Insurance Commissioner, agents provide insurance advice for flood victims

Insurance Commissioner, agents provide insurance advice for flood victims

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Insurance concerns are always a part of the aftermath of flooding and local insurance agents and Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon offer advice to those affected by the weekend flooding resulting from rapid heavy rains.

"It's about knee-deep in here, about there, throughout the whole house," said Brian Banks, as he point to the water line in his apartment on St. Philip Street.

He said it happened suddenly.

"I was just in there chilling, just cooling out, sewing, sewing my Indian stuff and I just saw water come in," Banks said.

He is a member of the Black Flame Hunters Mardi Gras Indians and managed to salvage the suit he was making for the 2018 Carnival season.

"When I saw it reach the bottom of the electrical outlet I cut the power off and just evacuated," said Banks.

The flooding that filled streets and inched into some dwellings also damaged many vehicles.

At LeMoine Robinson's State Farm Agency there was a flood of calls Monday.

"Absolutely, it's been extremely busy from the recent events over the weekend.  We've been able to help, we've been taking phone calls," Robinson said.

"There is no risk of your premium being increased because of the filing of a claim under your comprehensive coverage that covers flood damage to vehicles. That's an act of God, it's not an at-fault accident, so there is no risk of your premium being increased," said Donelon.

One of the first things flood victims should do is contact their insurance agent.

"You definitely need to reach out to your agent and let them know a loss has occurred," said Robinson. "Secondly, you want to try to mitigate as much of the loss as possible. If you can let down your windows, get some of the water out of your vehicle. Try not to move it because in some cases we physically, you and I can see the water damage that it does to the seat and things like that in the interior, but oftentimes we can't see what it does to the transmission or the motor."

He suggests waiting to have an adjuster look at damaged vehicles.

And there are things that should be done in terms of home or business damage.

"On the home, taking photographs, minimizing your damage by tearing out wet carpet and drywall. Not necessarily yourself, if you have to access assistance through a contractor to do that just keep your receipts," said Commissioner Donelon.

"You want to try to document as much of it as possible," said Robinson.

FEMA told FOX 8 News that as of Monday there were 81,945 National Flood Insurance Program policies in effect in Orleans Parish. That is less than half of the housing units.  According to the latest Census Bureau data there are 193,104 housing units in New Orleans.

Banks did not have flood insurance over the weekend, but promised to rectify that immediately.

"I will be meeting someone today for flood insurance, yes. Yes, I'll make sure," he said.

And there is another special type of coverage a lot of people may not be aware of and could be critical depending on how the water arrives in their homes.

"An extra endorsement on that homeowner's policy is backup of sewage and drainage.  If you have water that's backing up into your sinks because the sub-pump or something like that, or drainage that's a coverage that could be a part of your homeowner's policy that could help with the losses," said Robinson.

"It's not typically covered by your homeowner's policy."

"Sewage backup, comes up through the toilet.  It could come up through your bathtub," added Donelon.

Commissioner Donelon said persons have difficulty dealing with their insurer should call his office.  The number is 1-800-259-5300.

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