Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Urges Payment of Evacuation Expenses

hurricane evacuation route signGetting back on your feet after a storm can be exhausting, especially when trying to deal with your insurance company. In early September, Louisiana Insurance Commissioner, Jim Donelon, urged insurance companies to pay evacuation expenses of policyholders affected by Hurricane Ida.

A majority of homeowners policies include coverage for additional living expenses (ALE). This coverage is intended to cover costs when individuals cannot access their homes due to an evacuation order, physical barriers, or hazardous road conditions blocking entry. It generally extends up to two weeks following a disaster if you were ordered to evacuate, but it will extend for a longer period if the home is deemed uninhabitable.

Typically, prohibited use claims require proof of a civil order demanding that you leave your home impending a storm. This means that anyone who evacuated despite not being required to would be denied coverage for a prohibited use claim.

Prior to Hurricane Ida’s landfall, only the following parishes had issued mandatory evacuations: Assumption, Lafourche, St. Charles, and Terrebonne Parish. However, Ida quickly began to strengthen, and many local officials ran out of time to issue a mandatory evacuation in their parishes.

Now, all Louisiana Insurers are required to pay a prohibited use coverage following Hurricane Ida. This mandate from the Department of Insurance came after State Farm Insurance Company stated that they would not be compensating individuals for any additional expenses unless they were ordered to evacuate by local authorities.

Donelon stated, “[l]ocal officials may or may not have used mandatory evacuation orders for their constituents to evacuate for fear of putting them at greater risk, but we all know the need was clear for people to get out of the way of Hurricane Ida. I urge insurers to not use lack of a mandatory evacuation order to deny policyholders coverage for their evacuation expenses.”

In a panic to seek safety from hurricane Ida, evacuees spent hundreds or even thousands of dollars on lodging and meals. To ensure that you are properly compensated, it is crucial to keep track of your disaster related expenses. This includes receipts for hotels, food, and any other necessary living expenses after a disaster. It will be easier for the insurance company to deny your claim if there is no proof of expenses.

If you did not carry insurance, all uninsured evacuees are encouraged to apply for assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

In the event that the insurance companies try to avoid reimbursing you and you need legal assistance, contact an attorney as soon as possible to protect your rights as a policyholder. If you or someone you know has been impacted by Hurricane Ida, call us today for a free consultation! PHONE CARDONE at 504-522-3333, 833-597-1818 (toll-free), 225-706-3920 (Baton Rouge office), or email us at c@phonecardone.com.

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