After a catastrophe such as Hurricane Laura, it is common that policyholders may not have a full copy of their insurance policy. Often the only policy document they may have in their possession is the Declaration Page showing a summary of the insurance benefits available to them. Though helpful, a full policy is necessary to inform the policyholders of their rights and duties under the insurance policy.
In a standard from policy, under the Conditions Section you will find the “Duties After Loss” provision. The following is a typical Duties after Loss provision:1
SECTION I – CONDITIONS
B. Duties After Loss
In case of a loss to covered property, we have no duty to provide coverage under this policy if the failure to comply with the following duties is prejudicial to us. These duties must be performed either by you, an ‘insured” seeking coverage, or a representative of either:
1. Give prompt notice to us or our agent;
2. Notify the police in case of loss by theft;
3. Notify the credit card or electronic fund transfer card or access device company in case of loss as provided for in E.6. Credit Card, Electronic Fund Transfer Card Or Access Device, Forgery And Counterfeit Money under Section I – Property Coverages;
4. Protect the property from further damage. If repairs to the property are required, you must:
a. Make reasonable and necessary repairs to protect the property; and
b. Keep an accurate record of repair expenses;
5. Cooperate with us in the investigation of a claim;
6. Prepare an inventory of damaged personal property showing the quantity, description, actual cash value and amount of loss. Attach all bills, receipts and related documents that justify the figures in the inventory;
7. As often as we reasonably require:
a. Show the damaged property;
b. Provide us with records and documents we request and permit us to make copies; and
c. Submit to examination under oath, while not in the presence of another “insured”, and sign the same;
8. Send to us, within 60 days after our request, your signed, sworn proof of loss which sets forth, to the best of your knowledge and belief:
a. The time and cause of loss;
b. The interests of all “insureds” and all others in the property involved and all liens on the property;
c. Other insurance which may cover the loss;
d. Changes in title or occupancy of the property during the term of the policy;
e. Specifications of damaged buildings and detailed repair estimates;
f. The inventory of damaged personal property described in 6. above;
g. Receipts for additional living expenses incurred and records that support the fair rental value loss; and
h. Evidence or affidavit that supports a claim under E.6. Credit Card, Electronic Fund Transfer Card Or Access Device, Forgery And Counterfeit Money under Section I – Property Coverages, stating the amount and cause of loss.
Louisiana policyholders have the right to request a full copy of their insurance policy, including all forms and endorsements:
(16) Policyholders shall have the right to a readable policy, to receive a complete property insurance policy, and to request a duplicate or replacement policy as needed.2
Policyholders recovering from Hurricane Laura should immediately request a copy of their full insurance policy from their agent or insurance carrier. The policy provides important information needed to ensure compliance with the duties after a loss and will also provide guidance in the manner in which to present the various aspects of their insurance claims to their carriers. Insurance policies are some of the most difficult contracts to understand and these trying times will not make it any easier. We will be happy to assist you in understanding your coverages, rights and duties under your policy. God Bless you in your recovery.
1 Bankers Specialty Insurance Company, BSIC17.506 0215, Homeowners 3 – Special Form.
2 La. Rev. Stat. §22:41(16). Policyholder Bill of Rights.