The following steps should be taken to file an insurance claim for disaster damage to your home.
- Call your insurance agent immediately.
- It's important to follow up on your call with a letter detailing the problem. Keep a copy of the letter.
- Begin cleanup and salvage as soon as possible. Don't wait for the insurance agent or adjuster. But do take photos or video before any cleanup for use as an inventory.
- Keep damaged materials for proof of loss.
- Leave phone number or e-mail address where you can be reached when the insurance adjuster arrives.
- The adjuster will assess the damages to the home. The owner should sign the proof-of-loss statement. Additional damage can be added when found.
- If your property has been looted, contact the police immediately. Tell them what was stolen. A police report may be needed to file an insurance claim for theft, distinct from the disaster damage claim.
- Protect your property from further damage by making temporary repairs. Save receipts for reimbursement. If your home is uninhabitable, save all receipts relating to your temporary lodging and food.
- Make a detailed list of damaged articles, and provide any other information the adjuster requests to process your claim. Keep a copy of all information for your own records.
- Review the settlement steps outlined in your policy. If you're dissatisfied with the proposed settlement offer, explain your position. If there's a significant difference between what the insurance company offers and what you believe you're entitled to, you may wish to submit the dispute to arbitration.
If you don’t know how to contact your insurance agent, visit the Louisiana Department of Insurance website. They have a list of the major insurance companies operating in Louisiana and contact phone numbers. If you can’t reach your company or if you have problems with your claim, contact the department at (800) 259-5300 or (225) 342-5900.
Source: Virginia Cooperative Extension and Clemson Cooperative Extension
Adapted by Ann A. Berry, Assistant Professor, Family Economics, LSU AgCenter