7 Helpful Tips To Follow Before You File a Water Damage Claim
- On January 16, 2017
In the U.S, water damage is the second most frequently filed insurance claim and has accounted for more than $5 billion of reported* claims each year from 2011 to 2015.
This type of damage can begin with a slow drip from the ceiling above you in your home or office, suddenly, you notice that paint and insulation is starting to fall to the ground. It is in this moment that the panic sets in. You begin to wonder what steps need to be taken to get this situation under control. Many times, the moment of clarity comes when you reach for your phone to make the call to your insurance company to find out what you need to do to file a claim.
When water damages your home, one thing is certain: your insurance company and the process of filing a claim will suddenly become a big part of your life. We have provided some tips to make your experience as trouble-free as possible.
1) You Have The Right To Choose
When seeking a restoration company to clean up the water and dry out the structures of your home, an Insurance company may offer suggested companies to use, but ultimately the choice is up to you. We recommend researching a reputable company like EHS Restoration who holds a 5 star/ A+ rating from the BBB Click here to check it out.
2) Water damage And Flooding
This is one of those “better safe than very, very sorry” tips. Most insurance companies won’t play games and pretend that when a pipe burst in your basement it was the same as the Mississippi overflowing its banks and submerging your whole region. However, no standard homeowner insurance policy covers floods, so protect yourself by making sure you:
- DON’T describe any water flow or damage as a flood, flooding or the consequence of a flood. *Even if your insurer bows to common sense eventually, a challenge might take months, leaving you to take care of bills you should have already been reimbursed for.
3) Know The Exceptions
Coverage of water damage varies widely from policy to policy, so be certain you know exactly what’s covered. If you don’t like what you find, get in touch with your agent immediately and see if it can be changed with a rider or by moving to a different type of policy.
Also, remember that natural flooding is usually not covered under your homeowner policy, so flood insurance must be purchased separately. When you consider the cost of potentially extensive repairs to your home or even replacing it completely, the few hundred dollars per year you’ll pay for most flood insurance policies is a minor cost.
4) Take Protective Actions
Insurance claims are sometimes denied because the homeowner did not engage in “mitigation of loss.” In other words, your insurer will expect you to take any action you can to minimize the damage to your home.
Do whatever you can safely do to prevent more water from entering the affected area and/or reduce ongoing damage. For example, if you need to board up a section of damaged roof or have an area pumped out, do so and keep track of the cost so your insurer can reimburse you.
With a little preparation and care, you can deal with your insurer with very little stress and much success.
5) Be Careful That You Clean Up
This tip is related to the one above. If there’s clear evidence that your damage was caused by an accident, storm damage, etc., leave it in place if possible. You’ll have to balance this with the need to “mitigate loss” by preventing further damage, but don’t create a situation where what caused the damage is your word against the adjuster’s.
6) Take Lots of Photos
In the age of iPhones & other smart-phone devices, this one is easier than ever. Document the damage carefully, as well as your efforts to reduce the loss. You can expect the insurance adjuster to take plenty of pictures as well; the combination will tell the whole story.
7) Prepare Yourself In Advance
Take photos and inventory of each part of your home in its normal state. Doing so will add a great value when you are faced with damage to your home or to the items in your home when you are faced with unexpected damage, thus strengthening your case if there’s a dispute over how much something was damaged or what shape it was in before the incident.
EHS Restoration is Arizona’s Trusted Disaster Damager Restoration Specialist. We offer a 60 minute or less response time to get to your home or office back to its pre-loss condition when emergency strikes. We are available 24 hours a day 7 days a week and ready to take action the moment you call.