Hurricane Isaac, which was downgraded to a tropical storm on Thursday, left widespread areas of the Gulf Coast region flooded thanks to heavy downpours. Many residents in Louisiana and Mississippi were left without power according to the US Dept. of Energy.
Almost seven years after Katrina, residents of New Orleans were relieved that the multibillion dollar levees that were rebuilt to protect the city stood firm.
However, several low-lying areas outside of New Orleans did not fare as well. Many of the homes were under water forcing the evacuation of residents, some having to be plucked from their rooftop. Many had chosen to ride out what had seemed to them to be a small storm compared to Katrina. The bodies of a man and a woman were found dead in a flooded home in Braithwaite, Louisiana which brings the death toll to at least four.
Tropical Storm Isaac continues its slow path through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas and is expected to continue towards Missouri. It has been estimated to have left more than 800,000 without power and many are still without clean water.
Obama Declared Federal Emergencies
President Obama declared federal emergencies in the hardest hit areas of Louisiana and Mississippi. The US Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has released federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts.
According to the catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide, Tropical Storm Isaac might cost the insurance industry as much as $2 billion in losses without adding in the cost of flooding damage.
Start Your Insurance Claim Right Away
The National Flood Insurance Program recommends that if you have insurance, to start your insurance claims process as soon as possible. They list three important steps to take if you have flooding from Isaac:
Call your agent or insurance company right away to file a claim and an adjustor should contact you within a few days. Be sure to have the name of your insurance company, your policy number and provide contact information where you can be reached, especially if you are not able to stay in your home.
Separate your undamaged and damaged belongings. Be sure to take photos of anything that is damaged before throwing it away. Also, take photos of any structural damage and standing floodwater levels. Make a list of damaged or lost items. If possible, include a date of purchase and receipts or a value for each item.
Your adjustor will provide a Proof of Loss form with is your official claim for damages. This form must be filed with your insurance company within 60 days of the flood.
Remember, once you are able to inspect your property, your insurance company should be notified of any damage. Take photos of all damage and note all watermarks. Do not throw anything away before you have had a chance to document it. This includes any food, clothing, or other household items.
Take steps to minimize any further damage to your home and property. Cover roof damage with tarps, cover broken windows and avoid any further damage. Keep records of when your electricity, gas and water service was off and when it resumes.
The laws may differ in each state, but insurance companies do have to respond to their claims in a timely fashion or face penalties. If you are unable to reach an agreement with your insurance provider, it will be best if you have this proof of damage to back up your claim.
Hurricane Isaac Insurance Claims
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