If you’ve experienced water damage in your home, the event can be stressful enough. So of course it is in your best interest to minimize this stress by taking the best approach to handle the aftermath of the damage. Here are five tips to make your water damage insurance claim more successful and less problematic.
Avoid Saying “Flood” or “Flooded” When Describing Your Damage
This tip is for the sake of playing it safe. No standard homeowners insurance policy covers floods, so you must protect yourself by making sure that you don’t describe any water damage as a flood or the consequence of a flood. Even if you do have an adjuster that uses common sense in understanding the damage description, a misunderstanding might take months to clarify and leaves you at a financial disadvantage.
Be Selective Of What You Clean Up
This tip is actually related to the previous one. If there’s clear evidence that your damage was caused by storm, leave everything in place if possible. However, this has to be balanced with the need to “mitigate the loss” to limit further damage. If in doubt, avoid any action that lead the insurer to question the true cause of the damage. If you have to repair something or move it, take photos as proof. This leads us into our next tip.
Take Plenty Of Photos
With smartphone technology, this is now easier than ever. Carefully document the content damages as well as your efforts to mitigate the loss. The insurance adjuster will likely take pictures as well, ultimately telling the whole story through the combination of photos. If the “after” photos of the water damage can be compared to “before” photos, you have a stronger case in the event that there’s a dispute over the conditions of the damaged content before the event.
Fully Document Any Involvement By Other Parties
If your water damage was caused by the actions of another person, be sure to document their vital information and what happened. Get their name, contact information, contractor license number, insurance company name and policy number, etc. If any vehicle caused the water flow or was damaged by it, get the license number and VIN number, if possible. If your water damage was caused by others, their insurance has the responsibility of paying for it, so you may get your deductible back from your insurance carrier.
Temporary Housing Expectations
Find out what your insurance company will pay for temporary housing and meals if you have to leave your home while it is being restored from damage. Do this either well in advance of the water damage or during your first call to your insurer’s claim department. This “loss of use” compensation is often capped at 20% of your total coverage, but make sure you get a firm number from your insurer so you know what to expect. Keep detailed records of your spending from the time of your evacuation to when you make the return home.
These tips will help you properly handle your water damage insurance situation in the best way possible. In addition to using the outlined tips and practicing good judgment you also want to have effective legal assistance. Grun & Associates is an experienced law firm that can help you get the money you’re owed from the insurance.