As skilled homemakers who juggle our responsibilities to our homes and families alongside full time work, we’re understandably sensitive about the prospect of all our hard work being destroyed by an act of nature or negligence. All families fear water and flood damage, yet as hard as we may try to prevent it, there may be some circumstances under which it cannot be avoided. When that happens, it’s vitally important to know how to respond both for the good of your home and the sake of your financial wellbeing. You may believe that all manner of water damage is covered by your homeowner’s insurance but unfortunately this may not be the case. Here we’ll look into the correct way to deal with water damage and the caveats you may encounter when making a claim with your insurance company.
What to do about the damage
It can be extremely emotional when your home is affected by damage caused by the elements whether suddenly and unexpectedly or as a result of long term damage caused without your realizing. In the case of water damage, the faster you act, the more of your property you’re likely to save and the faster your life will be able to return to normal.
If you can, you should enlist the help of a water damage restoration company. They will be able to remove the offending water or moisture from your home quickly and comprehensively before mold, mildew and other harmful consequences of flooding or moisture damage can set in. Most mold grows within the first 24 hours of the initial water damage and restoration companies know the exact precautions to take to make sure that your home remains mold-free. After the restoration company helps you remove the water damage you’ll be able to handle much of the cleanup yourself and in some cases even be able to decorate your way around any damage to your home.
It’s important to catalog everything damaged, taking photos. The items may or may not be covered by your insurance depending on your policy but it’s nonetheless vital that everything is logged.
Check your policy
Not all policies are created equal, and depending on the nature of the damage, your claim could be problematic. Most policies, for example, cover damage caused by a sudden and accidental event. Nonetheless, it may not cover damage caused by more gradual damage, even though the effects have appeared suddenly. In many cases, wear and tear can go on for weeks or even months unseen, resulting in water damage that appears sudden but is in fact gradual.
Examples of gradual damage include;
- Leaky plumbing (even if unseen).
- Deterioration of roofing materials.
- Mold, rot or corrosion
- Deterioration of electrical wiring
- Lack of (or poor) household repairs and maintenance.
That’s not to say that all claims for gradual damage are rejected out of hand, but it certainly muddies the waters. For example, if a washing machine has been slowly leaking over a period of weeks resulting in damage to your home the damage to your home may be covered but the washing machine itself may not. This is why it’s important to…
Call your insurer as soon as possible
Your insurer will instruct you on how best to proceed. While cataloging your damaged items and taking pictures is a pretty safe bet outside of their consultation, they might expect you to respond in a very specific manner and unwittingly failing to do so may even work against or invalidate your claim.