BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon is offering guidance to homeowners and businesses impacted by the recent flooding. He also advises residents to exercise caution while surveying damage to their homes and businesses. Standing water, even low levels, can be hiding debris such as broken bottles or downed power lines.
Remember that flooding is generally not covered under standard residential and commercial insurance policies. Flood insurance is available through a separate policy under FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program and some private insurers.
The Louisiana Department of Insurance offers the following tips on preparing to file a claim:
- Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible. Have your policy readily available and find out whether the damage is covered under the terms of your policy and how long you have to file a claim. If you have trouble with that process, you can reach the Department of Insurance at 1-800-259-5300 for assistance.
- Minimize your losses and document the damage. Take photos of any damage and then make whatever reasonable temporary repairs are needed. Keep receipts for expenses incurred in making such repairs.
- Save your other receipts. If you are unable to stay in your home due to damage from a storm, hold on to your receipts for lodging, food and essentials. Your policy may cover a portion of the costs while you are temporarily relocated.
- Ask for identification from any agents, adjusters or contractors. Do not sign any contracts for repairs until you have been instructed to do so by your adjuster and you have called the Better Business Bureau in your area to verify a contractor is legitimate.
If your vehicle was affected by flooding, coverage depends on the type of policy you have on the vehicle. If you have a comprehensive coverage within the policy on your vehicle, you will more than likely be covered for damage due to flooding. However, if you have only liability coverage or liability/collision coverage, it is highly probable that you will not be covered for any flood damage to your vehicle. You should check your policy or consult with your agent to find out coverage is in place.
If you do not have flood insurance and your home was damaged and located in a federal disaster area, there are resources to help. For properties in a declared federal disaster area, homeowners and renters may qualify for aid programs through FEMA. Visit www.disasterassistance.gov or www.ldi.la.gov/floodrecovery for more information.
Information provided by the Department of Insurance.