Homeowner's insurance policies often cover a wide variety of events that cause damage to your home and property. Among these, water damage is a common problem experienced by homeowners. Whether the water damage is because of a faulty appliance or severe weather, the extent of damage can be quite significant. Before filing a water damage insurance claim, it is important to take several steps to ensure a successful claims process.
Locate the cause of the water leak and evaluate the water damage done to your home. Be sure to thoroughly check all areas near the damage, as water can easily seep into other areas. Take pictures documenting the damage. Include pictures of any walls, ceilings, floor, furniture or appliances damaged. Also include pictures of the cause of the water leak, such as a broken pipe, backed-up sewer or leaking washing machine.
Review your insurance documentation to determine your insurer's policy on water damage. Each policy is different, so it is important to thoroughly understand the details of your water damage coverage.
Contact your insurance company and speak with a representative regarding your situation. Explain the situation and the extent of water damage. If you choose to file a claim, your insurance company likely will send an insurance claims adjuster to your location. The adjuster will view and assess the damage on behalf of the insurance company. The adjuster also should provide you with instructions on filing an insurance claim for the water damage. Request a copy of the adjuster's assessment.
Contact a water cleanup and restoration company to assess and repair the water damage. Request that the restoration technicians provide a detailed receipt of the services they provide. The restoration company may offer to submit your water damage claim to your insurance company for you. If you have been pleased with the company's service so far and trust them, allow them to submit the paperwork directly. If not, continue to Step 5.
Gather all documentation, including the pictures of the water damage, the insurance adjuster's assessment and the detailed receipt from the restoration company. Review your insurance policy to determine whether any other materials need to be included with your claim. If so, gather these items as well. Make copies of all documents to keep in your records at home.
Submit the insurance claim through your insurance company's preferred method. In some cases, this may simply involve completing a variety of forms and mailing them in, along with your documentation, to the insurance company's claims office. In other cases, however, your insurance company may request that you visit an office and speak with a representative to submit your claim. Regardless of the method, be sure to submit all documentation and required materials with the claim.
Keep in mind that many insurance companies are extremely hesitant to approve claims for water damage. In fact, according to an article from MSN Money, submitting a water damage claim may actually put you at risk for losing your coverage. If the extent of water damage is not severe, you might want to consider paying for it out of pocket to avoid the hassle and risk associated with the claim.