The Complete Guide To Water Damage Insurance Claims

Water damage in your home can be hectic and not something that happens often. Because of the rarity of this terrible event, homeowners usually aren’t sure what to do next when filing a water damage insurance claim.

This is especially true for homeowners who are experiencing water damage for the first time.

What You Need To Know About Your Water Damage Claim

  • Not all types of water damage are covered. The good news is – most are.
  • Insurance will pay for all damages covered by the water damage as stated in your homeowner’s insurance policy.
  • You need to notify your insurance company IMMEDIATELY after you notice that damage has occurred.
  • Do not attempt to make repairs before you contact your insurance company. They will walk you through what to do next.
  • A certified restoration contractor can help you dry your home and repair damage after you consult your insurance company.

You’ve Noticed Water Damage: What’s Next?

  • Try to turn off the source of the water.
  • Remove all electrical and turn off corresponding power to the affected area.
  • If possible, try to remove furniture or items in your home that would be further damaged by staying in the water.

Informing yourself about filing a water damage insurance claim and knowing quickly what important steps to take will help you, your family and your home in the long run. Don’t worry too much. Your home can be dried and repaired so that you can get on with your life.

1. Consult your insurance company

The Complete Guide To Water Damage Insurance Claims - Water Damage Restoration

Be prepared to provide documentation. You will need the following items to get the process started:
  • Name and contact information of your insurance company.
  • Your homeowners insurance policy number.
  • The source of the leak that caused the water damage.

Do a quick Google search for your insurance company + claims if you need to find the correct phone number.

2. Document your water damage with photos and video

After your water damage claim is settled, your insurance will want to pay you for the damage in your home and to your items. To make sure you get the appropriate amount of coverage, make sure to take as many photos of the damage as possible. A video will work even better.

Photo & Video Documentation Tips:

  • Take as many as possible.
  • Try to use good lighting.
  • Create a dedicated folder on your computer where you can keep all photos and videos together, or use a storage service like Google Drive.

3. Review Your Insurance Policy

If you do not have a physical copy of your insurance policy you can usually access it online. You want to look for guidelines related to flooding and water damage. There’s a difference between the two.

Verbiage regarding coverage amount, what items are covered and related terminology should be found in your policy.

4. Make an inventory of all damaged possessions

Your insurance company is likely to pay for repairs to your home AS WELL AS items that were damaged. It’s a good idea to begin a word document or spreadsheet that lists the items you believe to be damaged.

  • If you have receipts, keep them and list the amount you paid for the item or product.
  • If you do not have receipts, try to find the exact model of that item online and list the current selling price.
  • Search your bank account and credit card history online to find the price of an item at the time you bought it.

The Complete Guide To Water Damage Insurance Claims - Water Damage Restoration

TIP: You can download home inventory checklists or purchase software that speeds up the process of identifying what valuable items you have in your home.

It’s likely you don’t have receipts from a couch or tv that you bought 6 years ago. If you list “TV” as a need to be replaced item, your insurance company will find the lowest cost television and try to reimburse you that amount. Try to find and list the EXACT model of whatever item was damaged in your home.

5. Beware of water damage involvement by others

In some cases, the water damage you experience will not be your fault. It could be a plumber, an appliance installer or even an electrician. Regardless, if you suspect the fault is someone elses make sure you follow these steps:

  1. Contact the service provider you believe might have caused the damage. Usually, they can file the claim on their own insurance instead of yours.
  2. Document the contact information of those involved.

6. Get multiple estimates from water damage restoration companies

After the damage is done, you need to find someone to fix it. Calling a water damage restoration company is your next step. These companies are certified in mitigating water damage in your home. They will extract water, dry and repair any damages you have.

Getting multiple water damage quotes

  • Your insurance company will usually have a suggested water damage repair company. You DO NOT have to use this company.
  • Try to get at least 3 competing quotes. Let these companies know you are pricing competitors and they can usually match – or beat a competitors price.
  • Rely on Google and Yelp reviews to make a decision.
  • Companies can usually provide estimates 24/7.

 

Get multiple water damage quotes
Make to get at least 3 different water damage restoration quotes.

7. Don’t throw anything away

Although it may be gross, wet and stinky – try not to throw anything away. Your insurance company as well as restoration companies can use these items to identify multiple important facts about your situation. These include:

  • Your insurance company will usually have a suggested water damage repair company. You DO NOT have to use this company.
  • Try to get at least 3 competing quotes. Let these companies know you are pricing competitors and they can usually match – or beat a competitors price.
  • Rely on Google and Yelp reviews to make a decision.
  • Companies can usually provide estimates 24/7.