Water Damage Insurance Claim Tips and What You Need to Know
Published: April 30, 2021
When water damage strikes your home, stress levels may skyrocket. Dealing with the insurance claim process can seem overwhelming, but you’re not alone. According to the Insurance Information Institute, water damage is one of the most common causes of home insurance claims, second only to wind and hail damage claims.
While an insurance adjuster will be able to help you with the specifics of your policy, we’ve put together some water damage insurance claim tips. They can help you understand the insurance claim process better and help keep the stress to a minimum if the unthinkable does happen.
Types of Water Damage Commonly Covered by Home Insurance
A common question on every homeowner’s mind is “what type of water damage is covered by homeowners insurance?” Thankfully, there are many types of water damage commonly covered by standard home insurance, including:
- Water overflow caused by faulty appliances
- Sudden or accidental water discharge, such as a burst pipe
- Water damage caused by severe weather, such as a tree falling on your roof during a storm
Some types of water damage that may not be covered by a standard home insurance policy include:
- Gradual damage caused by lack of routine maintenance, such as a leaky toilet or pipes
- Sewer back-up, septic back-up, and sump-pump overflow
- Flood damage
The average homeowner’s insurance policy doesn’t cover floods and might not cover other types of water damage either. If you plan ahead and purchase a separate flood insurance policy, you may also be covered for water damage caused by a broken pipe, sewer backup, or failed drainage tiles. If you’re dealing with flood damage at home, learn more about the flood insurance claims process.
It’s important to know exactly what your homeowner’s insurance policy does and doesn’t cover water damage, so always check your policy first.
What to Do Before Filing a Water Damage Insurance Claim
After informing your insurance company of the water damage to your home, you may immediately want to start a claim to get the money needed to do the repair. However, it’s important to take a few steps beforehand to ensure that no further damage happens to your property.
- Ensure that all people inside of your home are safe and accounted for
- Turn off the water from the source or the main supply to avoid further damage
- Take your surviving valuables away from the affected area
- Board up doors or window to prevent more water from entering
- Remove standing water (if safe)
- Dry the affected area to the best of your ability
- Take photos/video of the damage
Even if the damage seems minor, you may need the services of a trusted water mitigation company to prevent further damage from affecting your home. Our experts will be available to remove water, tarp up holes in your roof, or take any other precautions to ensure further damage does not occur.
What Not to Do While Filing a Water Damage Insurance Claim
When dealing with a high-stress situation, you may find yourself following advice from well-meaning friends or family. Unfortunately, some recommendations may not help your claim and could lead to future problems. These include:
Throwing damaged items away
During the inspection, the insurance company will need to analyze the evidence of your water damage claim. You may have a desire to throw away damaged items but only do so after being authorized by the insurance company in writing. If you do throw away these items, you may not be compensated for those items during your claims process.
Making repairs before you have the approval
During the inspection, your insurance company will make note of what repairs will be needed and the estimated cost. If you begin repairs without prior approval, you risk not having the repairs covered. Larger damage will often require more time, so patience is needed to ensure that you get covered for the full cost to repair any damage fully and properly.
Using the vendors suggested by the insurance company
When the area has been inspected, your insurance company will often provide a list of vendors that they work with. While it may be tempting to use the first vendor that you see on the list, it’s important to do your own research and find a company that you feel is best equipped for the job, has extensive experience, and is known for being reliable. Vendors that work with the insurance adjuster may have deals that may not represent your best interests. By taking the additional time to research, you’ll ensure that the job gets done right the first time and in a timely fashion.
How to Avoid Having a Water Damage Claim Denied
While water damage claims cannot be guaranteed, there are a variety of steps you can take to ensure the likelihood of your claim being approved in the future. These include:
- Ensuring that your homeowners’ insurance policy has the coverage you need
- Making sure that you understand the policy exclusions (remember, insurers want your business – don’t be afraid to ask any and all questions until you feel comfortable)
- Hiring a professional to do regular inspections of your home to ensure no problems exist
- Ensure regular maintenance of your home throughout the year to avoid large and costly expenses in the future
- Keep a log of repairs done to your home in case of another disaster