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Lake Charles Hurricane Lawyer

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Lake Charles Hurricane Damage Attorney Ready to Fight for You

Hurricane damage can easily cost a homeowner over $20,000, and receiving a fair and timely insurance claim can go a long way towards the repair process. Unfortunately, many people fail to understand exactly what their homeowner’s insurance will, and critically, will not cover after a tropical storm, and insurers are happy to skip out on paying if they can get away with it. That’s where an experienced hurricane damage attorney like Blaine J. Barrilleaux can come in handy, working with you to increase your chances of receiving a fair insurance claim.

Residents of Lake Charles, LA are unfortunately no strangers to the emotional and financial destruction hurricanes can bring, and adding in the stress of dealing with insurance companies in the aftermath of a natural disaster can be overwhelming. A knowledgeable hurricane damage attorney can help you take back control and present your case clearly and efficiently to streamline the process.

Why Blaine for Your Hurricane Insurance Claim

If you live in Lake Charles, LA or the surrounding area, you know that there are always plenty of hurricane damage attorney ads that pop up on TV after a storm. Most of these attorneys aren’t even based locally, but they’re more than happy to sweep in after a disaster and ask for your business.

Finding a professional with hurricane experience can certainly help the insurance claim process go more smoothly, but it’s crucial to find the right attorney or you’ll be adding more stress to the process than you’ll be taking away. So with so many lawyers to choose from, why should you choose a local LA hurricane attorney like Blaine?

We Start With the Details

Even seemingly insignificant pieces of information can alter the outcome of your hurricane damage claim, so we pay attention to every single detail right from the start.

Call Us at Your Convenience

We make it easy to get through to a live person when you call our office – no endless automated phone prompts only to be directed to voicemail.

Local Hurricane Attorney

Blaine is local to the area, so he knows firsthand what an enormous financial and emotional impact hurricanes can have on a parish and its residents.

The Lasting Impact of Hurricane Laura

In August of 2020, Hurricane Ida touched down in LA, with 150 mph winds that made it just 7 mph short of a Category 5 storm. Residents of Lake Charles, LA suffered immensely, with homes and businesses destroyed and abandoned, as well as:

To make matters worse, the city was hit with a second hurricane (Hurricane Delta) just six weeks later, followed by a severe winter freeze in February, and severe flooding in May of 2021.

Despite all this, Lake Charles didn’t see the millions in federal supplemental disaster aid that much of Southeast LA received after other natural disasters, something residents and local government had been pushing for. Due to this lack of financial resources, less than 13% of homeowners have begun the process of rebuilding over a year later. With an estimated 3,000-5,000 residents still displaced after the four major disasters, Lake Charles’ residents are praying for relief as they do what they can in the meantime.

Fortunately, Lake Charles, LA is a resilient community, and there are countless local organizations that are doing everything possible to help neighbors in need as the city rebuilds anew, from organizing food and clothing drives, to providing temporary shelter and employment assistance.

The Rebuilding SWLA website is helping to connect people as well as offering inspiring stories of residents’ resilience and providing opportunities to give or receive help; meanwhile, the Visit Lake Charles site has been maintaining a list of local businesses so neighbors in the community can support them when they reopen.

Types of Damage Caused By Hurricanes

Hurricane damage comes in many forms, and unfortunately, not all types of damage are covered by insurance claims. Below is an idea of what kind of damage you might expect from a tropical storm and how your insurer may handle it, but always be sure to check your individual policy and speak with your insurance company if you have any questions about your specific coverage.

Water damage is usually caused when rain gets into your home through the roof and spoils your ceiling and walls. It is usually covered by homeowner’s insurance. Note that rain damage and flood damage are two separate things in the eyes of your insurer.

Flooding, whether caused by excessive rains or storm surges, is considered separate from rain damage from an insurance claim point of view and is not generally covered by homeowner’s insurance. Flooding can damage everything from the home’s foundation to flooring, walls, and possessions once floodwaters enter the home.

Wind damage is any hurricane destruction caused by strong winds, such as the roof being torn off or windswept debris striking and damaging your home. Wind damage is often covered by homeowner’s insurance, although your insurance company may require you to get an additional high-coverage rider for damage caused by windstorms.

Is My Home Covered by Insurance After a Hurricane?

If your home has sustained hurricane damage, one of your first thoughts as you start the process of recovery will most likely be, “what does my insurance cover?”

The short answer is: it depends on your insurance policy.

As any good hurricane damage attorney will tell you, it’s a good idea to always make sure you fully understand any insurance policy you’re about to purchase, including:

  • What is covered?
  • What isn’t covered?
  • What is your deductible?
  • What are the coverage limits?

Of course, it’s also normal for people to misunderstand their policies or go so long without using them that they forget the specifics. That’s where your policy documents come in handy – if your paperwork says something is covered and your insurer tells you otherwise, it may be time to get a hurricane attorney involved.

