As a water damage restoration clean up professional for over 22 years, getting use to how a claim is made by a homeowner when they have water damage is easy. But most homeowners have no idea how or who to call when they have a water damage or flood damage issue.
When a call comes in for a water damage or flood damage most homeowners will ask the obvious question “how much do you charge for your services”
Any contractor that gives any answer is fooling the customer do to the fact that every water damage or flood situation is different.
The first question that will usually come out of the mouths of experienced and qualified water damage restoration companies (notice I didn’t say carpet cleaners who also do water damage clean up) do you have insurance. Most homeowners will say yes, but I am not sure if the company will cover the damage.
Here are some steps and tips on how to proceed in finding out first if the insurance company will pay for your damage.
Look for your insurance papers (documents) that you received from your insurance agent and look for the phone number that contacts the claims office of your insurance company. Sometimes even the agents themselves have trouble digging through the paper work to find the claims phone number. The best suggestion is to look on the internet for your insurance companies claim number. It’s usually easy to find on the first page of the site.
Before calling understand the insurance language. The insurance company person on the phone that you will discuss your possible water damage claim is called an adjuster. Your damage is referred to as a claim,peril or a loss. I know loss sounds strange but that’s the language that is used. There maybe someone who will come to your house from the insurance company and that person is also called an adjuster. The documents or paper work that was given to you originally by your agent is called a policy. The policy is your contract and in most cases clearly spells out what is covered and what is not. That leads us to the word covered that I just mentioned. The word covered is used when the insurance company accepts responsibility to pay the costs of the damage of the items that were damages by the water damage and the clean up costs and repair costs of home items like drywall, carpet.
When talking to the adjuster on the phone don’t talk to much. Just keep it simple with just the facts. As honest as you are, insurance company adjusters are not out to deny every claim as everyone thinks. There are state and federal laws that the insurance companies must follow, so the insurance companies work on proof.To keep it easy get proof of why the water damage happened like a bill or written statement from a plumber or the city or county of why something happened. Pictures are great and your dishwasher or washer machine appliance repairman will be your best friend to prove to the insurance company your damage is a “covered loss.”
These days insurance companies will suggest a water damage restoration company to come out and mitigate the damage. Mitigate is the term that is used to clean up and stop further damage from happening. Most insureds (that’s you the homeowner) believe that the water damage clean up work will be guaranteed because the company mentioned their name. Actually the company only suggests and will not back up any companies work. Remember that you the homeowner has the legal right to use anyone you want to.
Contacting the insurance company to make a claim can be nerve racking to some homeowners. Just remember to be calm and relay the facts.