Dodging the Domino Effect: Working with Your Insurance after Water DamageDodging the Domino Effect: Working with Your Insurance after Water Damage
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Dodging the Domino Effect:
Working with Your Insurance after Water Damage

TUESDAY, JULY 19, 2016

aking up to find water damage is no fun at all. You should be ready for water damage, since you don't know when it might happen. First thing to do is make sure you're covered by your insurance policy, and the second thing is to know what to do if water damage happens.

Water damage sucks, no matter how prepared you are

Imagine the scenario - The alarm goes off. You pull yourself out of bed, yawning, your eyelids closing. Coffee. You need coffee. You make your way to the kitchen, and stop in your tracks.

That squishy sound isn't supposed to be there. And why are your socks wet? There's a huge puddle covering the floor, and you're not even sure where the water came from. You had other plans today, but that hardly matters now. Right now, there is a big mess and if you don't take care of it soon, the mess will be even bigger. Better solve this water damage problem ASAP.

How do you start handling water damage?

You need to act quickly to control damages. First, close the water main. That will stop the water flowing. Then, reach out to your insurance agent. You need to know if your homeowners' insurance covers water damage, and how to get the insurance company to cover the damage you are entitled to. If the damage is severe, you'll need to go through the full process - insurance adjuster, inventory lists, water damage restoration company- all this just to get your property back to its original condition.

Let's go over a few things that you need to keep in mind when dealing with an insurance company and a water damage claim.

Who do you contact to handle the water damage?

You should start by contacting your insurance agent, especially if you're not sure if you're covered. The agent should be able to explain exactly what you paid for in your insurance policy and what you are entitled to receive. In addition, they have experience with this situation, and they'll be able to explain what to expect.

What is the extent of the water damage?

This is an important question, since it will affect the rest of the process. If you believe the water damage is small, you may not want to go through the insurance company's process because of your deductible (more on this in the next section). If you believe the damage is deeper than what you see on the surface, you'd better get a professional opinion from a water damage expert.

Water Damages Extent

What is your deductible?

This is a really important question. The deductible is the amount you agreed to pay out of pocket for a claim, before the insurance coverage kicks in. If the water damage is small, the repair of the damage may cost less than your deductible. If you fear there is serious damage, you probably need insurance to pay for it, as the costs of the restoration could be surprisingly high. You can consult with a water damage restoration technician who can tell you more about it.

What does your insurance cover?

What is covered depends on your policy, so it is important to make sure that you know what the exclusions are. Policies don't always cover everything you need. Most policies will cover sudden causes of water damage (a burst pipe for example) but won't cover gradual water damage (e.g. a leaky roof or window). If you're not sure if your damage is covered, check with your agent.

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Will they cover everything?

Probably not. However, if you prove damage was caused by the current incident, the insurance may cover it. You should consult with your restoration contractor to find out what needs to be done to restore your property and how much it will cost. They can also give you advice on how to proceed with the insurance company.

Why should you make sure the damage is fixed right the first time?

This is an important point. Water damage tends to worsen over the time. The longer you wait to fix it, the more damage occurs. It's like knocking down a line of dominoes - future damages can be caused by damages from the current incident, especially if they are not handled now. Rotting, mold, and other effects of water damage may be discovered later, just because the water damage wasn't handled properly the first time. That's why it is important to use a good and reliable water damage restoration company. If your insurance company connects you with a restoration company who you don't wish to proceed with, you have the option to choose a different one. Always remember you have the option to choose whichever restoration company you're most comfortable with and trust they'll do the job best.

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So will my insurance cover the water damage?

There is no straight answer. The truth is you won't know for sure what is covered until the damage happens. It depends on many factors, your policy, the damage, the cause etc. We hope you take away from this article the following three points:

  1. It's important to have property insurance and to know what your policy covers.
  2. You don't have to use the contractor recommended by your insurance company. You have the right to choose which restoration company will restore your property after water damage. Look for a reliable and trustworthy company you would like to work with.
  3. Water damage only gets worse the longer it is left untreated. Our advice? Call a trusted water damage restoration company as soon as you can to start the restoration.

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