Attorney Portrait Hurricane News Updates

What to Do If Your Flood Damage Was Denied by Insurance in Lake Charles

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Most people mistakenly believe that their homeowners insurance policy includes flood damage caused by natural disasters, leaks, and pipe damage. However, most homeowners insurance policies do not cover flood damage. Most insurance companies require homeowners to take out a separate flood insurance policy in addition to their homeowners insurance policy.  Careful review of your flood insurance policy and homeowners insurance policy lessens risk of surprise in an already difficult time in your life. However, if your flood damage was denied by your insurance, contact the lawyers at The Johns Law Firm to review your appeal options.  How Do I Appeal a Flood Insurance Policy? If your insurance policy denied your flood claim, you might consider appealing. If the National Flood Insurance Policy (NFIP) covers your policy, you may file an appeal directly through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). On appeal, FEMA works with you and your insurance company, to gather facts regarding your claim, review the policy, and provide a claim decision.  Filing an appeal with FEMA requires no fee. However, you must file your appeal within 60 days of the date of your insurer’s denial letter.  If your flood damage was denied by insurance, FEMA encourages you to work out your dispute with your insurer first.  If a private insurance company denied your flood insurance claim, you must appeal directly to your insurance company.  What Doesn’t Flood Insurance Cover? Even if you do not live in a flood-prone area, you may consider purchasing flood insurance for your home. Many homeowners insurance policies do not cover flood damage. The following are typically covered by flood insurance within the NFIP: Essential systems in the home, including electrical, plumbing, furnaces, water heaters, air conditioners, heat pumps, and sump pumps; Cisterns, fuel tanks, solar energy equipment, water tanks, and pumps; Home appliances including refrigerators, ranges, dishwashers, washing machines and dryers, and freezers; Carpeting and window coverings in the home; Permanent bookshelves, cabinets, and paneling; Foundation walls and staircases; A detached garage; Personal property like clothing; and Certain personal valuables. Despite this list, if you opt for coverage through a private insurance company, you should review a potential flood insurance policy carefully for coverage information.  What Is Not Covered by Flood Insurance?  According to the NFIP, the following instances of damages generally fall outside flood insurance coverage:  Moisture or mildew that is avoidable by the homeowner; Currency, precious metals, and paper valuables, like stock certificates; Outdoor property such as decks, fences, patios, landscaping, wells and septic systems, hot tubs, and swimming pools; Living expenses like temporary housing if you are displaced; and Cars, boats, and similar vehicles.  If you have flood insurance through a private insurer, contact them to determine exclusions under your policy.  What to Do If You Were Affected by Hurricane Laura Despite hurricanes occurring every year in Louisiana and Texas, the devastation they continue to cause never ceases. Hurricane Laura barreled through Louisiana and Texas, causing widespread destruction to everything in its path. If you’ve suffered flood damage due to Hurricane Laura, contact the hurricane claim lawyers at The Johns Law Firm. We have decades of experience representing clients. We understand the devastation and heartache you feel. Your case is essential, and our attorneys are here to take action on your behalf. 

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Attorney Portrait Hurricane News Updates

Lake Charles Family Begins Rebuilding Home After Hurricanes Laura and Delta

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Lake Charles, LA (Oct. 15, 2020) – A family is rebuilding their southern Louisiana home after it sustained severe damage from Hurricane Laura and Hurricane Delta. The house was previously rebuilt in 2017 due to flooding brought by Hurricane Harvey. The Walker family home stands near the Black Bayou in Lake Charles. The family had to gut their house and replace the bottom half of every wall after Hurricane Harvey. This year, the house sustained structural damage from Hurricane Laura and endured severe flooding after Hurricane Delta made landfall. The house’s damage from these hurricanes was more critical than in 2017, so the entirety of the walls and the roof will be demolished and replaced this time. As they tear their walls down again, the Walkers said they are finding scripture lines that they wrote on the wooden structural beams in 2017. They said these passages are helping them persevere through this uncertain time. Source: KPLC TV Contact an Experienced Insurance Attorney Today Unfortunately, hurricanes happen far too often in Louisiana. At The Johns Law Firm, we understand the devastating impacts these hurricanes have on local families. If your property is damaged in a hurricane, and your insurance company denies your claim, contact one of our Houston or New Orleans insurance attorneys at 866-762-0302 to set up a free consultation. We have experience in hurricane-related insurance and property claims and can help you receive the compensation you need to rebuild your home.

