Tips on How to File a Water Damage Claim
Out of the events that could happen to you home next to fire damage, the most problematic and difficult to deal with is water damage. Water damage can come from various sources and may have grave consequences as it will cost molds on your hardwood floors and walls and can make you home unlivable. Taking out molds will be a lot more expensive than fixing your water damage on time, however filing a water damage claim can be a difficult process and if you have just discovered a leak and that it has already caused damage to your home, then you need to know all there is to know about making that claim.
At the outset, your insurance provider will not pay for any damage that has been caused by flooding or natural disasters and long-term leaks. If your home had been flooded due to a hurricane, then automatically, you are on your own unless you have an insurance policy specifically for natural disasters. Moreover, if your home shows signs of water damage due to long-terms leaks or leaks that have been going on for more than fourteen days, the insurance company will not pay for the restoration of the damaged area. The insurance companies often use the formation of molds as an indication of long-term leaks, and given the right conditions, mold can grow even in twenty four hours. In order to increase your chances of making a water damage claim, then make sure that there are no molds in the source of the leak.
What is Water Damage
Water damage refers to any damage that occurs in your home brought about by any water leaking source. The source can be from accidental leaks in any part of the house, sudden dishwasher leaks, water purifier leaks, garbage disposal leaks, rain and wind together, burst pipes, washing machine leaks and refrigerator leaks. The damage caused by the leak in any part of the house can be covered by the insurance companies but the claims process is quite complicated and time consuming. Water damage usually affects the hardwood floors, dry walls and cabinets and if not properly treated can cause molds which can be bad for your health. You need to ascertain however that the water leak has not been going on for more than fourteen days as it would cause the denial of the water damage claim. As soon as you discover the leak and the water damage, make sure to document it with photos and videos of the leak and the area surrounding it as this will prove to be valuable in making your claims.
The Use of Water Damage Claim
As soon as you have discovered any water leak, you need to find out where it is and have it fixed by a licensed plumber and at the same time document it by taking pictures and videos of the leak itself and where the excess water was going and the damage it has caused to the floors or walls. A water damage claim is the claim you make to your insurance provider so that the water damaged area can be repaired or replaced as needed. Before you can make any water damage claim, you need check first that your insurance policy covers water damage, if this is in the affirmative then you can proceed to file the claim to your insurance provider.
Evidences in Making a Claim
In order to increase the likelihood of your insurance provider covering your water damage claim you need to have concrete evidences to present to the field inspectors such as photos and videos of the leak, any broken pipes, damaged filtration system, broken washing machines or dishwashers, water heaters and other materials that could be used as evidences to support your water damage claim. It is also advised to take the picture or video of the actual leak with the date and time stamped so that the insurance providers would see that it was documented at that certain date and time. This is to make sure that they will not be able to say that it has been more than fourteen days of leaking. The broken items and appliances will also support the claim as real proof of the leak and damage.
Timeline of Making a Water Damage Claim
After discovering that there is a water leak make sure that you get an expert plumber to locate the exact source of the leak and to fix it immediately. Then to document when the leak was discovered and fixed and for the expert plumber to attest as to how many days the leak have been going on. One of the limitation of making a water damage claim is if it is identified as a long-term water leak, thus it will work to your advantage if an expert and licensed plumber will attest that the water damage had been cause by an accidental leak and not a long-term one. After which, you need to have on hand your evidences of the cause of the water damage including the broken appliances or parts whichever the case may be. And also the documentation of the actual damaged area. You can now proceed to file a water damage claim to your insurance providers by submitting an accomplished form and providing evidence of your insurance policy. After filing, you can expect that the insurance company will send claims adjuster to your home for site inspections and to assess the value of the water damage and whether it can be covered by the insurance company. The claims adjuster will also interview you and will try to determine if the damage had not been caused by a long-term leak. Then the insurance provider will send people who will do the repairs and fix the leak and only on where it is located. The insurance provider will only pay for the repair of that certain pipe and will not pay for the replacement of all the pipes, and to initiate drying of walls and other areas affected by the fire. If your hardwood floors had been damaged by the water leak then this will also be replaced by the insurance provider, but not the entire flooring, just the part where it was damaged.
