third-Party Adjuster?2023-05-23T19:00:03+00:00

Once you make a hurricane damage claim, the insurance company may hire a third-party adjuster to manage your claim on their behalf. Since these adjusters handle many types of claims, they don’t usually understand the full scope of a policy and often don’t read all of your policy when handling your claim. Don’t assume they have enough training or expertise to process your claim correctly. If a third-party adjuster was hired and your payout is lower than it should be or denied, contact us for help.

What Is FEMA?2023-05-23T19:13:55+00:00

The Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) can provide support after natural disasters, but only if the president officially declares it a disaster. FEMA can help pay for temporary housing for victims who cannot safely stay in their home, medical expenses, and more.

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