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Water Damage and Your Homeowners Insurance
Let’s get one thing out of the way right off…..homeowners insurance policies are extremely reluctant to pay for cases of water damage, and they won’t if it can in any way be proven that the damage was the result of neglect or lack of proper maintenance by the property owner. Some authorities on the subject advise caution when filing a water damage claim, that such claims, if unsubstantiated, may actually cause you to lose your insurance coverage.
That being said, what is the best way to handle a water damage problem and have the most likely chance of it being covered by insurance.
For starters, do what you can to minimize the damage. Locate the source of the water and shut it off. This not only prevents more water from coming in and causing additional damage to the property, it also allows you to discover the source of the problem, as well as determine if you are dealing with any contaminants such as those present in sewage related problems. Take pictures or video that properly documents the damage, making sure to include walls, ceilings, flooring, furniture and appliances, as well as the cause of the problem, be it a broken pipe or backed up toilet.
Check your homeowners insurance policy and see what it says about water damage. All policies are different. The time to do this is ideally before you have a problem, but most homeowners do not think of it until the problem has already occurred.
Contact the insurance company to find out what your options are in a case like this, providing a full and clear explanation of the water damage problem. Once a claim is filed, an adjuster will visit your property to make sure the claim is legit, and they can also help you in filing the claim for the water damage. Be sure to request copies of all material related to your claim, including the adjuster’s assessment.
Contact a Clean Trust certified water restoration provider such a Restoration Local to assess and begin repairs on the water damage problem, and be sure to obtain a detailed receipt of all services rendered. In many cases, the restoration company can submit the claim on your behalf, saving you innumerable headaches. If you choose to submit the claim yourself, then make sure you have all pertinent documentation needed to make your case.
If the extent of the water damage is not severe, it may be worth it to consider paying for the repair out of your own pocket. As mentioned earlier, insurance companies can be quite squirrely when it comes to water damage claims, and you don’t want to run the risk of having your coverage canceled. If you can pay for the damage repair out of your own pocket, it is a course of action to consider, saving your insurance for those times where it is undoubtedly needed.