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Getting Answers: Navigating insurance claims in the wake of Hurricane Delta

Posted at 6:40 PM, Oct 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-13 19:40:30-04

In the aftermath of Hurricane Delta, it can be overwhelming dealing with the cleanup process and figuring out how to move forward.

If you have damage, part of that undertaking is dealing with your insurance company to help repair your home.

KATC is Getting Answers about the claim process.

Several viewers reached out to KATC saying they had no idea they would have to pay more money towards their insurance deductible following a named storm, but the insurance experts say it's important to review your policy yearly.

A Lafayette resident who did not want to go on camera said she is not looking forward to filing an insurance claim after a tree fell on her home and part of her fence came down during Hurricane Delta.

"It's just a very, very stressful time for me," the woman said. "I went from thinking a $2,000 deductible to a $4,400 deductible. It was quite a shock. Let us know ahead of time and explain it to us how it's going to work and that way we won't be shell shocked when we do have a claim."

Dwight Andrus, President of Dwight Andrus Insurance said it's important to review your policy yearly and ask your agent questions.

Andrus said following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita because of the cost of damage, it is now common for policies to have a separate deductible for either wind and hail, a named storm or a hurricane deductible. He said usually, the separate deductible is a percentage of the property value that is insured.

"Talk with your insurance agent about buying that deductible down to either a 1% or even what we call a flat deductible in certain cases," Andrus said. "What I mean by flat is it is just even between the all other peril deductibles and that separate deductible to make it all the same, a flat dollar fee."

Andrus said it's important to take pictures of damage, document the date and time of the loss and keep track of any expenses. He also advises before an adjuster comes out to try and protect your property with tarps to prevent further damage.

"You have a clause called preservation of property," Andrus said. "The insurance company wants you the policy holder to take whatever steps you can safely to prevent your property from having further loss. The carrier is looking out for your interests and theirs which are aligned and they don't want that home to be damaged further."

What happens though if you cannot afford your deductible or repairs?

"if you do not make the repairs to your property, when that policy comes back up for renewal, the carrier is going to ask what is the current state of the property that we are considering to insure for another 12 month period. If you cannot prove that you have a home or a commercial building that is in sound order, then you're likely not going to be able to insure that building moving forward because it is susceptible to damage even further at that point," Andrus said.

According to the Louisiana Department of Insurance, if a policyholder has already filed a claim for hurricane damage during the 2020 season and met their named-storm deductible, they will not have to pay that named-storm deductible again if their home sustains damage for any other storm this season.

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