Water Claim Adjusters
When you have filed your water damage claim, the insurance company will have a number of claims adjuster come visit your home to check on your property and the damaged area to inspect, assess, and determine the value that the insurance provider will cover to repair the leak and the damaged area. Thus, you need to know what does a claims adjuster do and whether they will work in your favor. A desk adjuster will be that person who processes your filed claims and will call you to set up an appointment and to inform you if there will be any site visits of inspections. The interaction you will have with a desk adjuster will be through the phone only and you will never get to see them in person. Then you have a field insurance adjuster, which are adjusters who will visit your home and inspect the area that was damaged and the source of the water leak and recommend how much the repairs would cost the insurance provider and how much it will cover for the repairs. Take note however, that field adjusters owe their jobs to the insurance provider and will find a way to lower the amount that the company will cover in terms of repair. So be sure to keep an eye on these field adjusters and do not give them a reason to low ball their estimated repair costs. If the insurance provider do not have available field adjusters then they will send in independent adjusters who are third party adjusters and will work for the insurance company to give a low ball estimate to the costs of the repair and restorations. Independent adjusters will of course side with the insurance provider as the company sends them more jobs if they give lower estimates for each insurance claim they inspect and recommend to be built. Thus, do not trust independent adjusters as they will always side with the insurance provider and not for your benefit. In the face of all this adjusters, you need a licensed public adjuster who will solely work for your benefit. Public adjusters are licensed and recognized by the state to represent the policy holder and be able to negotiate with the insurance provider to see to it that the policy holder can get the most of what is contained in their policy. You need a public adjuster as the processing of the water damage claims may become drawn out, and long, and sometimes messy and can be depressing.
Most insurance companies will only tell you to get an insurance policy as it will be able to amount to the maximum coverage but what they do not tell you is that making an insurance claim is too difficult and frustrating that most would not even contest how much the insurance provider should cover for the repairs but just that they will pay whatever amount it is they can pay for. You do not want to be stuck in a long and tedious process of filing a water damage claim, and this is where the public adjusters come in. A public adjuster will ensure that your rights are protected, and that they will respect whatever is stipulated in the insurance policy. In order to protect yourself from the tactics of the insurance provider, you need to hire your own public adjuster. The public adjuster is authorized by the state to deal and negotiate in your behalf and get the most out of the policy you have paid for in protection of events like these.
Water Damage Restoration
When all the field inspections and evaluations have been made, the insurance provider will then order that a restoration team be sent to your home to assess and then carry out the replacement or restoration of the damaged area of the house. However, one has to be contented that the insurance provider will not pay for the replacement of all your hardwood floors, it will only cover the costs of repair and replacement of the damaged area. So if half of your floor in the kitchen have been damaged by the water leak, and you want to just replace the whole floor, please be aware that only half of the floors will be fixed by the insurance company, and you need to pay for the rest if you want it all replaced. This is also true for walls and other parts of the house that has visible water damage. Also, the insurance provider will permanently fix the problematic pipes but not all of the pipes in the house. If you do decide to have them removed and replaced, you need to shoulder all of the costs.
At times, the insurance provider will hire run of the mill workers or firms to save on costs of the restoration and this would often mean poorly done work. Since you need to make sure that your house is brought back to the way it was before the damage, your public adjuster can negotiate with the insurance provider that the firm who will do the restoration will be the choice of the policy holder. This is actually permitted but not encouraged as it will not generate enough revenue for the insurance company.
Types of Claims
There are certain conditions that the insurance company shy away from because it will cost them more money. If for example you are unable to live in your own house because of the repairs you can check and see if you have Additional Living Expense and or loss of use coverage which can be used by the policy holder to charge hotel expenses or food expenses. If the damage has ruined the kitchen and you are unable to prepare food in it, then you can ask the insurance company to pay for the meals you had to purchase while the repair was on going. Making a water damage claim is frustrating but with the right tools and support, nothing is frustrating enough to not be able to get through it.