If you have had water damage in your home, you are in good company. About one in 50 American homeowners will file a water damage claim annually. The problem is staggering; the insurance industry paid out $13 billion last year.
Hopefully you have a valid homeowner’s owners insurance policy to call on for help when it happens to you. According to Forbes.com, the average cost of a water damage claim is about $10,900. Insurance executives cite several reasons for higher prices: aging residential inventory, increasing home (and contents) values, and more laundry rooms upstairs. So when you’ve had water damage, make sure you manage the situation to satisfy the rules of your agreement with the insurance company. Here are some tips from our cleanup experts to help:
When you have water pouring out of a broken pipe, you need to act immediately. Identify the source of the water. Stop it from flowing, if you can. But even if your water damage wasn’t urgent, you still need to have a plan.
Make two phone calls right away: 1) to Crossroads Property Rescue and 2) to your agent. We will dispatch a water damage cleanup technician (or team) immediately. They will stop the flow of water and protect your property from further damage. Your insurance company may decline some or all of your claim on the basis that you didn’t take sufficient action to prevent more damage. For example, we might need to put a tarp over a damaged roof.
If your dedicated insurance agent was not available to take your call right now, call the 1-800 number next. Then follow up during business hours with the local team; you’ll want their support. In the event of a claim, it’s your agent’s job to act as your advocate. Agents can also expedite paperwork and offer great advice in a crisis.
Take photos and video of damage to the building and to your possessions. Don’t immediately throw away any of the damaged items; keep ruined items and debris in plastic bags or containers to show the adjuster.
Create a written list with values and projected replacement costs. Our team will help you with reports explaining what happened and quotes for how much it will cost to fix the damage. Don’t forget to keep your receipts if you pay up-front for any quick repairs.
Keep them in the loop. If you don’t contact the insurance company promptly, you risk that the insurance company might deny your claim. If you’re unsure whether your water damage claim will be covered by your policy, you should still make a claim. There’s no penalty for asking.
Your independent insurance agent can also be a resource to negotiate what you really want you home to look like, after the project is complete. If you want to upgrade your dated decor during these repairs, be honest with your adjuster about your goals. Work together with your contractor to calculate the difference between repairing as it was, versus creating the home you want to live in for the next decade.
Handling the insurance process of a detailed and complicated water damage claim can be frustrating and time-consuming. If you have complicating factors that lead to a substantial loss, you can hire an attorney as a public adjuster to handle the claim for you. Since these independent, third parties aren’t tied to the insurance company, they are unbiased and can focus only a fair amount, not on minimizing the carrier’s payout.
After assessing the water claim, often the insurance company will pressure you to use their vendors for repairs, as opposed to paying you for your claim. Your insurance company may imply that you should use their team of roofers, plumbers, or sheetrock installers who can do the work for you. Since the insurance company is the one paying the check, their loyalty is to them (not you, the homeowner.)
You have choices. When repairing your Morgantown home, choose a repair company that you can trust to be on your side, like Crossroads Property Rescue.
After a claim, usually homeowners continue the relationship with their current carrier. However, your insurance company may choose not to renew your policy. It’s not personal– insurance companies use complex formulas to determine risks. Perhaps they will score you “too risky” to continue as a client. If your home insurance is cancelled, contact an independent agent to find you some alternatives.
When you suspect water damage, get our professional cleanup team on sight ASAP. Every day that you delay increases the amount of damage to building materials (and the potential for mold.) Crossroads Property Rescue provides both scheduled maintenance and emergency cleanup and restoration services.