When you think of Louisiana natural disasters, hurricanes may come to mind first, especially Hurricane Katrina in 2005. But the state also has regular visits from tornadoes and sinkholes. There was even a 4.6 magnitude earthquake recorded near Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico in May 2018.
Louisiana homeowners need to know what home insurance will cover and when they should buy extra coverage.
What does homeowners insurance in Louisiana cover?
A typical Louisiana homeowners insurance policy provides these coverage types:
- Dwelling coverage for damage to the structure of the house.
- Personal property coverage for items you own, such as furniture, clothes, TVs, curtains and rugs.
- Other structures coverage for buildings not attached to the house, including garages, storage sheds and fences.
- Loss of use coverage for situations where you can’t live at home because of damage covered by the policy. These additional living expenses can include hotel bills, food, laundry and other costs.
- Personal liability coverage for property damage and injuries to others that you’re legally responsible for. It also pays for your defense costs if you’re sued.
- Medical payments coverage in case people are injured on your property. It can also pay for injuries you accidentally cause to others that happen away from home.
How do I get Louisiana hurricane insurance?
Damage from hurricanes comes in two forms: Wind and water. You’ll need two types of policies to cover both in Louisiana.
Louisiana home insurance will cover wind and hail damage for homeowners who don’t live on the coast. Expect to have a “named storm” or hurricane deductible. In Louisiana this is usually 2% to 5% of your dwelling coverage. So if your house is insured for $200,000 and you have a 5% hurricane deductible, expect to pay for the first $10,000 in hurricane-wind damage before insurance kicks in.
Homeowners who live on the Louisiana coast may find that home insurers won’t offer wind and hail coverage as part of a policy. In these cases you may be able to buy an endorsement for wind and hail at extra cost. If you can’t find a private insurer to sell you wind and hail coverage, you can turn to the Louisiana Citizens Fair Plan or Louisiana Citizens Coastal plan.
Flood insurance is necessary to cover hurricane storm surges and floods from heavy rains. It’s available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and any licensed Louisiana home insurance agent can help you get an NFIP policy.
Flood insurance from the NFIP takes effect 30 days after you buy it, so don’t wait until a hurricane is headed your way.
Does Louisiana home insurance cover sinkholes?
Homeowners insurance generally excludes “earth movement,” including sinkholes.
A mammoth sinkhole called the Bayou Corne sinkhole developed in 2012 in Louisiana’s Assumption Parish. It became well-known after videos showed the sinkhole expanding and swallowing trees. Residents, who had been ordered to evacuate, complained that the company Texas Brine was operating a salt mine that caused the sinkhole. Ultimately they won a $48.1 settlement against the company for their damages.
Ask your insurance agent about sinkhole coverage if it’s a concern to you.
20 largest Louisiana homeowners insurance companies
|Rank in Louisiana||Company||Market share % in the state|
|1||State Farm Fire & Casualty Co.||25.44|
|2||Allstate Insurance Co.||5.08|
|3||Louisiana Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co.||4.88|
|4||ASI Lloyds (Progressive)||3.85|
|5||Allstate Indemnity Co.||3.59|
|6||United P&C Insurance Co.||2.78|
|7||United Services Automobile Assn. (USAA)||2.58|
|8||Liberty Personal Insurance Co.||2.54|
|9||Safeco Insurance Co. of Oregon||2.42|
|10||FedNat Insurance Co.||1.96|
|11||Lighthouse Property Insurance Corp.||1.76|
|12||GeoVera Specialty Insurance Co||1.75|
|13||Maison Insurance Co.||1.71|
|14||Shelter Mutual Insurance Co.||1.7|
|15||Allstate Vehicle & Property Insurance Co.||1.64|
|16||USAA Casualty Insurance Co.||1.64|
|17||Foremost Insurance Co. Grand Rapids||1.61|
|18||Centauri National Insurance Co.||1.57|
|19||Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co.||1.56|
|20||American Bankers Insurance Co. of Florida||1.45|
|Source: S&P Global Market Intelligence, based on homeowners multiple peril insurance market share in 2018.
Only active and retired military members are eligible for USAA insurance.