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Attorney Portrait Hurricane News Updates

FEMA Provides Guidance on Assistance Capabilities After Hurricane Delta

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Alexandria, LA (Oct. 15, 2020) – FEMA continues to provide guidance for individuals seeking assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura and Hurricane Delta. A local news station incorrectly shared that FEMA can reimburse hurricane victims for gas used to power generators or for transportation. The organization clarified that it cannot compensate individuals for these expenses, and survivors should not take receipts to disaster relief centers. However, FEMA said it can help individuals cover the cost of new generators, chainsaws, carbon monoxide detectors, humidifiers, and dehumidifiers that were purchased due to home damage caused by one or both of the hurricanes. Individuals applying for reimbursements for these purchases should note that: They must be eligible for general FEMA assistance; They must provide proof that they purchased the product after Hurricane Laura made landfall; and FEMA can reimburse individuals up to $449 for generators and $179.99 for chainsaws. FEMA said that its housing assistance program aims to ensure that people have safe, sanitary housing. The program is not an insurance policy that covers extensive property damage. If an individual’s home did not sustain damage affecting its essential living spaces, the individual might not be eligible for FEMA’s housing assistance. FEMA can also help supplement childcare costs if a family lost income due to the hurricanes. FEMA will reimburse eligible families for up to eight weeks of childcare, or $1,500, whichever is a lesser amount. Families can apply for financial assistance through the Other Needs Assistance program. The most common reasons that FEMA denies assistance claims are lack of documentation and lack of serious damage. The organization encourages individuals to appeal their denied application if they can provide additional documentation to substantiate their claims. Individuals wishing to begin the appeals process can call 800-621-3362. Source: KALB Contact an Experienced Hurricane Attorney Today Hurricanes are all too common in states like Louisiana. At The Johns Law Firm, our attorneys understand the devastating impact these storms can have on families and communities. If your property sustained damage from Hurricane Laura or Hurricane Delta and you are unable to recover the assistance you need, our knowledgeable attorneys might be able to help. We have experience with hurricane-related property and insurance claims. To set up a free consultation, call 866-762-0302.

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Attorney Portrait Hurricane News Updates

Tips for Hiring Contractors After Hurricane Laura—Legal Advice

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If you suffered damage to your Gulf Coast property after Hurricane Laura, Hurricane Sally, Tropical Storm Beta, or another devastating tropical storm, you face a long—and potentially expensive—road to getting back to normal. Depending on the nature and extent of the damages your home suffered, you could require major repairs before your home is even livable again. The weeks and months after a major Gulf Coast storm bring out a variety of opportunists and dishonest contractors who prey on victims who suffered damage to their property. When hiring a hurricane damage contractor, you must proceed with caution and do your homework. You could also encounter problems if your insurance company pushes you to use their contractors or refuses to process your claim in good faith. Talking to a hurricane damage claim lawyer is one of the best ways to avoid the many pitfalls that await you after you sustain tropical storm or hurricane damage. Before you hire a contractor after a Gulf Coast storm, contact the hurricane insurance attorneys from the Johns Law Firm. Beware of Common Hurricane Contractor Scams Countless unscrupulous companies flock to locations where major storm damage has occurred, preying on unsuspecting victims. One of the most common scams is that the contractor will knock on your door and tell you they’re handling the repairs on your neighbor’s house “down the street.” If you agree to hire them for your home, they might offer you a discount since they’ll be in the neighborhood anyway. They will provide you with what appears to be a very reasonable estimate and request 50% payment upfront for materials. You will never see this contractor—or your deposit—again. There are countless variations of this and related scams that you could fall victim to if you aren’t careful. You can read about other common storm damage contractor scams on the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) website. Contacting an experienced attorney is another way to help ensure you don’t become the victim of any storm damage repair scams. Do Your Homework Before Hiring a Contractor for Hurricane Repair You’ll be safest if you reach out to contractors yourself for estimates, rather than talking to anyone who calls you or comes to your door. This provides you with the opportunity to verify their state contractor license, insurance, and any required surety bonds. This also allows you to check their customer reviews and look for any complaints that may have been filed against them with your state registrar of contractors, the Better Business Bureau, etc. You can ask friends, neighbors, or other trusted individuals for recommendations. However, never let a recommendation substitute for doing our own due diligence on the contractor’s qualifications. Get Hurricane Damage Repair Estimates in Writing Insist that all estimates and contracts be fully executed in writing. Read estimates and contracts carefully before you sign anything. Few legitimate contractors will request any deposit above 10% of the contract value, and even that should raise a red flag to do a little more digging into the contractor’s background. Contacting an attorney to review all cost estimates and contracts provides an incomparable layer of security and peace-of-mind. An experienced hurricane damage claim lawyer knows what to look for and how to spot potentially dangerous contracting arrangements. Contact a Gulf Coast Property Claim Attorney Today In Louisiana, Texas, Florida, and throughout the Gulf Coast region, the Johns Law Firm protects clients from potentially risky situations involving hurricane damage contractors. We have been assisting countless clients in the wake of Hurricane Laura, Hurricane Sally, and other recent extreme weather events. Before hiring any contractor after hurricane damage or for help getting your hurricane damage insurance claim paid, contact us to learn more about how we can protect your legal rights and help you avoid getting scammed. Call us or contact us today for a confidential consultation with an experienced gulf coast property damage lawyer from the Johns Law Firm.

