When Hurricane Ida ravaged the Northeastern part of the United States in late August, early September 2021, many people encountered damages to their homes and properties. homeowners insurance. As the second most damaging hurricane to ever hit Louisiana, many people’s lives and livelihoods were threatened.
Not everyone reads the fine print on their contracts, especially not long and potentially boring ones such as their insurance. They just figure they pay the bills and they are covered. But that is not the case. Every insurance company is different and has different policies and priorities. Some are known for providing great healthcare, but offer little protection in the way of disasters, and vice versa. What this means for the average consumer, is that a little research is in order before signing up for homeowners insurance.
So today we are going over 3 key takeaways to consider when looking at homeowners insurance, taught to us by the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
1. Cheaper isn’t always Better
It is common for people to just look at the price and decide solely on that factor. But coverage can be just as important if not more so to consider. After all, what good is insurance if it does not cover the thing you want it to cover?
There’s also the question of whether the policy is built around a cash value, or replacement type policy. Both can be the right decision depending on your living arrangements and needs. The actual cash value is calculated with depreciation taken into account whereas the replacement cost is what it would cost to rebuild your home today.
Then there is loss of use coverage. This type of coverage is used if you can’t live in your home for various reasons. Then the insurance company pay for the place you have to stay, or they can in some cases pay for an RV you park on your property while repairs are taking place.
Finally it is worth mentioning structural coverage policies. These policies determine how well you are covered for accidents and incidents occurring to other structures, such as your fences, sheds and outhouses.
Another important aspect of natural disasters in particular, is the fact that the insurance company you choose can have hundreds of other claimants, all looking for compensation at the same time.
Especially with major hurricanes such as Ida, one of the largest ever recorded in Louisiana, and other states of the U.S, there is going to be a considerate waiting time from the day of the accident, to the day you can expect to see money in your bank account, or other forms of compensation.
Therefore it is wise to consider setting aside a sum of money to be used as a cushion while waiting for the insurance to pay out for these types of disasters. As it happens, the process in which insurance companies and adjusters follow in order to calculate damages and compensation takes the time it takes. Especially for hurricanes, earthquakes and similar massively destructive incidents where hundreds if not thousands of victims are affected.
Alex Martin, owner of Insurance by Alex, provides homeowners insurance to people throughout the state of Louisiana. When asked what he noticed during the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, he had the following to say:
“With the amount of claims that was processed you have to be patient. I understand you want your house fixed, but you’re not the only one. This was one of the biggest storms to ever make landfall in the US. Unfortunately, insurance companies don’t have enough adjusters that actually know what they doing to take care of everyone in a timely manner. I understand the complaints of adjusters not knowing what they are doing, so in turn you’re not paid for your damages correctly, but they are trying.”
3. Rebuilding your Home
For major incidents and disasters, there can be a sudden lack of local contractors to work on rebuilding your home. We suggest trying to go for local contractors if at all possible, but many times it becomes necessary to hire out of town professionals for the job.
As with all work performed on your home, it is important to ensure every contractor is licensed and capable, and we recommend doing extensive research and reading reviews of the potential builders, before hiring them. It can also be a good idea to contact your insurance company and get the green light from them before signing with a contractor.
And it is not just the contractors. The stock of building materials can dwindle almost overnight, as the many victims all have to rebuild their homes at roughly the same time. Therefore the price of these materials can rise quickly, since the sudden need for out of state materials suddenly sees a jump in demand.
For large-scale disasters such as Hurricane Ida, homeowners should expect a longer than average wait time. Not just for getting their claims processed and compensation released, but also in the process of rebuilding since many times there will be a lack of local contractors as well as local building materials and supplies.