5 steps to filing a water damage insurance claim
Water damage claims and water freezing claims are the second most common homeowners insurance claims made in the United States. Whether it's the refrigerator or a leaking roof, we're here to help when water damages your home. Follow these 5 simple steps to file a water damage insurance claim.
Step 1: Prevent additional water damage—stop the source.
Take whatever steps you can to prevent additional damage. For example, if the source of the water is a leaky pipe, turn off the water at the main shut-off valve to your house, and begin your own preliminary clean-up efforts.
Step 2: Take pictures of the water damage.
Before you remove any standing water, snap a few photos or record a video to email us later. This will provide a record of the damage, which helps move your claim along more quickly. You can also share the photos and video with the adjuster when he or she arrives at your house.
Step 3: Give us a call to file a water damage insurance claim.
Get in touch with us as soon as you can – don't wait. When you call it's helpful if you have your policy number available. We'll confirm your coverage, deductible, what happened, the damage to your home and damage to any personal belongings in your home.
You may wonder, "Does home insurance cover water damage?" Coverage varies depending on the cause of the water. Storm-related damage may be covered, but water backing up from a sump or drain usually is not covered unless you purchased a Water Backup and Sump Overflow endorsement.
During our discussion, we'll explain the claims process. If needed, we may assign an adjuster to meet with you to inspect your home to determine if the water damage is related to a recent, specific event or if it was actually long-term damage. The adjuster will contact you within 48 hours to schedule the inspection. After the inspection, we'll work with you to set a timeline for repairs to your home.
If you have a mortgage, it is also helpful to have your mortgage information handy. We'll need to include the mortgage company on any payments to repair your home.
Step 4: Get professional help with water damage clean-up.
We can help you find a contractor in your area if you need professional assistance cleaning up the damage and/or preventing additional damage (for example, if you need someone to put a tarp on your roof). If the loss is covered by the policy, the contractor's cost is generally covered, minus the cost of your deductible. Be sure to keep any receipts for an emergency contractor's water damage clean-up work to submit for reimbursement.
A professional contractor can help you formally determine the cause of the water damage, and help you understand what is necessary to fix it. If a faulty appliance caused the damage, don't throw it out. We may need it as evidence. It will also be helpful to find the receipt, owner's manual and/or repair invoices for the item, if available.
A contractor or appraiser does not have the authority to determine coverage, approve payments or begin repairs. Do not begin any large-scale structural changes before initiating your claim and meeting with your adjuster.
Step 5: Log personal property affected by water damage.
We'll ask you to complete an online log of the personal property lost to water damage as well as a statement outlining the damage to your home. Provide us with the year, make and model of any items lost and the cost of repairing the item or replacing it with a similar item. We may also ask you to submit original receipts, credit card statements, owner's manuals or appraisals of the property to verify ownership.
Once you've started your claim, we'll process it as quickly as possible, and we'll work with you to create a timeline for repairs. If you ever have water damage to your home, give us a call us as soon as possible to start your water damage insurance claim.
Source: "Homeowners and Renters Insurance." III. Insurance Information Institute, n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2016. <http://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/homeowners-and-renters-insurance>.