Although every insurer handles hurricane damage differently and every policy will vary somewhat, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to filing an insurance claim after a hurricane.

Many insurers in hurricane and tornado-prone states require policy holders to purchase a separate hurricane rider. This additional windstorm coverage usually comes with a higher deductible than the rest of your insurance policy. Depending on your insurer, you may have to pay this higher deductible if:

  • Winds exceed a certain speed
  • The storm is officially named
  • The storm is classified as a hurricane

As we mentioned earlier in the section “Types of Damage Caused By Hurricanes,” your insurance policy may handle various types of damage differently:

  • Rain damage is generally covered
  • Wind damage may or may not be covered depending on your policy’s requirements for a windstorm rider
  • Flood damage is usually not covered, so you probably need a separate flood policy

A common mistake that people make when shopping for homeowner’s insurance policies is choosing the lowest amount of coverage in an attempt to save money, then forgetting about the coverage limits when it comes time to collect an insurance claim. Make sure your policy covers what you need it to so that you’re not caught short if a storm harms your property.

If you live in an area prone to severe storms or flooding, it’s worth keeping in mind that your homeowner’s policy will generally not cover the cost of evacuation and the time spent living elsewhere while your home is being repaired.

Lake Charles Hurricane Resources

There are countless reasons why people love visiting and living in Lake Charles, LA, from the area’s natural beauty to the city’s melting pot of rich culture, food, and music. However, one of the facts of life in Southwest LA is the potential for natural disasters such as hurricanes, so it’s always a good idea to be prepared by familiarizing yourself with resources before you need them.

Fortunately, Lake Charles has a number of excellent hurricane resources that can get you the help you need if disaster strikes.

The City of Lake Charles Website

This website provides emergency hurricane preparedness plans that your family can use ahead of time to make sure you’re always prepared for the next natural disaster. The site also includes a list of local links that may be helpful during the next hurricane, such as the KPLC storm center.

United Way of Southwest Louisiana

The United Way helps victims of natural disasters in the area by collecting donations and supplies to share with frontline emergency workers helping with response and recovery. Working with local nonprofits allows The United Way to tend to communities’ immediate and long-term needs.

State of Louisiana Hurricane Updates

The State of Louisiana Hurricane Updates website is a government-run site that provides up-to-the-minute hurricane alerts as well as information on things like shelters and road closures during a disaster.

Louisiana 211 Statewide Network

Lake Charles residents can call 211 to get information about the health and human services resources available in their community during or after a hurricane. Whether you need clothing and food or you’re having trouble finding work after a disaster, 211 can probably help you find the services you need.

Get a Game Plan

The Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness website provides resources to help you plan ahead of a hurricane, as well as links to resources that you can utilize during or immediately following a disaster. Here you’ll find everything from news and updates to links for disaster recovery assistance.

What to Expect From a Hurricane Claim Dispute

As a hurricane damage attorney with decades of experience, Blaine has seen firsthand the countless ways that hurricane claim disputes can arise. While every hurricane damage case is different, there are a few things you should expect if your insurance company decides to dispute your claim.

Disputes About Coverage

A common tactic that insurance companies use in order to avoid paying claims is denying that certain damage is covered by your policy. They may outright dispute the coverage you have, or they may try to claim that damage is caused by something other than what’s covered. For example, an insurer might claim that water damage is caused by flooding and not by rain, meaning it’s uncovered by your normal homeowner’s insurance policy. In cases like these, it helps to have a hurricane attorney around to help you prove what caused which damage.

Questions About Damage Timeline

Our law office is fond of saying “the details matter,” and the timeline of your property damage is a perfect example of this. If you have hurricane damage, your insurance company may try to refute your claim that the damage occurred during the storm, thereby removing the insurer of responsibility for it. A detail-focused hurricane damage attorney like Blaine J. Barrilleaux can help you prove that:

  • The property wasn’t damaged before the hurricane
  • You took reasonable precautions to protect the property after the storm

Lowball Claim Offers

Most people who have tried to collect money from an insurance company know that it’s not unusual for insurers to lowball claim offers and get away with paying as little as possible. In the case of hurricane claims, one of the most important things to look out for is actual cost value vs. replacement cost value, and which your policy covers. Actual cost value is quite a bit lower than replacement value, since it includes depreciation, whereas actual cost value is the actual amount it will cost you to replace the property.

Get Legal Assistance for Your Hurricane Insurance Claim

Was your home in Lake Charles, LA damaged by a recent hurricane? If you’re struggling to get a fair hurricane damage settlement and need some help, our office would be happy to go over your case and provide a free consultation.

Recovering from a hurricane is stressful enough without having to fight for every penny your insurance company owes you, so let us help you through the process. A knowledgeable hurricane lawyer can help you through a dispute by gathering evidence, reviewing policy documents, and presenting your version of events clearly to your insurance company, making it easier for them to see why you’re owed what you are. Contact us any time to discuss your case.

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