If you are still reeling from the damage to your home caused by a Louisiana hurricane, it is understandable to wonder how long you have to file a claim. Per RS 22:1264, you generally have 180 days to file your claim. This 180-day window can be extended under certain circumstances.
While you have 180 days to file your claim, you should notify your insurer as soon as you discover harm to your property. That way, you can start the claims process and avoid having any deadline expire on your claim.
Understanding the 180-Day Filing Deadline
There is a good reason why the Louisiana Department of Insurance (LDI) suggests prompt notification from policyholders. On the surface, 180 days might seem like ample time to provide the insurance company with a proof of loss. The reality is that filing a claim can be challenging in the aftermath of a hurricane.
Many homeowners lack access to necessary paperwork, while others might not have access to any form of communication for days or even weeks. This can make an already complicated task seem virtually impossible.
The process of filing a claim with the insurance company can be especially difficult in cases where evacuations have been ordered. In some cases, homeowners could find that the area they live in is under an evacuation order for weeks or longer. In that time, it could be impossible for the homeowner to inspect their property for damage or recover important documentation needed in the claims process. This makes it crucial for policyholders to report any damage, no matter how minor, to their insurers as soon as possible.
What does the 180-Day Deadline Cover?
It is not uncommon for homeowners to face confusion over the 180-day deadline. Here are some important things to note:
- The law does not require a property owner to conclude their insurance claim entirely within this time frame.
- The insurance company does not need to make an offer within 180 days.
- To abide by this deadline, you must show the insurer proof of your covered losses, which may include photos and videos.
- A homeowner does not need to return to their home or complete repairs within the 180-day deadline.
Potential Options for Extending the Deadline
The 180-day deadline can seem harsh, especially for property owners who are displaced from their homes for months at a time. For that reason, it should come as no surprise that there are various options that could allow an extension. In addition to a formal extension issued by the state, insurance companies can also grant extensions on an individual basis.
Blanket Deadline Extensions May Apply
The official deadline for filing an insurance claim following a hurricane is set by the LDI. This deadline is reported by the media and applies to everyone whose home was damaged in the area covered by the natural disaster declaration.
In addition to setting the filing deadline, the LDI also maintains the power to extend that deadline. It is not uncommon for extensions to be granted for all property owners, especially following hurricanes that resulted in significant damage.
Request an Extension from the Insurance Company
When the LDI offers an extension of the deadline, it applies to all homeowners in the affected areas. However, individuals may also seek a filing extension directly from their insurance companies as well. Insurance carriers have the option to agree to an extension, and it is not uncommon for these extensions to be granted – particularly in areas that sustained severe damage in the storm.
That said, it is necessary to request an extension before the initial deadline expires. To make the claims process smoother, you may consider partnering with an attorney. Your legal counsel could ensure your claim is filed on time or evaluate whether any extensions apply to you.
What Should I Do After Discovering Harm to My Property?
You should start building your claim from the moment you discover damage to your home or property. This involves:
- Taking photos or videos of the damage
- Preventing further harm from befalling your property
- Creating a list of your damaged items, including their worth
- Keeping copies of all correspondence between yourself and the insurer
When you partner with a lawyer, they can explain what other measures could help you seek a settlement from the liable insurance company.
An Attorney Could Help You File an Insurance Claim After a Hurricane
Even if you are entitled to benefits from your insurer, you must comply with the deadline for providing your carrier with proof of your loss. As noted, you generally have 180 days to file a claim after a hurricane in Louisiana, and the failure to do so on time could bring drastic consequences.
Yet, there are some options for extending that deadline. With the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine, you could provide the carrier with all of the documentation needed to move forward with your claim. Call 1-800-747-3733 for a free consultation to learn more.
We Can Help.