BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD)- As clean-up efforts are well under way from the extensive damage to cars, homes, buildings and roads caused by Hurricane Ida, AAA reminds home and vehicle owners to avoid clean up and repair scams by working with their insurance company directly.
In addition, consumers should understand their insurance policies to know what type of damage is covered. AAA members have a toll-free number to use for assistance during and after this extreme wind and rain event.
Submitting Home and Auto Claims
Those who have vehicles in Louisiana and homes or vehicles in Mississippi damaged by the Hurricane Ida, and who are insured through AAA, can call 1-866-222-2378 (1-866-AAA-BEST) for claims assistance.
“During major events such as this storm, we want our insured members to know they can contact us immediately if they need our assistance, and we will be there to assist them with getting their lives back to normal as soon as possible,” said Jim Strike, AAA Missouri Director of Claims.
AAA Missouri covers AAA auto insurance policy holders in Louisiana and AAA auto and homeowner policy holders in Mississippi.
Avoiding Repair/Clean Up Scams
As residents become anxious to begin the rebuilding process, some companies and bad actors may try to take advantage of people who need repairs. Consumers should be cautious of any representatives that go door-to-door. If consumers choose to work with an independent business, please remember the following:
- Call your insurance adjuster to get an estimate of the damage before making repairs. AAA Claims will be available to help you by calling 1-866-222-2378 (1-866-AAA-BEST).
- Check with the Better Business Bureau for any complaints about the company.
- Get the company representative’s license plate number.
- Never pay in-full for repairs up front.
- Get an agreement in writing.
Auto insurance policies with comprehensive coverage generally cover damages caused by flood waters. Every policy is different so it’s important for vehicle owners to check their policy information or talk with their insurance agent.
AAA Tips for Home and Auto Insurance Policyholders:
- Photograph your home, paying special attention to the kitchen, bathrooms, windows, doors and personal property of high, unusual or sentimental value. In the event of a catastrophic loss, photographs will help determine the value of damaged fixtures, appliances, floors, and other parts of the structure covered by your policy.
- Homeowners are encouraged to hold onto repair receipts and store them in a safe place.
- Make sure you are fully aware of what protection your insurance policy provides. For homeowner policies, find out if they offer building code upgrade and extended replacement cost coverage. Homeowners may not have adequate protection against catastrophic damage if their policy’s limits translate into higher out-of-pocket costs.
- Report losses to your insurance company as soon as possible so they can assist you with emergency or temporary repairs. Immediate reporting of losses allows the claims adjuster to investigate the damage before repairs are completed or items are replaced. Claims filed after repairs are made or items are replaced can result in delays for receiving reimbursement from your insurance company.
- Claims adjusters are working as quickly as possible to respond to members who have damage to their properties, but keep in mind, hazardous road conditions may cause some delays.
AAA Recommendations to Address a Flooded Personal Vehicle After a Flood Event
- Never attempt to drive on a road that’s covered with water. Turn around and find another route.
- Always think of personal safety first. Leaving a vehicle to get to safer, higher ground to prevent injury or loss of life should always be the first priority.
- Don’t try to start the car when your vehicle takes on water or if you are retrieving your vehicle after a flood event. Flood waters are corrosive and contain debris that could enhance any damage the car has already received as a result of taking on water. In some cases, vehicles may be salvageable by drying out, but starting a car in flood waters can send water into systems that may not be affected by standing water.
- Contact your insurance provider to report a claim and get advice on your coverage, repair and rental needs.
- When waters recede get your car towed by a trusted provider to a trusted mechanic or dealership to have your vehicle evaluated for damage and possible repair. Make arrangements to retrieve your car as soon as possible to limit damage both to the interior and exterior. As weather warms up, and if the car is determined to be salvageable, the interior may be subject to mold and mildew if it sits too long.
- When safe to do so, take photos of your vehicle for documentation and to aid in the recovery and claims process with your insurance provider.
- Flooding events create demand for rental cars. Be sure to work with your insurance provider to report your claim and reserve your rental as soon as possible.
Those who have homes and vehicles damaged by wet weather in Louisiana and Mississippi, and who are insured through AAA, can call 1-866-222-2378 (1-866-AAA-BEST) for claims assistance.