No one wants to have to deal with serious water damage in their homes. Belongings can become damaged, the house may lose security, and you’ll likely have to find somewhere else to stay until you can restore normal living conditions. To make matters worse, trying to return the home to a satisfactory condition is frustrating. This is because you must navigate through lengthy processes with repair companies and your insurance provider. To help you navigate through such an unfortunate scenario, here is a guide on working with your insurance when dealing with water damage. Hopefully, you’ll gain a better understanding of water damage insurance claims and the actions to take and avoid while you try and obtain coverage funds.
Stop Additional Damage
The first thing you want to do is to prevent any more water damage from occurring in your home. Although attempting to begin repairs yourself can hurt your insurance claim, you can board up holes, windows, and doors that expose your interior to the outside. You should also turn off the water in your home and take any precious belongings out to a safe place. None of these measures will negatively affect your claim.
Inspect the Damage
Now that your home is a bit more secure, look around and see the extent and type of damage you have. You can record where most of it is and how areas of the home became broken or ruined. Write down everything involved with the destruction. This could include the collapse of structural components, deterioration due to mold, flooding, and even fire. Without moving anything, take pictures and/or videos of the water damage as proof for the insurance company that your home requires financial help to repair.
In addition, you need to write a detailed list of every damaged item you have in the house, complete with make and model, age, present condition, and monetary value. The insurance company will use this as it creates an estimate for how much money you will receive.
Now is also a good time to look up your policy and get an idea of what it includes. See if the plan covers your damages, whether they be flooding, mold, destroyed belongings, or an inoperable sewage system. By doing this, you’ll know what to expect when you start your claim and whether your insurance will cover the damages in the first place.
Begin the Claims Process
To start the claim, call your insurance provider and inform them of your water damage. Be ready to give them all your gathered information and thorough records of the situation. Your agent will be able to confirm whether you have coverage in this instance and direct you in the next steps of the process. Usually, you will need to submit a written notice to your insurance company to start the claim. This is where you can include the details of your water damage to them.
As you communicate back and forth with the company, it is also smart to keep your own record of what they have told you and the time at which they did so. Whenever you are speaking with a representative, ask for their name so you can refer to them in the future if the need arises. Organize all documents the insurance company sends you so you don’t lose important information and make copies of any documents that you send them as well. Your goal is to stay aware of everything so you can avoid problems or work to solve them if they do occur.
After receiving your notice for the water damage claim, your insurance company should get in touch with you within a couple of days. The agent should inform you of the next steps, as well as what they expect you to do. An adjuster will need to come in the next couple weeks to inspect your home, though there is no specific time at which they schedule their appearance.
Work with the Adjuster
Be ready to meet with the adjuster when they arrive at your home. They will examine your water damage and find the source of it to determine whether your insurance covers it. They will also ask questions about the disaster to clarify any vague points. In the end, the adjuster will come up with an amount of money that they believe the insurance company should pay you and negotiate your claim with your provider.
Note that you have options when it comes to the adjuster hired for the job. The insurance company can send its own adjuster or pay an independent one. Either way, these adjusters will work with the company’s best interest in mind, so they may be weaker negotiators for your interests. Instead of going with the company’s adjuster, you could alternatively hire a public adjuster. A public adjuster will work directly for you in the claim and likely fight better on your behalf as a result.
Receive Your Insurer’s Decision
At this point, your insurance provider will contact you and tell you if the insurance company accepted or rejected your claim. If they rejected the claim, they will describe the reasons for the decision to you and the process will end there. If they accepted the claim, they will give you an estimated amount for what they’ll pay you. Be aware that the estimate can change before you receive the money. They will then send the finalized amount to you, so you can begin repairs.
The amount should cover your water damages; however, remember the insurance company subtracts a fraction due to the depreciation of your home’s parts and items in question. The older they are, the less their current value will be to the company, and the less money they will give you to replace them. Some people also use the instance of water damage to improve the state of their home. If you decide to do this, you will have to pay for any costs that go over the amount your insurer gives you.
Call a Damage Repair Company
It’s best to have professionals handle water damage repairs, as they solve the issue to its roots and prevent future related problems. Find a reputable company that specializes in the type of repairs you need to get your home back into peak shape once again. For instance, should your water damage involve your basement or foundation, The Real Seal can address the problem effectively. Our team has extensive expertise in basement waterproofing and foundation repair.
If you need basement waterproofing in Chicago, contact The Real Seal today. We know how difficult the insurance process can be, and we want to ensure the repairs we complete go as smoothly as possible. With our mending methods, you also won’t have to worry about future water damage, as our work is meant to last.