A Complete Rundown On How To Get Insurance To Pay For Water Damage In 9 Easy Steps
Updated: May 24
If you've ever had water damage in your home, you know how devastating it can be. Not only is the damage itself costly and inconvenient to deal with, but trying to get your insurance company to pay for it can be an uphill battle.
The good news is, with a little knowledge and some proactive steps, you can get your insurance company to cover the costs of repair and/or restoration. Here's a complete rundown on how to get insurance to pay for water damage in 9 easy steps.
1. Identify the source of the water damage
This may seem like an obvious step, but it is one that many homeowners overlook. For example, if there is a leak in the roof, it is important to note whether the leak was caused by hail damage or by a faulty shingle. Insurance policies often have different levels of coverage for different types of water damage, so it is important to be as specific as possible when identifying the source.
If the source of the water damage is unknown, it may be necessary to hire a professional to assess the situation.
Additionally, any documentation or photos of the water damage should also be gathered for insurance claims. This can help prove that the damage was due to specific events. Once the source is identified, it will be much easier to proceed with filing a claim and getting coverage from your insurance provider.
2. Determine what type of water damage is covered by your home insurance
One of the most common questions we get from clients is whether or not their homeowners insurance will cover water damage. The answer, unfortunately, is not always cut and dry. Homeowners insurance typically covers sudden and accidental water damage, such as a pipe burst or a leaking roof. However, flood damage is usually not covered by standard homeowners insurance policies.
If you live in an area that is prone to flooding, you will likely need to purchase flood insurance separately. Some companies offer both homeowners and flood insurance policies, while others require that you purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). In most cases, you must purchase flood insurance if your home is located in a high-risk flood zone as determined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Flood insurance is specifically designed to cover flood damage and is usually required if you live in a floodplain. If you're not sure whether your home insurance policy covers flood damage, check with your insurer or agent. You may also want to purchase a separate flood insurance policy if you live in an area that's at risk for flooding but not considered a floodplain. Even if you don't live in a floodplain, your home could still be damaged by a flash flood or river overflow.
Internal sources covered by Homeowners Insurance:
a broken pipe
leaking air conditioner
overflowing washing machine
External sources covered by Homeowners Insurance:
damaged leaking roof
falling tree limb causing damage to the home
firefighting efforts resulting in water damage
That being said, there are some instances where water damage may be excluded from coverage, even if it is not flood-related. For example, if your home sustains extensive water damage due to a slow leak that you were aware of but did not take steps to fix, your insurer may deny your claim. Or if your home is damaged by sewage backup or groundwater, you may also find yourself without coverage.
Water damages usually NOT covered by Home Insurance:
gradual ongoing water damage (leaking roofs, pipes, etc.)
flooding from seas and rivers
Determine if you need additional coverage for water damage
Depending on the type and extent of damage, your homeowners insurance policy may not be enough. In some cases, you may want to consider additional coverage for water damage. For example, if you have valuable items that could be damaged by water such as computers, jewelry, or fine art, you may want to consider an additional policy that provides coverage for these items.
If you are unsure of the extent to which your current policy covers you, it is always best to talk to your insurance provider or agent and make sure you understand the details of your policy. They can answer any questions you have and help you decide if additional coverage is necessary.
So what does all of this mean for you, does your homeowners insurance cover water damage? If you're concerned, the best thing to do is talk to your agent or insurer and ask specific questions about what is and is not included in your policy. Moreover, if you live in an area that's prone to flooding, make sure that you are properly protected with flood insurance through the national flood insurance program.
3. Contact your home insurance representative to file a claim
If your home has experienced water damage, it's important to contact your insurance representative as soon as possible to begin the claims process. Be sure to have all the pertinent documentation readily available, including photos of the damage, your policy number and a copy of the police report (if applicable).
Next, you will need to provide a detailed account of the incident, including when it occurred and how much damage was sustained. Your insurance representative will use this information to assess the extent of the damage and determine whether or not your policy covers it. If it does, a claim file will be opened and the investigation process will begin.
List of information necessary to file a claim:
Pictures of the damage to your home and any damaged items
A list of damaged or lost items, including approximate value
An estimate or bill for repairs
Receipts for any emergency repair work already completed
The name and contact information of any contractors working on the project
Your policy number
A police report, if applicable
From there, your insurer will likely send an insurance adjuster to assess the damage and determine the extent of your personal property coverage. Once the adjuster has prepared a report, you will need to submit it along with a signed proof of loss form. You may also be asked to provide other documentation, such as receipts for repairs or temporary housing expenses. The water damage insurance claims process can be quite complex, but working closely with your insurance representative will help ensure that everything is handled correctly.
Keep in mind that every insurance policy is different, so it's important to understand the terms of your particular policy, and even if your insurance does cover water damage, there may be certain exclusions or limits on the amount they're willing to pay. Thus, it's still important to get a few quotes from reputable contractors before proceeding with repairs.
4. Document the damage with photos and/or video
When dealing with water damage, it's important to document the extent of the problem as soon as possible. Taking photos or video of the damaged area can help your insurance adjuster assess the situation and determine if you will be eligible for coverage.
Be sure to take pictures from various angles that clearly show any standing water, structural damage, or other signs of water damage. It's also a good idea to write down the serial numbers of any damaged electronics or appliances so that you can provide this information to your insurer. Remember to keep receipts of any work that has already been done or supplies purchased in order to make the repairs.
Finally, if the damage is extensive, you may want to consider hiring a professional inspector to document the extent of the problem and help ensure that you receive full compensation for all repairs.
