How to Recover from Water Damage and Manage Your Insurance Claim
In most areas water damage is the number one cause of loss for homeowner’s insurance claims. These water damage cleanup claims can be some of the most costly and stressful claims for a homeowner as they more often than not involve interior living spaces. It’s always a good idea to have some general knowledge and strategies in the back of your mind should you face a water damage situation.
- Protect Your Property: Act quickly! Stop that leak as best as you can from preventing further damage. If you’re concerned about insurance coverage, take pictures along the way. There are clauses in most policies that can negate coverage if you don’t protect your property from further damage. So don’t wait for an answer on insurance coverage before you stop that overflowing washer or leaky pipe. That doesn’t mean repair the problem, just stop that water from making any further damage.
- Document Everything: Take pictures, keep receipts, take notes, and take more pictures. When in doubt, take a picture. Insurance adjusters love pictures.
- File Your Claim: Call your insurance company or agent as soon as possible and take notes. It’s very common for claims to be handled and transferred to different adjuster during the length of your claim. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and always ask,’what is my next step’ or ‘what can I expect next’.
- Don’t Jump the Gun: Be wary of signing up with an attorney or public adjuster just yet. While they can help in some situations, a call to your state insurance regulation agency is a free and easy way to get advice if you’re having a problem with your claim without signing over a percentage of your payout.
- Act Normally: Even if your claim is not covered, that swimming pool you used to call your basement will still need to be drained. Act as a reasonable and prudent person would. Don’t let that flooded basement turn into a mold jungle because your claim wasn’t covered. You’ve been taking pictures and documenting everything and can consult with your state agency without putting your health in danger.
Many water damage cleanup claims can be quite stress and hassle free with the right strategies. There are many water mitigation companies out there who provide emergency services and do the restoration and rebuild. Whomever you choose, make sure you research their reputation and don’t be afraid to ask questions often.