Everybody should know how to best maximize their water damage claims. Whenever your ceiling starts to drip or your plumbing suddenly springs a leak, you should be eternally grateful that you have a homeowner’s insurance policy.
1. Minimize the Damage
As soon as you notice you have some water damage, make sure to take the necessary steps to limit this. Otherwise, your insurance company might have the right to deny all or some of your claims, based on the ground that you did not intervene to limit the damage.
As soon as possible, you should also contact the relevant professional, whether that is a restoration specialist, roofer, or plumber.
2. Gather Evidence
The insurance company is going to need evidence in order to assess your claim. Fortunately, this part has been made easy by smartphones. Take photographs of all of the damage. Make sure you are very comprehensive. Include anything that might have caused the damage as well, such as a hole in your roof or a broken pipe.
As a supplement to your photos, you might want to take a video as well.
3. Report It
It is time to call your insurance company now. Don’t delay doing that, or you could put your claim in jeopardy. Even if you think you will be making your own repairs calling right away will help save headaches in the future.
4. Is It Water Damage or Flood Damage?
There is a huge difference between water damage and flood damage to an insurance company. Floods from natural cause usually affect multiple houses (big rural properties can be an exception). Everything else, from leaking HVAC equipment to broken pipes, is water damage.
5. Consider Hiring A Public Adjuster
Be aware that the insurance claim process for water damage can be very slow. Your insurance company will have 15 days to get an adjuster sent out to assess your water damage. Usually, it is a better idea to hire a public adjuster, if possible, especially if you have a large claim.
6. Don’t Use The Insurance Company’s Vendors
After the insurance company has assessed your water damage, they have an additional 15 days to reach a decision on your claim. If all or some of the claim is approved, they have an additional 5 day to send your money to you.
During that time, your insurance company might try to get you to use their vendors. They have their own restoration experts, roofers, and plumbers that they trust. However, those professionals are getting their work through an insurance company. Therefore they are most likely to support the best interests of the insurance company instead of yours.