After enduring freezing temperatures in Horry County in March this year, most of us know and understand how typical water damage is for homeowners. Yup, extreme winter weather in South Carolina and around the country can result in snow and frost, leading to frozen and burst pipes. In fact, according to the Insurance Information Institute, about one in 50 homes file a water damage insurance claim every year.
Although this information makes us feel less alone in dealing with water damage to our homes, what would help us feel better is knowing with 100% certainty that your water damage insurance claim will be approved. None of us need to be spending our hard-earned savings on household plumbing repairs, especially since we have homeowners insurance.
Luckily, most home insurance policies cover water leak damage, but there are some exceptions. It’s crucial to know the particulars of your policy and exactly what it covers. This post looks at what insurers generally cover and tips for filing a water damage insurance claim to help you understand the insurance claim process.
What Water Damage is not Covered by Insurance?
The type of policy you have will determine whether your specific water damage issue is covered. Most home or renter insurance policies cover water damage, but it will depend on the water damage source and whether the water issue was sudden or gradual. Gradual water damage is usually not included because this would mean that it was not an accidental or sudden issue that caused the disaster.
What is gradual water damage? It’s water damage that happens slowly over time, implying that you have not adequately maintained your water supply or plumbing. Examples of gradual deterioration include mold, rot, corrosion, deteriorating electrical wiring, leaking plumbing over time that damages walls and floors, cracks in the foundation or exterior of your home causing water seepage, general lack of home repairs, and damaged parts on the roof.
Regularly repairing and maintaining your home ensures your home is always in tip-top shape and not about to worsen and fall apart. If this is not part of your homeowner list of priorities, it’s time you made it one. It’s vital, as a homeowner, to create a regular maintenance schedule, especially for those top-priority parts of your home, like plumbing.
Tips for Filing a Water Damage Insurance Claim
Alert your insurer
Document the damage
Set aside damaged items
Find a suitable vendor
The negotiation process
File a home insurance claim with your insurer as soon as you come across water damage, and meet with an adjuster as quickly as you can. Remember, if there has been a natural disaster or severe weather conditions throughout the county, everyone will need help from their insurer. The sooner you start the ball rolling, the sooner you can receive a check for the repairs required to get your life back on track—one thing you shouldn’t do too soon, though, is starting to make repairs without approval. You don’t want to have begun with your home’s repairs only to be told insurance won’t be covering the costs. Read our helpful prep tips for filing an insurance claim.
The more evidence you have of the water damage to your home, the better. Take videos and photos of everything, including every item that has been damaged, not just the property damage itself. If you can, take pictures of the standing water before it recedes. This way, you will have all possible evidence the insurer may need to approve your claim.
Insurance adjusters will examine your water-damaged items to assess the extent of the damage, so don’t throw your tarnished possessions out before they have a chance to evaluate them. Their assessment will decide how much money it will cost to repair or replace your possessions.
Most insurers will provide you with their pre-approved list of vendors that can take on repairs. Remember, you don’t have to use the vendors provided by the insurance company. Instead, do some research and find a company you feel is best for the job and know to be reliable and affordable. To get ahead of the game, why not look for vendors to use and get estimates for the work you need doing while the insurance adjuster is assessing the damage – they can take up to 15 days.
Don’t take no or a low amount for an answer; you can negotiate with the insurance company if you are not happy with the final assessment. And once you and the insurance company have agreed on the settlement terms, you should receive your funds within five days.
How We Can Help
Water damage is our number one priority at Restoration 1 of Horry County. Best to leave it up to the professionals because we use professional equipment to prevent mold growth and other adverse effects of water damage. And we also, importantly, know to look for possible structural issues that may have come about due to water damage. There is no substitute for professional restoration experts.
If you have any questions about water damage restoration, please contact us 24/7 at Restoration 1.