If you are a homeowner or business owner and live in an area designated as a floodplain, you may have flood insurance. Or if you have water damage due to storms or broken pipes, your homeowner’s or business insurance may cover the damage. However, you may not know what to do in the event of water damage, and what to do if your insurance says it is not covered.
What Should I do if my Home Suffers Damage from Water Damage?
If your home suffers damage due to floods, windstorm and rain, or a burst pipe, your need to file water damage claim as soon as possible. Take photos of the damage and document anything that you see. If you’re standing in water, you’ll need to contact a contractor as soon as possible to try to mitigate the damage. If your home is unlivable, you’ll need to find accommodations. Everyone, it seems, has a phone with a camera. Put that to good use and take photos so that you can prove the extent of the damage, the cause of the damage, and what you did to try to prevent the damage (shut off the main water valve, etc.)
You will also need to get a professional contractor to evaluate the damage to your home. If there has been a lot flooding, it may take a while for the contractor to come by for an estimate. Again, do not wait to file the claim with an insurance company. Just document the damage the best you can and wait for the professional contractor to look at your house before you accept any settlement.
Never Rely on Your Insurance Adjustor’s Opinion or Estimate
Insurance companies dislike paying for water damages, and if you do not have flood insurance, they may try to deny your claim, even if there were other reasons for why you have water damage. If you do have flood insurance or the insurance company agrees to pay for the damages, great! But be wary. Although it’s tempting to take a check or agree to money, it’s important to realize that the insurance adjustor is not working for you, but working for the insurance, no matter what he or she says. This is why it is important to consult with an attorney who has experience in water damage insurance claims and who can recommend an independent contractor to evaluate the damage and the cost it will take to fix your home. The attorney may also advise you on what might be a fair settlement to fix your home’s damage or be able to negotiate your home’s replacement should your home be deemed uninhabitable.
Document As You Make Temporary Repairs
If you need to make temporary repairs on your home so you may live in it, or to prevent further damage, be sure to write down what you have done, and also take photographs of it. That includes things such as shutting off the water, boarding up broken windows, putting tarps on the roof to prevent leaks, and using a water pump to remove the water from your home. Should you have to have a contractor make repairs immediately, be sure to document and take photos before and after the repairs are made. You should be able to get reimbursement if you can prove the damage.
What If the Insurance Doesn’t Want to Pay, or Doesn’t Want to Pay to Fix All the Damage?
Many insurance companies would rather deny claims or underpay even if you have paid for coverage. Even if your home has Force-Placed Coverage, insurance companies may balk and come up with reasons to deny the claim or pay less. These insurance companies would rather blame independent contractors, professional appraisers, and claims consultants for the cost rather than look at how much it costs to repair or replace a home that has water damage.
Get the Compensation You Deserve
If your home has water damage, you deserve to have your home repaired or replaced when it does get damaged. You have paid insurance in good faith to ensure that you would have a home should this occur. Don’t let them bully you into taking less money or having no home after you had been flooded out. Call us today for a free consultation or fill out our free case evaluation form.