I am often asked by property owners if they should file a claim for all storm related damage. Many fear that if they file a claim, even for a small amount of damage, their insurer will use the claim as a reason to raise their rates. So, will filing a claim for property damage increase you premium? For property damage caused by wind and rain, the short answer is ‘no.’
Unlike auto insurance where the risk accepted by the insurance company is in large part dependent on you and your driving, property insurers accept risk based on your geographic location. Based on its research, the property insurance company expects a certain amount of storm damage in a given area per year. If you are unlucky enough to own property damaged by a storm, making a claim does not change your ‘risk profile.’
In Louisiana, property insurers are prohibited from canceling your insurance on the basis of an ‘Act of God.’ An ‘Act of God’ is defined as an incident due directly to natural causes and exclusively without human intervention. In Louisiana, a property insurer can not make changes to your policy on the basis of an ‘Act of God’ unless they do so on an area-wide basis at the renewal of your policy.
It is possible that your premium may go up upon renewal after you have made a claim, but it is not necessarily related to your particular claim. Property insurers raise rates for all policyholders in a given area. You have paid your premium, so you should file your claim. If you are a victim of recent storm damage in Louisiana, document your loss – take lots of photographs and make notes of your conversations with insurance adjusters.
Remember that if you been the victim of storm damage, time limits are running against you. If you have questions about the claims process, call us for a free consultation.