Handling a water damage claim can be an expensive and time-consuming ordeal. Since home owner’s insurance policies often do not cover water damage claims, water damage claims can also be a hassle. Most home owner’s insurance policies will not cover flood damage. However, there are separate policies available for these types of water damage claims, like the flood policy from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
It is also sometimes possible to add coverage to an existing home owner’s policy. However, since most people are not covered by any kind of flood insurance, it would normally be necessary to file a water damage claim.
What to do After Water Damage
After the water damage occurs, the first thing a person should do is try to stop all water flow and leaks as soon as possible. Remove any pools of water that have collected and start drying all the wet areas to help prevent any further damage. If this is too difficult, a water extraction company can be called for help. Make sure to keep the receipts since these are helpful for water damage claims. Also, make sure to give the water extraction company your insurance company information.
Filing Water Damage Claims
Let the insurance company know about water damage claims as soon as possible. There is often a toll-free number that insurance holders can call to file claims. A written notice to the insurance company is also a good idea. There are several other ideas that can help the process to go more smoothly.
First, review the insurance policy to understand what is actually covered through insurance. There are websites available that can also provide insurance information for many policies, such as the Office of Public Insurance Counsel (OPIC). A policy number will be necessary when answering questions from the insurance company.
Pictures and video are also helpful for filing water damage claims. These should be documented before any costly repairs have been made so that the insurance adjuster can report them. Do not throw out any damaged property until it is fully documented by the insurance adjuster. The only repairs that are immediately necessary are to prevent further damage to the home. Do not make any large structural changes or permanent repairs until the insurance company has reviewed it.
Keep track of all spending made for repairs by keeping any receipts. It is also a good idea to keep a list of all the insurance representatives that are spoken to about water damage claims. Maintain copies of letters and all other documents that are sent to and from the insurance company.
The Water Damage Claims Process
After filing water damage claims, the insurance company will usually respond within two days. The insurance company will explain their process and the responsibilities of the home owner. The insurance company must begin investigating any water damage claims within 15 days after receiving written notice. The insurance company will also probably need to inquire about additional information.
After water damage claims are processed, the company has 15 days to either accept or reject water damage claims. If the insurance company will cover the claim, they must pay within 5 business days. If the insurance company decides to reject any water damage claims, they must explain their reasons in writing. This process might require some extra time if there was a disaster in the area and it is not yet deemed safe.
Settling Water Damage Claims
Insurance companies must send a check for water damage claims within 5 business days after being filed. They will often send out two checks for water damage claims. The first check will be for the estimated cost of repairs made by the insurance adjuster, minus the depreciation and deductible. The second check will be sent after the insurance company receives the contractor’s bill for the repairs outlined by the water damage claim. Repairs must be completed within an allotted amount of time.
“Handling Water-Damage Claims.” Texas Department of Insurance. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Sep 2013. <http://www.tdi.texas.gov/pubs/consumer/cb074.html>.
Sage, Bobbie. “Water Damage to Your Home.” About – Personal Insurance. N.p.. Web. 11 Sep 2013. <http://personalinsure.about.com/od/preventio1/a/aa052007a.htm>.