5. Work with an independent insurance agent
In some cases, you may find that it's helpful to work with an independent insurance agent who can advise you on the best course of action and help you understand your policy. An experienced agent will be familiar with the claims process and can assess any potential gaps in coverage that could cause a problem down the line. An independent insurance agent can also make sure your claim is filed correctly and provide advice on which contractors or suppliers to use for repairs.
By taking the time to work closely with your insurer and an independent agent, you can make sure that all relevant information is included in your claim and that any potential issues are addressed quickly. This will help guarantee that you receive the full benefits of your policy and can get back to normal life as soon as possible.
6. Keep records of all correspondence with your insurer
Throughout the claims process, it's important to keep detailed records of all communication between you and your insurance provider. This includes phone records, emails, and any other form of communication.
Keeping track of all communications will help ensure that you are able to provide accurate information when filing a claim and can make it easier for the insurer to process your claim quickly. It's also important to make sure that the information in your claim is accurate, as inaccurate or incomplete claims may be denied by the insurer.
7. Get an estimate for the repairs and submit it to your insurance company
Once you have submitted your claim to the insurance company, it's important to get an estimate for the cost of repairs. You will need to provide this information to your insurer in order for them to determine if they will cover the damages under your policy.
Before you start calling around for estimates, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First, your insurance company will likely only reimburse you for repairs done by a licensed contractor. Second, most insurance companies require that you get multiple estimates before they will approve payment. And finally, it's important to get the estimate in writing so that there's no confusion about what work needs to be done.
Although it may take some time, soliciting multiple estimates is the best way to guarantee you're getting the most affordable price for repairs. When you're talking to contractors, be sure to ask if they have experience with water damage repair. You'll also want to get an idea of what kinds of materials they'll be using and how much it will cost.
Once you have a few estimates, compare them side-by-side to see which one is the best value. Then, submit the estimate to your insurance company along with a detailed description of the damage. With a little effort and some luck, they'll approve the repairs and you can get your home back to normal in no time.
8. Get repairs done by a licensed and insured contractor
Once your insurance company has approved the repairs, you'll need to find a qualified contractor who is licensed and insured. Make sure that the contractor abides by local building codes and that they are experienced with water damage repairs. It's also important to ask for references and check those before you hire anyone.
The contractor should be able to provide an accurate estimate of how long the repairs will take and what materials they'll use. It's important to make sure that you understand exactly what is included in the estimate before signing a contract. Once everything is in agreement, you can sign the contract and begin the process of repairing the damage.
This process will typically involve removing any wet materials, such as drywall or carpeting, and then drying out the area with fans or dehumidifiers. Once everything is dry, they'll start the process of rebuilding, which may include installing new drywall or flooring. Depending on the extent of the damage, the entire process could take several days or even weeks to complete. Once the repairs are finished, you will need to have the area inspected by your insurance company to ensure that everything was done properly.
9. Get the settlement you deserve
Once the repairs are complete, you should receive a settlement from your insurance company. This will cover the cost of the repairs, as well as any additional items that were damaged in the process. However, it's important to remember that your insurance company is not obligated to pay for all damages or even provide a full settlement. In some cases, they may dispute the cost of certain repairs or items.
If this happens, you will need to work with your insurer to get an adequate settlement that covers all of the damages. You may need to submit additional evidence, such as receipts for materials used in the repair process. If necessary, as mentioned prior, you could even hire a professional public adjuster who specializes in dealing with insurance companies to help you get the most out of the settlement.
Once you receive a satisfactory settlement, it's important to make sure that all repairs have been made correctly and that no additional damages were caused in the process. If everything looks good, you can put this unpleasant experience behind you and move on with your life.
Following these steps should ensure that you get the most out of your water damage insurance claim and that you're able to quickly and efficiently repair any water damage in your home. Just make sure to stay organized and communicate with all parties involved in order to prevent any misunderstandings or delays.
Check for any additional damage after the first round of repairs is complete
In addition to getting the right settlement, it's important to always double-check for damages after the initial repairs are done. After all, water damage can often cause more than one issue at a time. If you notice anything that looks suspicious or out of place, contact your insurance company immediately so they can investigate further and determine if any additional repairs are necessary. Doing so will help ensure that your water damage doesn't become an ongoing issue.
Submit proof of completion to your insurer
Once the water damage repairs are complete, you should submit proof of completion to your insurer. This may include photographs or videos of the repaired area, as well as any receipts for materials used in the repair process. Your insurer will then review this evidence and decide if they need to make any additional payments to cover any additional costs that weren’t initially included in the settlement.
If your insurer is unsatisfied with the repairs or finds that additional damages were caused during the repair process, they may decide to issue a new settlement to cover these costs. In some cases, your insurer may even decide to cover the costs of a professional inspection to ensure that all repairs were done correctly and that no additional damages were caused. This can be a great way to protect yourself from any unnecessary expenses in the future.
Hire a professional
Restoration Done LLC is one of the most experienced and trusted restoration companies in Washington. Our team of experts can provide you with a full assessment and fast, reliable repair services to get your home back to its pre-damage condition in no time. Additionally, we work with all major insurance companies to help ensure that you get the most out of your water damage claims so you can rest easy knowing that everything is taken care of.
We offer a wide range of services, including water extraction, drying, and cleanup. Our team also provide 24/7 emergency services, so you can always count on us to be there when you need it.
If you have any questions about our water damage repair services or would like to schedule a consultation, don't wait - contact us today!