Water damage is very messy and can be difficult to deal with. In addition to learning how to handle the damage, it is important to learn how to avoid losing money. Here are some water damage claim tips to help you through the process.
Call Your Insurance As Soon After the Disaster Occurs
The first tip is to notify your insurance company when you notice the disaster occurred and/or damage has taken place.
Most homeowners insurance companies ask the homeowner to give “ notice” (usually within 24 hours) when the damage has occurred. If you do not to report the problem or start fixing things yourself 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.
Many insurance companies have a 24/7 claim line. Seven days a week, 24 hours a day … make the call!
Next, Stop, Drop and Roll! Oh, Wait – This is Water Damage!
Another common requirement is to prevent further damage to your property. When you notice the water damage, if possible, you need to do something to reduce the damage (without endangering yourself, of course).
If your insurance company realizes that more damage occurs because you didn’t take steps to reduce the damage by taking a simple action, then your claim may be not be paid.
You can reduce damage by:
- Removing any standing water left behind
- Drying the affected areas, towels, windows, fans
- Boarding up doors or windows to prevent the ingress of water in the case of flash floods
- Removing property from the water to prevent further damage
While performing these tasks, keep in mind that you should not throw anything away, nor should you alter the scene until the insurance company’s adjuster comes and inspects your property.
Take Photographs and Write Out an Inventory
Make sure there’s evidence of the damage that occurred to your property. After you’ve done a basic cleanup and secured 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 always to have more evidence than you think you need. Remember to keep records of all communications between you and your adjuster while you’re at it.
Your photographs should be accompanied by an inventory that includes the following:
- Description of the item
- Make and model number of the items destroyed
- 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.
Find Temporary Housing
Sometimes water damage can be nasty to look at, deadly to breathe in, and can be a sign that something worse is coming. It can lead to mold and structural issues.
If your home is not safe, then you may need to find some sort of temporary housing. And, if your home is going to be unlivable for a long period of time, then your insurance company may be responsible to reimburse you for lodging expenses while your home is being fixed.
Need Help? Consider a Public Adjuster
Let’s say that your home has suffered serious damage –for example, over $10,000 in damages. Hiring a public adjuster may be very beneficial.
A public adjuster is a licensed adjuster who represents both homeowners and business owners like you rather than an insurance company. 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.
Call Aftermath Adjusters & Consulting today if you’ve had water damage. We would love to help you get the compensation you deserve.