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How to Handle Hurricane-Related Flood Damage to Your Property

Aerial view of Dnister river with dirty water and flooded houses in Halych town, western Ukraine

As you know, hurricane season in Louisiana is brutal. You have to be tough to survive hurricane season year after year.

You have to know how to pick up the pieces and move forward after total devastation. Louisianans know how to adapt better than anyone.

Sustaining flood damage to your property as a result of a hurricane can be excruciating and devastating. You may have lost possessions that held tremendous sentimental value, and those are the irreplaceable items that mean the most.

While you may not be able to get everything you lost back, you might be able to recover compensation to help you restore your home to its former glory.

Steps to Take

If your property sustains damage as a result of a flood brought on by a hurricane, it’s essential to take the following steps:

  • Be mindful of outdoor hazards like hanging power lines and broken tree limbs.
    • Immediately report such dangers to the proper authorities.
  • Boil water until you are notified that it’s safe to drink.
  • Avoid flood water as much as possible because it can contain harmful contaminants and unsafe debris.
  • When the floodwater has dissipated, clean and repair the damages as soon as you can in order to avoid mold.
    • Be sure to wear protective clothing when doing so.
  • Discard any food that might have been contaminated as a result of a power outage or flooding.
  • Power on the utilities when you’ve been notified that it’s safe to do so.
    • Keep in mind that any electrical or gas appliances that got wet can pose a risk for electrical shocks or fires.
  • Submit a flood insurance claim right away.

Tips for Submitting Your Flood Insurance Claim

Unfortunately, insurance companies don’t always act in ways that are in their customers’ best interest. For this reason, it is imperative to hire an attorney to help with your flood insurance claim. You are significantly more likely to obtain a favorable outcome with a skilled attorney on your side than if you handle the situation alone.

With that said, there are some things you can do to help your attorney build the best case possible:

  • Take lots of photographs of any damage before you start cleaning up and repairing the property.
    • These images will be critical to your claim, so be very thorough. Just assume that everything is relevant.
  • Let your attorney know about any mitigation actions you take.
  • Conduct some temporary repairs to prevent further damage.
    • For example, if the water on your property is spreading into other areas of the house, pump and dry everything right away.

Flood Insurance

Unfortunately, homeowners’ insurance doesn’t cover property damage as a result of hurricanes and floods. That means Louisianans have to purchase that coverage separately, in addition to homeowners’ insurance.

The Cost

If you don’t already have one, it’s a good idea to purchase a flood insurance policy right away. According to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), the average policy costs about $700 per year.

What Flood Insurance Covers

There are two distinct types of flood insurance, and it’s in your best interest to have both:

  • Building property coverage
  • Personal property coverage

Building Property Coverage

This coverage will reimburse you for damage to your home’s structure as a result of a flood. This includes all of the following:

  • The foundation
  • Electrical systems
  • Plumbing systems
  • HVAC systems
  • Appliances

Personal Property Coverage

This coverage will reimburse you for damage to your personal belongings as a result of a flood. This includes (but is not limited to) the following:

  • Furniture
  • Portable appliances
  • Clothes
  • Food
  • Jewelry
  • Computers

There may be sub-limits coverage restrictions on high-value items that tend to appreciate value, such as artwork and furs. If you have an NFIP policy, the coverage sub-limits are set at $2,500 for high-value possessions.

If your personal or commercial property was damaged as a result of one of the 2020 Louisiana hurricanes, you might be owed compensation. Our team is highly experienced in this area of the law and has helped many others in similar situations. Let us see if we can help you, too.

Call our office today at (504) 875-2223 to discuss your case’s details and schedule a free consultation.