Water and flooding cause more damage than any other cause of loss on insurance claims. Furthermore, insurance claims for water damage are the most complicated when it comes to determining if coverage applies or the amount that’s covered. Almost every insurance policy excludes certain types of water damage. There may be exclusions such as “wind-driven rain” specified in a policy. Many insurance policies contain exclusions that are “Acts of God” such as hurricanes and floods. Flood damage that is a result of water coming in from outside the insured property is typically only covered with flood insurance.
Inside the home, water damage can come from things like bursting pipes. Burst pipe insurance claims are one of the most common and frequent homeowner’s insurance claims filed.
If you’re dealing with any type of insurance claim for damage caused by water, the following water damage insurance claim tips can help you in that process while making an insurance claim for water damage successful.
Understanding Flood Insurance For Water Damage Claims
Flood insurance coverage in the United States is handled separately through the National Flood Insurance Program, which is a federal program managed by the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA). Flood damage claims can become even more complicated under flood insurance with stipulations such as: two or more acres, or two or more properties must be inundated with water to be considered a flood. Then, there is also a distinction between mudslides and mudflow. Mudslides are earth movement, like a landslide for example. Even though these mudslides happen as result of water, they are not covered under flood insurance. Mudflow, which is a steady flowing stream of mud, is covered under flood insurance.
If you need help determining coverage or handling a claim for flooding or water damage, a licensed public insurance adjuster can help.
Be Prepared With The Best Insurance Claim Tips For Water Damage
Hurricanes are becoming stronger and more frequent as a result of warmer temperatures. These storms are bringing massive amounts of heavy rain, flash flooding and wind damage. With these catastrophic storms and massive amounts of damage, determining insurance coverage, the causes of damage, handling the insurance claims process and dealing with the home insurance adjuster can be quite a difficult feat.
Water damage insurance claims can get messy in more than just your home. The following water damage insurance claims tips can help you avoid losing money owed to you from your claim on your insurance policy.
Notify Your Insurance Company Immediately After The Disaster Occurs
The first and most important tip when dealing with a homeowners claim for water damage is to notify your insurance company immediately after the disaster occurs and damage has taken place (assuming you and your family are safe, of course).
If you are filing a homeowners claim for water damage, most homeowners’ insurance policies require the homeowner to give “prompt notice” to the insurer. If you fail to report a claim immediately after it occurs, or if you start removing and fixing things before reporting it to your insurance company, then your claim may not be fully honored.
Every insurance company in the world has a 24/7 claims reporting system. Use it, then proceed to the next tip.
Secure The Property And Prevent Additional Damage
Your property insurance policy will have a section on your duties after a loss stating that you’re required to prevent further damage to your property. When water damage occurs, and you can do something to reduce the damage, then you should take that step (without endangering yourself, of course).
In many cases you may need the help of a professional water damage restoration company. Both your insurance company or a local public adjuster should have recommendations for companies they have used in your area. Because the cause of loss and and any resulting damage are crucial determination factors when filing a water damage insurance claim, the insurance claim process actually starts from the moment the damage begins or you notice the damage – as opposed to when you call to report an insurance claim. The water damage restoration company you use can affect the outcome of your claim.
If your insurer finds that you could have reduced the damage had you taken a simple action, then your claim may be reduced. In other words, additional damage that occurs after you’ve noticed any damage is not always covered by your insurer.
Some of the tips and advice for reducing further water damage inside your home include:
-Removing any standing water
-Drying the affected area
-Boarding up doors or windows to prevent the ingress of water
-Removing property from the water to prevent further damage
While performing these tasks, keep in mind that you should throw away nothing, nor should you alter the scene until the insurance company’s adjuster comes and inspects your property. If you hire professionals or spend any money in order to reduce the amount of loss or damage be sure to keep records and receipts. Most insurance policies will include reimbursement for reasonable expenses to mitigate (reduce) the loss.
Take Photographs And Inventory After Water Damage
Make sure there’s evidence of the water damage that occurred to your property. After you’ve performed a basic cleanup and lockdown of the scene, take lots of photographs of all the damage that occurred. One of the most important things to remember, when dealing with any type of insurance claim, is to always have more evidence than you think you need. So take dozens of photos of all areas of damage, from several distances and angles. Remember to keep organized records of your evidence, and all communications between you and your insurer while you’re at it.
Combine your photographs with a written inventory of lost or damaged property. This inventory should include:
-Description of the item
-Make and model number of the items
-Age of items
-Replacement cost of the item (which is the price it would cost to replace the item today, not what you paid for the item 10 years ago), and the item’s real cash value (the value of the item at the time of the loss)
The more detailed you are with photographs and inventory, the better off you’ll be. When it comes time to dealing with the insurance company adjuster that comes to your home to inspect water damage, having all of your photos and evidence organized will be a huge help.
Find Temporary Housing To Live In
Water damage can be nasty. It can lead to contaminants, bacteria, mold problems and structural issues. If your home’s safety and security are compromised, then you may need to find temporary housing.
Your insurance company may provide you with additional living expenses. Feel free to use that to get a hotel for the night. However, if your home is going to be unlivable for a long period of time, then your insurer may be responsible for paying for a comparable dwelling for the near future. Be aware that flood insurance policies do not include additional living expenses. If the only cause of damage is covered by your flood insurance policy then there likely will not be any coverage for additional living expenses. Although with a major storm such as a hurricane that causes wind damage and flooding, that wind damage may be covered under your homeowners, commercial property or business owners policy and include additional living expenses. Check your policy and check with your insurance company to determine if additional living expenses are provided.
Contact ClaimsMate To Get Help With Water Damage Claims
ClaimsMate knows the insurance industry comprehensively and will put that knowledge to work on your behalf. This can be the difference between having your water damage insurance claim fully covered – or missing out on tens of thousands’ of dollars in compensation legally owed to you.
If your home has suffered serious water damage – like over $10,000 in damages – then contacting a public adjuster may be a great option to get professional assistance with your insurance claim. A public adjuster is a licensed professional who represents homeowners and business owners like you – not the insurance company.