Non-weather water damages cost insurance companies billions of dollars each year, making water damage the second-largest home insurance claims after wind and hail.
When filing a water damage claim, it’s important for you to understand that standard water damage insurance policies do not cover water damage by flooding. This is a major determinant of whether your claim is approved or denied. In this guide, we’ll help you understand how to file a water damage claim and what factors determine the compensation you get.
How to File a Water Damage Insurance Claim
When most homeowners experience water damage in their homes, they wait well until all the water is removed, which in itself is a mistake. The first thing you should do is find and stop the cause of the water damage. This means that if it’s coming from a leak, you should prevent any further leaks, then contact your insurance agent immediately.
The problem with taking too long before contacting your insurance company is that they may deny your claim. For instance, when it comes to water leaks, there are chronic and sudden leaks. Chronic leaks are those that cause damage gradually over a long period. It could be a result of a leaking roof or a leaking pipe.
Filing a claim for chronic leaks is, most of the time, denied because you allowed it to continue for a prolonged period. Sudden leaks, on the other hand, are usually covered by the policy immediately.
What Is Gradual Damage?
When it comes to making a water damage claim, the insurance company will gauge whether it was caused by gradual damage. Gradual damage is when damages happen over a prolonged period of time without the homeowners’ notice. It’s an increasingly common issue for most homeowners filing for insurance claims. Even when the issue was undetected, the claim is likely to be denied since the damages were not sudden or accidental.
Gradual Damage Exceptions
There are instances allowed when you can file a water damage claim even though you have experienced gradual damages. It’s advisable to talk to your insurance adjuster to understand what conditions are an exception to the rule. For instance, most states allow coverage for mold remediation.
In a different case, if you experience a broken pipe or appliance in your home, such as a malfunctioning washing machine that causes water damage, the insurance company is likely to cover the damages. Replacing the appliance or the pipe, however, will not be covered. In a different scenario, if your roof was damaged by a falling branch and water got through the damaged roof, the insurance policy would cover the water damages.
Additionally, if your home experiences mold problems as a result of the water damage, it would be considered gradual damage but still, get coverage. This is because the mold was a result of the original claim.
How to Maximize Your Water Damage Claim
You possibly wondering, “When should I have the insurance agent review my claim?” When you contact your agent, ask what is required to ensure the company accepts your water damage claim. It’s also advisable to check your insurance policy before calling to understand everything and the possibilities of the claim being accepted.
The insurance agent is likely to ask for a notice to determine the cause of your water damage insurance claim. They’ll want to know what actions you took to protect the other damages to your home, the repairs done, and a record of all the repairs expenses.
Here are the steps in detail.
Record All the Water Damages
Before you start cleaning up the damages, it’s important for you to record them so you can provide visual proof to your insurance company. Start by taking photographs or video evidence of the area. Whether you’re dealing with standing water or mold, it’s crucial for you to document it at its worst so the insurance agent will understand the gravity of the situation.
Beyond that, it’s vital for you to list all the damaged properties from carpets, furniture, appliances, and any other household items damaged in the process. Having supporting evidence such as photos will go a long way into helping your claim gets approved. This means that you should snap photographs of everything affected by the water in your home.
Do not conduct any major repairs or renovations before you hear back from your insurance agent. Most insurance companies send out an insurance agent to check out the problem personally. If you conduct permanent repairs before the insurance company gives their approval, they’re a high chance they will deny your claim.
Clean Up the Damages
Start by removing all the standing water and any material soaked in water and place them in a well-ventilated area to dry out. It’s important that you do not throw away anything until the insurance agent gives you the go-ahead. During the cleanup process, be cautious and prevent further damages to the rest of your properties.
Before filing your water damage claim, it’s important to have all the facts, so document all activities and conversations that take place with your insurance agent. Document all the steps you take to clean up and repair the damaged area, then keep all the receipts you receive for the materials you purchase for temporary repairs. Avoid spending too much on repairs before the insurance company approves because you will be at a loss if they deny the claim or pay less than you expected.
Filing a Water Damage Claim: Everything You Need to Know
These are the steps you need to take and the information you need to understand about filing for a water damage claim. As long as you call the insurance adjuster or agent before cleaning up the damages, you’ll have a higher chance of approval. Still, you need to consult the company about gradual damages and see what your policy covers.
Now that you know how to file for your water damage insurance claim, would you like to read more informative articles? If so, please head over to our blog section, where we have so much more valuable prepared for you.