Your comfortable home might feature an extensive, timeworn plumbing system. Or, perhaps, your business is conveniently located on the first floor, under a bevy of offices.
Water can wreak havoc on your property when the unexpected strikes: old, broken pipes spell disaster in your home or leaky ceilings cause your business to shut down temporarily.
So what do responsible home and business owners do when water damage takes its disastrous toll? You file a water damage insurance claim. When it comes to dealing with insurance companies, it’s easier said than done. We’ve brought together these important tips to help ease the financial and emotional drain of filing a water damage insurance claim.
Use appropriate language
Of course you’re bound to curse when your living room is flooded with ankle-deep water! But when communicating the water damage to your insurance company, be careful to avoid using terms like “flooding” or “flood” in your language. Most homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover ground flood damage (supplemental insurance is available if your property resides in a flood-risk area) or water damage caused by negligence on the owner’s part. Water damaged properties are eligible for coverage when damage, such as a burst pipe, occurs. First, examine your policy for coverage details. Then, choose your terms wisely.
Immediately upon discovering the water damage, report it to your insurance company. The faster you move, the greater the prospect that the damages will be eligible for coverage. If you wait, your insurance coverage may not pay for the restoration process. Procrastinating the phone call only increases the likelihood of further water damage, which is equivalent to costlier repairs for your insurance company. Unsurprisingly, insurance companies don’t like overblown repair expenses.
Your insurance policy also has important time limitations on filing claims. So become fully aware of the terms of your policy, ideally well before disaster strikes.
Keep damaged areas intact
The water damaged area should remain as untouched as possible. Like a crime scene waiting for the police to arrive, wait for the insurance adjuster to scope out the extent of the water damage. This also means postponing making any permanent repairs right away. The logic behind these delays ensures that your insurance company will cover the damages specifically caused by the faulty source—and not those exaggerated by additional, outside influences.
Take copious notes
Take note of all water damage as evidence. Include the location and when the damages occurred, as well as any additional materials damaged by the water.
Ample photographs and/or videos corroborate damages stated in your claim. Save all documents related to the water damage, including appraisals and receipts. Note the professionals you speak with regarding the water damage, as well as dates and times. Being extremely diligent about record keeping will help avoid denied claims.
Don’t throw away anything! Your insurance company will want to know if faulty pipes caused your water-drenched carpet. If your new water heater is the culprit, close off the area until an insurance adjuster performs a complete inspection. Keep even malfunctioning equipment as evidence of the cause of the water damage.
Start the claim process
File the actual claim via written communications to your insurance company. Within 15 days from the claim’s date of issue, an insurance adjuster will be sent to inspect the damage. Answer any questions the adjuster may have and discuss your restoration options.
Subsequent to the adjuster’s visit, your claim will be either accepted or denied. Should the damage be eligible for coverage based on your policy, a check will be dispatched within five business days to cover the estimated costs of the restoration process to your water-logged property.
If your claim is denied, you can contact a public adjuster to investigate the damages and reach an agreeable solution.
Call the pros
Your greatest source of ease in this hurricane of insurance claim processes is the water restoration professional.
When your flooring is steeped in water, when your originally stalwart roof develops the most miniscule leak, leading to the biggest headache—call an experienced water damage restoration expert.
Expect accurate assessments of the water damage to your property and restoration options. A water damage restoration company, like Service Master Restoration by Complete, will work with your insurance company directly to ensure the speediest settlement of your claim.
The professionals at Service Master Restoration by Complete will communicate with you within 24 hours, understanding the urgency that water damage poses. Our specialists will then develop a plan to extract all excess water from your home. All damaged materials will be reinstalled and cleaned so you can return to your property with full faith in the restoration process.
One concluding drop of good news is that you can start the repair process once you and your insurance company arrive at a mutual agreement on the extent of the water damage and necessary repairs.
The best protection against water damage and its associated hassles relies on prevention. Do-it-yourself upkeep might cost you a little now, but will save you thousands of dollars in the long run. Periodically check your roof for leaks. Inspect pipes for rust. Take care of that leaky toilet.
Your regular maintenance checkups will ensure you are fully prepared for unforeseen water damage and simultaneously keep any unexpected repair expenses down when you file an insurance claim for water damage.