Did you know that non-weather related water damage is the second most common home insurance claim at 19%? The majority of these claims are for things like pipes bursting or failure in plumbing or appliances.
If you come home and discover your home filling with water, you can expect to have water damage. To get your home back to normal, you’ll want to file a claim with your insurance company and get everything cleaned up as quickly as possible.
Not so fast. Keep reading to learn when you should and shouldn’t have your home cleaned and repaired after you experience water damage.
Review Your Insurance Policy
While you want to clean up your home and salvage as many belongings as possible, you need to take a pause. The first thing you should do is review your insurance policy. This way, you can know the exact procedure that your insurance company requires.
If you don’t follow the outlined procedure in your policy, then you risk the insurance company denying your claim. Then you’re out any coverage or compensation for your damages and expenses.
Your policy will tell you everything you need to know, including damage coverage, deductibles, limitations, and exclusions. It’ll then fully outline the claim procedure and required deadlines for filing your claim.
Notify Your Insurance Company
The first thing you should do after you discover the damage is to notify your insurance company. You’ll need to know your policy number and all other relevant information.
One thing to note here, do not say the word “flood” when describing the water issue you’re having. Water damage insurance and flood insurance are two different things. Many standard home insurance policies don’t cover flood insurance.
Keep a detailed record of every communication you have with the insurance company. Record the date, time, who you spoke with, and a brief description of the conversation.
Document the Damage
Before you clean anything, document everything. Take pictures and videos of all of the damage to your home and belongings. The more quality evidence you have, the better it will be.
As you begin to clean, preserve your damaged items to show to the insurance company representative later. Make a detailed inventory of everything you remove that’s damaged. Include the make, model, age, and condition of the item.
If your water damage is from equipment failure, you’ll need to keep these parts. This could be a busted pipe, fitting, coupling, or some other failed part.
At this point, your goal should only be to make the scene safe. No permanent repairs or alterations should be made until the adjuster has a chance to assess the damage in its original state.
One important point to keep in mind is that you need to mitigate the loss. This means that you need to do everything possible to prevent additional damage from happening.
This means that you could do an emergency repair to a pipe if its actively gushing water into your home. You can salvage your belongings to prevent more damage from sitting in the water.
The insurance company won’t punish you for these types of actions. After all, they won’t cover damages that are beyond the initial loss.
Typical actions encouraged by insurance companies include:
- Draining water
- Drying out water-saturated items
- Boarding up broken windows and doors
- Tarping the roof
File Your Claim
Once you have all of the necessary information about the damage and required repairs, file a claim with your insurance company. They’ll then review your claim and send an adjuster to inspect the damage in person.
Once the insurance company approves your claim, you’ll be sent a check for the estimated cost of repairs minus depreciation and your deductible amount.
If you have a replacement cost policy, then you’ll receive a second check once the insurance company receives your final bill for the completed restoration of your home.
If you have an actual cash value policy, then you’ll only receive compensation for the cost of rebuilding, minus your deductible.
Sometimes claims are rejected, or you aren’t satisfied with the settlement offer the insurance company makes. If this happens, demand a written explanation of why. You may be able to come to an agreement with them.
Once the adjuster inspects your damage, you can begin the cleanup process. You don’t have to work with the vendors that your insurance company works with. You are free to shop around to find the most trustworthy and reliable service.
Working with a reputable and licensed cleanup service will ensure you minimize the damage by working quickly and safely. They will then provide you with accurate estimates and billing for your services.
Don’t Wait for the Insurance Company
You don’t have to wait for your insurance company to send you a check to start the cleanup process. Granted, you’ll pay out of pocket up front. But these expenses will be reimbursed by the insurance company once your claim gets approved.
Acting quickly will prevent additional damage from occurring. This will limit the cleanup costs and get you back in your home quicker.
Another major advantage of working with a reputable cleaning service right away is that they can do a lot of the work for you. When it comes to dealing with insurance companies, they have more experience than you.
They can gather the necessary documentation that insurance companies look for. They can also deal with your adjuster, negotiate the estimated cost of repair, and ensure you get a fair amount of compensation for your damages.
This takes the stress off you and reduces the risk that your claim gets rejected over something completely preventable.
Take Care of Your Water Damage
No one wants to think about dealing with water damage, but when it happens, it’s impossible to ignore. By knowing what to do before it happens, you can act quickly without risking a possible claim rejection.
Remember, the first thing to do is to document all damage and take steps to prevent further damage. Then work with a reputable cleaning service while you file a claim with your insurance company.
Contact us today and let us help you clean up your home’s water damage.