Insurance Claim Tips For Water Damage – Paul West is a seasoned private risk advisor with over a decade of advising successful families and individuals.

You come home from vacation to find a small pond has formed in your basement. Something in the house leaks, overflows, or explodes. Your first reaction? Panic. Your Monday:

Insurance Claim Tips For Water Damage

Insurance Claim Tips For Water Damage

If you are sure that it is safe to do so, take immediate action to prevent further water from getting into places where it should not be. This could mean turning off the main valve in your home (usually requiring a wrench) or turning off an individual water supply valve, also known as a “stop.” You can usually turn off the stops leading to the dishwasher, toilet, washing machine or ice maker by hand (clockwise) to stop the flow of water. Here is more information on how to turn off the water supply valve.

Most Common Homeowners Insurance Claims

By the way, you should research water leak detection systems and automatic shut-off valves before disaster strikes. With a small investment, you can prevent a serious claim and potentially save money through reduced home insurance rates.

In 2018, nearly a quarter of home insurance claims were due to water damage. From 2014-2016, the number of water damage claims in the US actually exceeded the number of damages caused by fires and storms. What do the numbers mean? Water damage is quite common. But not every type of water damage is covered under a typical homeowner’s policy.

As a general rule, water damage will be covered by home insurance if it occurs unexpectedly or accidentally. In other words, you can’t predict what will happen. Water damage is NOT covered when it is the result of lack of maintenance/neglect of the home (e.g. a roof you haven’t repaired in 30 years). Flood damage is also NOT covered (unless you have a separate Massachusetts flood insurance policy).

While homeowners insurance covers many water damage situations, there are certain situations where your policy may not provide coverage. Becoming familiar with these common exclusions can help you better manage and maintain your property to avoid costly repairs. Here are some examples of water damage that is typically not covered by insurance:

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To ensure you have enough coverage for your specific needs, review your insurance policy and discuss any questions with your independent insurance agent. By understanding the limitations of your policy, you can take proactive steps to maintain your property and minimize the risk of experiencing costly undetected water damage situations.

When it comes to water damage, time is of the essence. According to FEMA, mold can begin to grow 24-48 hours after exposure. So if your pipe burst on Friday night, don’t wait until Monday morning to let your agent/insurance company know what’s going on. Most carriers maintain 24/7 hotlines to guide you through the claims process and advise you on cleanup.

Clean and dry the area yourself, you should at least contact a water damage restoration/repair company. Insurance companies may not want to recommend a specific water damage insurer, but they can help you identify some local options to choose from.

Insurance Claim Tips For Water Damage

NOTE: If your dedicated insurance agent is not available to speak with you at the time the claim arises, make sure you reach out during business hours. Why? There is a big difference between insurance

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. Ideally, both of them should know what’s going on at your house. In the event of a claim, it is the agent’s job to act as your advocate and help ensure that you receive a timely, satisfactory response from the service provider. An agent can also be valuable in helping negotiate a settlement of any damages (see Step 6)—one reason we recommend working with an independent agent, rather than a direct writer or the “captive” representative.

A water damage/restoration company (WD/RC) is often required to pump out any standing water and completely dry any surfaces before moisture or mold spreads. If mold is already present, WD/RC may need to apply special cleaning solutions, after sealing and ventilating the wet area.

Water damage and restoration companies are not all created equal. Unfortunately, some people may try to take advantage of an emergency situation where you need help quickly. Before signing any contract or work order, make sure you receive an estimate and written proof that the company is licensed/insured. Read the company’s online reviews. Ask for references from customers in your town or neighborhood.

Remember, the WD/RC you choose is not necessarily the same company you use to repair your walls, floors, millwork, ceilings, cabinets, etc. after running out of water. Many water damage repair companies offer contract services, in addition to water and mold remediation, but that doesn’t mean they’re the best choice for your repair. Again, don’t sign any contracts or agree to do extra work without getting a quote… and don’t talk to at least one other contractor. Typically, the best person to do carpentry, flooring or drywall is someone who specializes in carpentry, flooring or drywall — not a WD/RC.

Too Much Of A Good Thing: Water Damage And Your Home

In severe cases, water damage can lead to unsafe or unhealthy living conditions in the home. Large floods can throw household chemicals or wastewater into the mix—not something you should be wading through. There may be a risk of electric shock. And even after standing water is gone, mold spores can still contaminate the air.

If you suspect any of these issues are occurring, ask your dealer and WD/RC team to advise you on the safest course of action. Most insurance policies include coverage for hotel accommodations and even food costs if you are forced to leave. But you’ll want to understand what level of coverage (if any) you have for these items, as well as how you’re expected to pay and index these costs (paying yourself before getting to return). If you stay and eat elsewhere, be prepared to save the receipt.

Your home restoration team will likely take photos of the damaged area, but you should take your own photos. (If you later decide to cut ties with this company, you don’t want to have to chase them down for documents.) You should also take photos of any items that need to be cleaned or replaced. With water damage, wet items are only part of the loss. Objects in drawers or cabinets where mold has spread should also be professionally cleaned. You may be entitled to reimbursement for those expenses.

Insurance Claim Tips For Water Damage

NOTE: In the event of water damage, most insurance policies do not cover the device that caused the problem in the first place. So, for example, if your ice maker or dishwasher leaks behind the cabinets, your insurance may cover replacement cabinets and drywall, but not the refrigerator or dishwasher. new.

Beware Of Improper Insurance Claim Denials For Water Damage

The insurance company will send an adjuster to your home as soon as possible. He or she will assess the damage, take photos, and take measurements. The adjuster will also ask questions about how and when the damage occurred. His goal is twofold. First, he’s trying to estimate how much it will cost to repair the damage. Second, he is seeking to determine whether anyone is at fault.

Do not worry. Unless you intentionally created a problem (e.g. insurance fraud), your insurance policy is available to you. Insurance for accidents. Even silly accidents. If you leave a candle burning overnight and your house burns down, you’re still covered – even though yes, it was your fault. The same principle applies to water damage. If you install your own toilet (improperly, by accident) and water starts raining through the ceiling, you are still protected.

However, if it was someone else’s fault, the insurance company will want to find out. Say for example,

Do not install the toilet incorrectly; saying it was a licensed plumber who should have known better. In that case, your adjuster and insurance company may seek to “represent,” which means pursuing

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Insurance company for the damages he caused. Ditto for a faulty device. Your insurance company may try to recover damages from the manufacturer of the malfunctioning washing machine. This is good news for you because if they can successfully replace it, you may not have to pay a deductible on the claim.

At some point after the appraisal, your adjuster will submit a written estimate of the costs he or she believes will be necessary to repair your damage. He will likely create a list of labor and material items (drywall, paint, insulation, tile, etc.). Depending on the size of the claim, he may also issue a check for all or part of this amount so you can begin repairs. Correct!

Just be prepared; That payout number seems a bit low. Unless your home insurance policy is written to provide “replacement cost value,” your total estimate is likely based on actual cash value or ACV. ACV represents the true value of your property today – not the amount you paid for it or the cost to make it brand new. So, for example, if you spent $20k on new cabinets 15 years ago, your damages would reimburse you $20k

Insurance Claim Tips For Water Damage

Now, here’s a confusing note…in some cases, insurance companies will offer what’s called

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