For people on the Gulf Coast, August 29, 2005 marked a major turning point as Hurricane Katrina made landfall. Although 15 years have passed since the record-breaking storm ravaged communities, the timeline feels much shorter.
That’s especially true for those who struggled against insurance companies that refused to step up and do the right thing for policyholders. Many suffered losses so tremendous that they still impact them a decade and a half later.
What you can do to prepare
There are lessons every insurance policyholder can glean from the storm’s fallout, which left thousands of people with nothing more than slabs where their homes once stood.
Here are some tips for avoiding the insurance pitfalls like those experienced after Katrina:
- Vet your insurance provider: Find an insurance agency that has a solid catastrophe plan in place, with experienced adjusters who are trained in disaster scenarios.
- Educate yourself: Learn how to file a claim, understand your deductible, and learn the laws in your state to avoid stress and frustration during a crisis when you actually need to use your insurance.
- Prepare your home or business: Certain updates to your home or building can be paid off over time, especially since deductibles are high. Installing a roof that bears less burden in high winds can help your claim in the event that your home experiences severe damage in a storm.
- Document everything: Although this can be difficult or impossible during a catastrophe like hurricane Katrina, try to document the before, during and after stages of damages. As long as you are not risking your safety to do so, it can help when you file your claim. If only before and after photos are possible, use those.
Don’t let insurance companies take advantage of you. Katrina victims filed millions of dollars worth of lawsuits against them after the storm. While many found justice, many more had a long, difficult road to recovery.