Wind Damage in New Orleans

Information from Hurricane Lawyers, New Orleans, LA

Typical home and business owner insurance policies provide coverage for damages caused by wind. In cases of hurricane damage, the force of the wind can be so strong that significant portions of the home or business need to be repaired. With the potential for expensive repairs, it is common for disputes to arise between the insured and their insurance company. Such insurance disputes can include disagreements over pricing for materials, preexisting damage, cost of labor, and other insurance policy exclusions that may apply.

An attorney who handles storm damage claims can help you navigate this process. An experienced storm damage lawyer will help you interpret your policy, prove the extent and cost of your damage, and determine whether you may be entitled to bad faith damages against your insurance company. Every insurance company in Louisiana is required by law to fairly evaluate any claim for wind damages to a home or business. If your insurance company does not treat you fairly, it may be held liable for monetary damages up to two times the cost of repairs.

For example, if you suffered storm damage to your home or business requiring $100,000 worth of repairs, but your insurance company did not fairly handle your claim, you may be entitled to an additional $200,000 in bad faith penalties. Some examples of bad faith behavior by insurance companies include:

  • Misrepresenting the extent and cost of your damage
  • Misrepresenting policy exclusions
  • Failing to pay the insured on time

If you believe that your storm damage claim was undervalued or that you have been treated unfairly by your insurance company, you should contact a storm damage lawyer to discuss your rights to recover compensation.

What if my insurance company says an exclusion applies to my hurricane damage?

There are numerous exclusions in a standard insurance policy, which the insurance company will attempt to invoke against you to reduce the amount of your claim. These exclusions are often cited in a one page denial letter to the home or business owner. The insurance company will raise the policy exclusion, but offer little or no reasons or explanation as to why the exclusion should actually apply. A storm damage lawyer can help you determine whether your insurance company can legally deny your claim. Louisiana courts have held insurance companies accountable many times before for inappropriately invoking an exclusion in the insurance policy and denying a home or business owners claim. In fact, once the home or business owner reports the loss and an estimate for the wind damage, it then becomes the insurance company’s legal burden to prove that an exclusion to coverage applies.

Is your insurance company being fair in handling your hurricane insurance claim?

If your insurance company is not treating you fairly, you may be entitled to significant bad faith penalties under the law. Louisiana law says that an insurance company owes their insured home or business owner a duty of good faith and fair dealing. This means that the insurance company has “an affirmative duty to adjust claims fairly and promptly and to make a reasonable effort to settle claims with the insured or the claimant.” The law recognizes when an insurance company commits any of the following prohibited actions, the insurance company will be liable to the home or business owner for bad faith damages:

  • Misrepresentation of any facts related to the insurance coverage
  • Misrepresenting policy provisions relating to any coverage at issue
  • Attempting to deny or completely denying coverage for the insured based on error in their application, despite the fact the insurer knows that the insured never authorized these changes
  • Providing a misleading deadline to the individual filing the claim
  • Not playing a claim to the insured or anyone on the contract without probable cause or for arbitrary reasons, within 60 days of receiving satisfactory proof of loss

If your insurance company commits any of these acts, they will be liable for bad faith penalties in the amount of two times the cost of repairing the original damage.

Did your insurance company pay you on time for your hurricane claim?

If your insurance company took longer than 30 days to pay your claim after you submitted an estimate for your wind damage, you may have a legal claim for bad faith penalties against your insurance company. Louisiana law states that an insurance company may be liable for an additional 50% of the cost of repairing the original damage. For example, if your insurance company received an adjuster’s or contractor’s estimate for $100,000 to repair the damage at issue, and the insurance company arbitrarily waited more than 30 days to pay for the damage, then your insurance company would be liable to you for $150,000. If your insurance company took more than 60 days to pay your claim, then your insurance company will be liable for two times the cost to repair the original damage. In this case, the insurance company would be liable for $300,000.