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Attorney Portrait Hurricane News Updates

Getting a Thorough Estimate for My Home Damage After Hurricane Laura—Legal Advice

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If your home sustained significant damage from Hurricane Laura, Hurricane Sally, Tropical Storm Beta, or another significant Gulf Coast weather event, you are likely to face a series of daunting challenges. Getting your home repaired or replaced after it sustains catastrophic damage is a complex process. After a far-reaching natural disaster like a hurricane or tropical storm—where many other residents and communities are facing challenges similar to yours—the process can become even more frustrating and time-consuming. One of the first steps in the process is getting cost estimates for the work. Before you hire a contractor after a Gulf Coast storm, contact the hurricane insurance attorneys from the Johns Law Firm. What Happens If Your House Is Destroyed by a Hurricane? If you had your house damaged or destroyed by a hurricane, the emotional and economic toll can feel truly overwhelming. Determining the next steps can be difficult when your home and your community is surrounded by devastation. Start by having any water damage remediated and take whatever steps are necessary to prevent any further damage. This could involve boarding up broken windows and doors, tarping the roof, or getting temporary roofing installed. Take photos of everything you can, both inside the home and outside, as these will be invaluable for documenting your insurance claim. If you can locate your homeowners insurance policy documents, you can verify what coverages you have. Contacting the insurance company will initiate the claims process, after which the insurer should send out an adjuster to assess the damage. At that point, you can start soliciting estimates from qualified contractors to handle the repairs to your home or, in the case of a total loss, to rebuild the structure. You should request detailed estimates from at least three contractors. If your home requires work from multiple trades, consider using a general contractor to coordinate the project rather than attempting to contract individually with a painter, a drywall contractor, a roofer, etc. Consider also consulting an attorney to assist with this process. This can help ensure that your repairs are completed on time and on budget and that the contractor you select is truly qualified to perform the work. How Long Does It Take to Rebuild a House After a Hurricane? The time necessary to repair or rebuild your home after a hurricane depends in part on the size and design of your home as well as the different types of building materials being used. You should expect the process to take longer than if might under different circumstances, however. After a significant event such as a hurricane, tropical storm, tornado, etc., many other homeowners will need repairs or replacement. This increases the demand for materials, labor, and other resources. This same increase in demand can also raise the cost of your repairs or rebuilding project. Most contractors will provide an estimate of the time necessary to complete the work along with their cost estimate. You can request that a builder be held to a predetermined schedule by including that requirement in your contract. Talk to an experienced attorney to ensure that you are protected should the contractor fail to perform as promised. Will My Homeowners Insurance Cover the Costs to Repair My Home? Hurricane- and tropical-storm-related damages are typically covered by most homeowners insurance policies. Although flood damage may not be covered by your policy (or may be covered under a separate policy), your homeowners insurance should cover all damage caused by wind and wind-driven rain. The amount that your policy will cover depends on the type of policy you have and your coverage limits. If you have insurance that covers the replacement value of your losses, the policy should cover all of the repair or replacement costs. If you have an actual cash value policy, the insurer will likely depreciate anything that can be depreciated. In that case, your insurance might not cover the full cost of your home repairs. When negotiating a claim, insurance companies often attempt to depreciate specific types of building materials. Although some parts of your home may truly be subject to depreciation–such as vinyl siding, paint, and roofing materials—many others should not be. Insurance companies often refuse to pay items that are necessary to rebuild and restore your home. One such item is a contractor’s profit and overhead. Obviously, a contractor cannot perform the work for free, or lose money rebuilding your home. However, many insurers will claim that it does not cover profit and overhead. This is not only untrue, it is a misrepresentation. Insurance companies are obligated to pay profit and overhead since it is a necessary cost to rebuild a home.  You will likely have to pay the stated deductible out of pocket before your coverage kicks in. Most insurers impose a different deductible amount for hurricane-related damage than for other covered losses. For example, your standard deductible might be $1,000 or $2,500, but in the case of a hurricane or tropical storm, that amount typically increases to somewhere between 1% and 5% of the total insured value of the property. Do You Need a Lawyer to Assist You with Your Hurricane Damage Claim? If your property was not significantly damaged, or if you were not displaced as a result, you might be able to successfully negotiate your insurance claim and the contractor’s repair pricing. However, having an experienced property damage attorney to assist you can provide significant benefit. An experienced property insurance claim lawyer understands the intricacies of these processes and how to get the best possible results for you. Your insurance company may be less likely to deny, delay, or devalue your claim if they know you have an attorney onboard. Likewise, contractors may be less likely to try to take advantage of you under the watchful eye of your attorney and legal team. Your attorney can also perform due diligence on any prospective contractors to ensure they have the proper licensure and financial stability. The Johns Law Firm provides comprehensive legal services to clients...

