Water damage insurance claim is not an easy thing to navigate, especially for new homeowners. If you have not been through the process for the first time, this guide is for you. before reading further, be informed that the following tips were researched by experienced experts in the field and other homeowners just like you.
In the world of insurance claims, this type of insurance happens to be the second most frequent, coming only behind wind and hail damage.
If a burst pipe or torrential rain flooded your home, you’re probably standing ankle-deep in it. In many cases, the first thing that comes to the mind of homeowners is getting the water out. They want to find a way to clear the mess and save as many items as they can. They barely ever stop to think about insurance claim procedures.
You need to realize that interfering with the flood or mess can cause more harm. Getting rid of damaged items or making any form of repairs can lead to denied coverage.
That’s because you did so before your insurance company got the chance to inspect your property and estimate how much damage was done. You might end up without compensation and you will have to foot the bills of the repairs yourself.
In this case, getting your affairs in shape without financial assistance can be difficult. But doing all you can to gain approval for your water damage insurance claim and obtain a fair settlement expedites the process of restoration. It also relieves you of the burden that comes with bearing the costs. If you want a claim process free of problems, knowing how to proceed after a disaster and the steps to follow in filing a water damage insurance claim is paramount. You also need the right professionals to work with.
To help you make an informed decision, check out these water damage insurance claim tips that we’ve prepared to guide homeowners.
Water Damage Insurance Claim Tips For Home
Conduct A Review of Your Insurance Policy
If you need information concerning deductibles and coverage as well as limitations and exclusions, you find it in your home insurance contract. It also gives a detailed explanation of all procedures and deadlines involved when looking to file an insurance claim.
Get In Touch With Your Insurance Company
As soon as the disaster hits, get in touch with your insurance company. Make sure you have all the necessary information available, including your home insurance policy number. When talking about water damage restoration, do not use the word “flood”. That’s because floods are usually not covered by standard home insurance policies. Ask for a cause of action from your insurance specialists.
It makes sense to document or record your conversations. Have detailed records that include who you talked with, when you talked with them, and when the call took place.
You also want to describe the conversation briefly. All notifications and letters, as well as any written documents, should be duplicated before sending or receiving from your insurance company. Any emails sent or received should also be documented.
If you know someone that has dealt successfully with a water damage insurance company, it might be helpful to talk to him or her before starting a conversation with your home insurance provider. This is one of the water damage insurance claim tips that have worked with others.
Document All Water Damages
You stand a better chance of getting compensation if you can present more evidence during your insurance claim. This means you have to take photos and videos that accurately reflect the extent of damage before committing to water damage restoration services.
You want to preserve damaged items as part of the evidence. We advise taking an inventory of all possessions destroyed or damaged. Also, include details about the make/model, the condition, cost of replacing them, and cash value.
Make sure you preserve malfunctioning equipment or broken parts that could have triggered water damage. If some people were responsible for the damage done, make sure to document their involvement as well. Your neighbor probably forgot to turn off the water before going on holiday or there was an error from the technician when installing the water heater.
Just make sure you document all events including the contact details of these persons.
One important thing to remember is to not make any permanent repairs or throw out any items. You should also avoid altering the scene. Keep everything the way you found them until an adjuster carries out a property inspection to determine how much damage was done.
Cut Down On Your Losses
Preventing further property damage should be the first thing on your mind. Do everything possible to save most of your belongings from being destroyed by water.
Whatever measures you take to mitigate the damage is classified as emergency repairs and will not affect the process of claiming your water damage compensation. Keep in mind that your insurance company won’t take responsibility for further damage once you make your water damage insurance claim.
The best line of action is to get rid of standing water and find a well-ventilated area to keep any water-saturated materials. Fix roofing holes, broken doors/windows, and implement any steps that can prevent additional damage. All emergency repairs should have receipts that must be documented.
Take care not to discard anything and avoid restoring or reconstructing any part of the damaged area until your insurance company reaches an agreement on the scope of damage with you.
Time To File Your Water Damage Insurance Claim
Once you review your insurance policy and put together all the important information, the next step is to make an official claim by sending a written notice to your insurance company.
The necessary information that you must gather should include things like remediation estimates, emergency home repair services, initial cleanup receipts, a list of damaged materials and items, location of damage, date of water damage, and more.
You may have to wait up to 15 days after filing the claim for an adjuster to visit your property and conduct an inspection. The process of recovery may be anywhere from smooth to difficult. This depends on how long is deemed sufficient for your insurance company to reach an agreement with you.
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Understand The Water Damage Insurance Claims Process
- An adjuster from your company will visit your home within 15 days for damage inspection once you send in the written notice. Avail yourself to answer every question from the adjuster and to find out what options are available to you.
- You will be sent a written notification from your company to inform you about how much coverage you have. Your company will also send you a check covering the estimated repair costs if they accept your claim. This excludes your deductible and also factors in depreciation. The check should arrive within 5 business days.
- Expect to get a second check from your insurance company if there is a replacement cost policy in place. This check will come in once your company gets the total bill for the entire restoration project. This means there is a predefined time within which all repairs and replacements must be completed. Check the insurance contract to find that defined period.
- Check your policy to see if there is a provision for actual cash value coverage. This covers the cost of replacing or rebuilding minus depreciation. One thing to keep in mind is that only payment for household materials and items similar to the ones destroyed or damaged will be paid for by your insurance company. If you wish to make upgrades, that is totally up to you.
Was your claim denied? – Here’s what to do
Homeowners may have to deal with their water damage insurance claim being denied. That’s why getting in touch with your agent quickly is paramount. With the help of an agent, you can know what to expect and go through the claim process with less hassle. Follow these steps if your insurance claim is denied –
Find out why
Demand for a full explanation as to why your claim was denied. This is your right, so inquire to know the exact wording in your policy that prevents you from being covered.
Know how the decision was reached
During the claim process, different people represent your insurance company. They all have different roles to play which is why knowing at what level the decision was reached is important. This will help you get clarification concerning the denial. The denied claim may have come from a contractor, adjuster, or agent.
Get a second review
Once you get clarified, consider getting a second review. This should be done if you are strongly convinced that you deserve to be covered. Find out if there is an endorsement or a plan that could cover your claim. Although this may not directly impact your case, find out if coverage by endorsement is offered by the company. Where there is no such option, consider working with a different insurance company that offers such kind of insurance coverage.
File a complaint or get external advice
If you are strongly convinced that you did not deserve a water damage insurance claim denial, consider getting a second opinion or hiring a licensed professional. You can also seek help from some advocacy organizations. An ombudsman may also help to review the disputed claim. Additionally, reach out to your state insurance commissioner to seek advice or file a complaint.
The process of water damage restoration isn’t always a smooth ride. Always take proactive steps to keep your home safe and ensure that you understand all the terms and conditions of your policy. Consider working with a licensed professional if you need help to settle your claim. While these water damage insurance claim tips are not meant to be exhaustive, you can find some others by doing further research.
However, putting these tips to work will get you from point A to B and onward. If you are in doubt regarding any of the points discussed here, please consult an expert.