There are multiple areas in your home connected to a water supply system; from the bathroom toilet, sink, and shower to the kitchen sink, refrigerator, dishwasher and more. Whenever an appliance or fixture draws water there is always a chance of a small leak, burst pipes, or a clog that leads to a disastrous overflow. When a tragedy hits and you notice a pool of standing water or you hear a loud roar under your home, you may find yourself frantically asking, “does my insurance cover water damage?”
Often times before a person takes steps in filing an insurance claim they immediately react by attempting to remove the water and salvage whatever they can. Unfortunately, this response could do more harm than good. Making permanent repairs before an insurance company has the opportunity to look over the damage may leave you paying out of pocket to cover the repairs. It is so important to understand the process and know what to do in case of an emergency.
What to do
Whether your home has been flooded by a torrential downpour or a broken pipe that has been slowly causing structural damage; the first response to such chaos should be to notify your insurance company. The faster they know, the quicker the process will be. Once your insurance company has been informed, it’s generally okay to take preventative measures in efforts to prevent additional damage. Obviously, turning off the water supply and removing any untouched valuables should be your priority. These preventative measures are often classified as emergency repairs and should not affect your insurance claim. As you begin to mitigate the area, take pictures and/or video of all damaged property. Take a detailed inventory of every item that was damaged. Record make, model, age, and condition as well as any attributable cash value to ensure adequate reimbursement. In other words, have indisputable evidence of what you might potentially be claiming. Don’t throw anything away regardless of how nasty it may be and don’t change or fix things until an adjuster is able to scope out and inspect the property and the affected area.
Not all insurance policy coverages are alike and the type of policy you carry will determine your specific coverage. Therefore, it’s important to take time to review your insurance policy and understand what may or may not be covered such as floods, sewer or drain backup, mold remediation, restoration of water-damaged personal belongings, and/or temporary living expenses. Knowing this information ahead of time will help you understand how to best consult with your insurance agent.
How to file and what is the process
Working with the insurance company it is best to be thorough and document all conversations including date, time, and representative name. Keep copies of all documents you have sent and received from the insurance company.
- When making an official claim you will need to gather all evidence, take inventory of all damaged belongings and prepare a written notice. Remember when filing an insurance claim there is no such thing as being too detailed!
- Once you have filed your water damage claim, the insurance company will contact you and explain the process along with helping you to understand your responsibilities and policy terms. In most states, your claim must be investigated within 15 days of your written notice.
- Once your insurance company has gathered all the required information and looked it over, you will find out if your claim has been accepted or rejected. If you are accepted you’ll generally receive the payment within 5 business days but if for some reason you are rejected, then you must be given a written explanation.
It’s stressful enough when navigating your way through water damage and dealing with your insurance company so you can imagine how devastating it could be to find
out you aren’t covered. To reiterate, all insurance policies are different but one general rule of thumb is that insurance companies tend to cover water damage that has happened “suddenly” or is considered “accidental”. Beware however, if you were negligent by not providing adequate maintenance like ignoring a leaky sink or pipe, then the repairs could potentially fall on you.
It is vital to act fast when dealing with water damage because water can have an irreversible effect and mold growth can occur very quickly. Therefore, once your insurance company has accepted the claim it is important to hire quality restorative professionals for the water-affected space, so mitigation can begin. Advanced Water Restoration is ideal for fulfilling your restorative needs and bringing your home back to its original state.
Dealing with any insurance company may not be the most enjoyable process but they can certainly be your saving grace in many water damage situations. Take the time to get to know your coverage up front and save yourself time, money & stress!