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Hurricane News Updates

Louisianans Eligible to Apply for FEMA Hurricane Laura Relief

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Baton Rouge, LA (9/6/2020) — Residents of sixteen Louisiana parishes affected by Hurricane Laura may be eligible to apply for FEMA disaster relief grants. The parishes include Acadia, Allen, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Cameron, Grant, Jackson, Jefferson Davis, Lincoln, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Rapides, Sabine, Vermilion, Vernon, and Winn. If residents of these parishes experienced disaster-related damage to their primary home, they can apply for grants to put toward property repairs or rent. FEMA will conduct inspections to assess the reported damage. FEMA can also help with other needs brought on by the hurricane, including replacing household necessities, supplementing medical expenses, and even covering funeral costs. Victims of Hurricane Laura should file a claim with their insurance company, if applicable, and apply for FEMA relief.  To apply for FEMA disaster relief, individuals must provide: The address of the property that incurred damage; The filer’s current mailing address and phone number; The filer’s insurance information. This information must be provided if the property is listed on an insurance policy; The total household income; The bank routing number and account number where FEMA should send relief funds; and A complete description of the hurricane-caused damages and losses. Individuals affected by Hurricane Laura should visit www.disasterassistance.gov and download the FEMA mobile application.  Source: ArkLaTexHomepage Contact an Experienced Insurance Attorney Today Unfortunately, hurricanes happen far too often in Texas and Louisiana. At The Johns Law Firm, we understand how devastating these hurricanes are for the local communities. If you sustain injuries or your property incurs damage in a hurricane, and your insurance company denies your claim, please contact one of our Houston or New Orleans insurance attorneys at 866-762-0302 to set up a free consultation. We have experience in hurricane-related insurance and property claims. Our deepest condolences go out to the victims of this hurricane. If you believe the information in this post needs correction or removal, please click the “Remove Post” link. REMOVE POST

