If you’ve found yourself needing to file a water damage insurance claim, know you’re not alone. According to the Insurance Information Institute, water damage and freezing is the second leading cause of property damage claims. That’s about 1 in 60 insured homes in the United States filing a water damage claim each year.
Knowing you’re just one of the millions of homeowners facing water damage won’t make the situation any less stressful. However, preparing to file a claim will help ease the emotional burden. Homeowners can do these things before filing a claim to ensure the process goes smoothly.
Document the Damage
It’s important to document the damage in detail as much as possible. Take photos and videos of all of your home’s affected areas. Be sure to document damage to both the inside and outside of your home. Also take photographs and videos of any personal property that has been damaged. Make sure to include photographs or videos of the inside of damaged cabinets and closets.
For larger or more expensive items, such as appliances, be sure to photograph serial numbers before getting rid of the property. The type and quality of items such as upholstery, hardwood flooring, tile or carpeting may affect the amount of your claim payout. So be sure to keep samples of these types of items to give to your adjuster.
Make sure to keep receipts for any temporary repairs you make to prevent further damage. Also keep the receipts for any cleaning, restoration, or sanitization services.
Know Your Insurance Policy Limits
Most insurance policies have time limits for filing a water damage claim. That’s one reason it’s important to submit your claim as soon as possible after the damage occurs. Your insurance policy may also have exclusions for certain types of water damage, such as flood damage. Make sure to thoroughly review your policy to understand what it does and does not cover. Your insurance policy will have limits on the amount of coverage you may be entitled to. Be sure you are aware of these limits and plan accordingly.
Find the Cause of Water Damage
It’s also important to find out the cause of the water damage and give this information to your insurance company. If the damage to your property is from a covered event (such as a burst pipe), your insurance company is more likely to approve your claim. If the damage came from something that’s not covered by your policy (such as flooding due to a natural disaster), your claim could be denied.
Repair the Damage
You will want to start water damage repairs as soon as possible after documenting the damage. Starting the repair process right away will not only get your home back to normal quickly, but will also decrease the risk of mold growth. If you need to hire a contractor to repair the damage, make sure you choose a reputable and reliable restoration company. Your insurance company may have a list of approved contractors. You can also ask for recommendations from friends or family. Be sure to get estimates from multiple contractors and give this information to your insurance company.
Make sure to keep track of all expenses related to the water damage. This includes any temporary repairs, cleaning and restoration services, and any other costs associated with the damage. This will be important when you are submitting your claim to your insurance company.
Suffering property damage due to water is a stressful event. By following these tips, you can make sure that your insurance company handles your water damage claim smoothly and efficiently.