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Hurricane News Updates

Extended Grace Period for NFIP, Expired Policyholders Eligible to File Flood Damage Claims

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Lafayette, LA (09/04/2020) — National Flood Insurance Program policyholders in Louisiana might be eligible to file a flood damage claim even if their policy has expired.  The Federal Emergency Management Agency extended the NFIP grace period from 30 days to 120 days in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Louisiana residents whose NFIP policy expired between February 13, 2020, and June 15, 2020, and whose properties sustained flood damage from Hurricane Laura remain eligible to renew their policy and file a flood damage claim. Policyholders should call their insurance agent or the NFIP Call Center at 1-800-427-4661 to renew their policy. Source: Fox 15 Contact an Experienced Insurance Attorney Today Unfortunately, hurricanes happen far too often in Texas and Louisiana. At The Johns Law Firm, we understand how devastating these hurricanes are for the local communities. If you sustain injuries or your property incurs damage in a hurricane, and your insurance company denies your claim, please contact one of our Houston or New Orleans insurance attorneys at 866-762-0302 to set up a free consultation. We have experience in hurricane-related insurance and property claims. Our deepest condolences go out to the victims of this hurricane. If you believe the information in this post needs correction or removal, please click the “Remove Post” link. REMOVE POST

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Hurricane News Updates

Hurricane Laura Continues to Impact Texas and Louisiana

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Lake Charles, LA (8/28/2020) — At least 16 people have died in Texas and Louisiana due to Hurricane Laura.  With power outages across most of the Louisiana and Texas gulf coastline, locals have turned to power generators for electricity. These generators release carbon monoxide that, when trapped inside the walls of a house, builds up and poisons the people inside. At least 11 people have died from carbon monoxide poisoning.  The other deaths are attributed to trees falling into houses and drowning. Officials estimate that areas along the gulf shore could remain without water and power for weeks, as streets are inaccessible due to fallen trees and debris.  Hospitals in Lake Charles are transferring patients to other hospitals due to downed phone lines and limited access to power. Also, with a lack of running water in the area, Lake Charles residents are worried about the coronavirus pandemic and their inability to wash their hands frequently. Hurricane Laura continues on its path into the Midwestern United States, threatening Tennessee with strong rain and winds. Source: WDSU 6, The New York Times Contact an Experienced Insurance Attorney Today Unfortunately, hurricanes happen far too often in Texas and Louisiana. At The Johns Law Firm, we understand how devastating these hurricanes are for the local communities. If you sustain injuries or your property incurs damage in a hurricane, and your insurance company denies your claim, please contact one of our Houston or New Orleans insurance attorneys at 866-762-0302 to set up a free consultation. We have experience in hurricane-related insurance and property claims. Our deepest condolences go out to the victims of this hurricane. If you believe the information in this post needs correction or removal, please click the “Remove Post” link. REMOVE POST

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Houston Accident News

Texas and Louisiana Will Continue To Feel Impacts From Hurricane Laura Into The Weekend

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Houston, TX (8/28/2020) — Hurricane Laura continues to rain down on southeast Texas and southern Louisiana as the storm pushes further into Midwestern states on Friday. Laura, a category four hurricane and a slow-moving storm, made landfall on Thursday morning. Meteorologists anticipate that scattered showers and thunderstorms will linger near the Texas-Louisiana state line; winds will remain strong, with gusts up to 50 miles per hour through the evening. Weather conditions are expected to improve as the storm continues on its path toward the Atlantic seaboard over the weekend, but locals should remain on alert for flash flooding. Laura is the largest hurricane to hit the southeast in more than a century. Source: ABC 13 Contact an Experienced Hurricane Attorney Today Unfortunately, hurricanes happen far too often in Texas and Louisiana. At The Johns Law Firm, we understand how devastating these hurricanes are for the local communities. If you sustain injuries or your property incurs damage in a hurricane and your insurance company denies your claim, please contact one of our Houston or New Orleans hurricane attorneys at 866-762-0302 to set up a free consultation. We have experience in insurance and property claims and maritime injury cases. Our deepest condolences go out to the victims of this hurricane. If you believe the information in this post needs correction or removal, please click the “Remove Post” link. REMOVE POST

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