Dealing with water damage insurance claims can be a stressful and challenging experience. If you have water damage and need to make an insurance claim, the following guide can help you navigate the process.
How to Make A Water Damage Claim
Below is a comprehensive guide outlining the steps to take when carrying out a water damage claim on your property.
1. Contact your insurance company immediately
When you discover water damage, notify your insurance company. Most policies have a time limit for filing claims, so prompt reporting is essential.
2. Review your insurance policy
Understand what is covered and what isn’t. Typically, water damage from sudden and accidental incidents (e.g., burst pipes) is protected, while damage from neglect or lack of maintenance is not. Familiarize yourself with the coverage limits, deductibles, and any additional endorsements.
3. Document the damage
Take photos and videos of the affected areas and any damaged items. This evidence will help support your claim and ensure you don’t miss anything.
4. Mitigate further damage
It’s your responsibility to prevent further damage when water damage claims occur, so take reasonable steps to protect your property. For instance, if a pipe bursts, turn off the water supply and arrange temporary repairs.
5. Keep records of expenses
Keep detailed records and receipts if you incur any costs while mitigating the damage, such as hiring professionals or purchasing supplies for temporary repairs. These expenses may be eligible for reimbursement.
6. Cooperate with the insurance company’s loss adjuster
The insurance company will likely send an adjuster to assess the damage. Be cooperative and provide them with all the necessary information.
7. Get multiple estimates
If repairs are needed, obtain numerous quotes from reputable contractors. This can help you negotiate with the insurance company and ensure a fair settlement.
8. Review your settlement offer
If the insurance company provides a settlement, carefully review it to ensure it covers all necessary repairs and replacements. If you believe the offer is insufficient, negotiate with your claims adjuster.
9. Appeal if necessary
If you and your insurer cannot agree on a fair settlement, review your policy and consider appealing the decision through the insurance company’s dispute resolution process.
10. Know your rights
Familiarize yourself with your rights as a policyholder and the insurance regulations in your area. If you feel your claim is being unfairly denied or mishandled, you may need to seek legal advice.
Remember, water damage insurance claims can sometimes be complex, especially with extensive water damage. Staying patient, persistent, and well-documented throughout the process is essential. If you’re uncertain about any aspect of the claim or need guidance, consider consulting a public adjuster or an attorney experienced in insurance matters.
Understanding Escape of Water Claims
Water damage insurance claims are probably the most common type of claim. Water damage is covered under your insurance policy under the Escape of Water Peril.
The escape of water peril covers you for any accidental escape of water from any fixed water apparatus. Usually, this will be from a burst pipe somewhere in the home, which could be caused by freezing, cracking, bursting, or overflow from heavy rains.
The severity of most water damage insurance claims is not always easy to determine by the average homeowner. A small stain in the corner of a ceiling may seem harmless but may indicate further severe damage elsewhere.
This is why it is essential to get a professional loss assessor to come in and assess the level of damage, as any level of water can cause structural damage, rust, mold, rot, or mildew problems.
Often, trying to assess the damage yourself and attempting to handle the claim with insurers can be extremely time-consuming and stressful. Insurers will try to keep the cost of your claim to a minimum which may result in you not having enough money to complete your repair work.
Insurance companies may also sometimes wrongly deny legitimate water damage insurance claims. We do this work for you and help protect all our clients and receive total compensation for their insurance claims.
What is considered a water damage insurance claim?
Water damage insurance claims can be made when water leaks from anything considered a ‘water apparatus,’ either inside or outside your home, and then any resulting damage caused by that water escape will be covered by your insurance policy.
Water damage insurance claims can also fall under the ‘accidental damage” peril. An example would be a child leaving a tap running, which causes a sink to overflow.
Common Causes of Water Damage Insurance Claims
A pipe within the home is the most common water apparatus that typically leaks. However, other common examples would include:
- Shower trays
- Washing machine
- Kitchen Appliances
- Attic water storage tanks
- Wash hand basins
- Roof valley’valley’ss
- Water pipe
- Water tank
Suppose a storm damages your roof and causes water to seep into your home. In that case, this will not be regarded as a water damage insurance claim but will be covered separately under the storm damage peril.
However, any damage caused by the water that leaks into your home from the damaged roof will be covered. This includes any injury to other interior damaged items such as wall plaster, ceiling plaster, floor finishes, etc. Any damage to personal possessions will also be covered, provided you have a separate contents policy in place.
Types of water damage not covered by homeowners insurance
Whether your homeowner’s home insurance covers water damage depends on the water source that caused the injury. Here are three instances in which your homeownhomeowner will not provide coverage:
- Maintenance issues/wear and tear
Generally speaking, the damage should be covered if water leaks from any water apparatus or pipe. However, most insurers won’t cover damage from gradual deterioration or wear and tear (the cover is intended for sudden, unforeseen damage).
For instance, sometimes water damage can occur from faulty seals in a bath or shower. Under some policies, this would be regarded as general wear and tear. Hence, the damage would not be covered.
It is also important to note that insurers will pay for the water damage caused by the leaking apparatus or pipe but not the line itself. Hence, if your water storage tank in your attic leaks or overflows, the insurance company will pay for the damage that ensues from the water escape but not for the tank’s replacement cost.
However, this is usually a minimal expense for the overall claim. The main issue will be dealing with the damage caused by the water leak to the surrounding finishes.
- Flood Damage
In Ireland, flood damage is covered under most homeowners insurance policies. However, home water damage insurance claims for flood damage can often be excluded, mainly if your house is close to a river or flood plain.
Hence, if you want to make a home insurance claim for flood damage, it is essential to check the wording of your home insurance policy to check whether it is covered.
Water Damage Insurance Claims FAQ
Can I carry out water damage restoration on my own?
Yes, you can. However, suppose the problem resurfaces down the line, and you decide to claim having already repaired. In that case, the insurance company will not look favorably on this and may even turn down coverage altogether.
Does house insurance cover water leak detection? When water damage insurance claims are made, you will be covered under your home insurance policy for ‘Trace ‘and Access.’ This is the cost associated with finding and sourcing where the leak is coming from. This may involve digging up part of a floor or cutting out a section of the ceiling to locate the source of the leak.
Does house insurance cover water damage? Yes. Water damage insurance claims can be made, provided you can prove that there has been an escape of water from a ‘fixed ‘later apparatus’ such are a pipe, dishwasher, roof valley, radiator, water storage tank, etc.
How do water damage insurance claims work? First, you must prove that there has been an escape of water from a ‘fixed ‘water apparatus’ such ‘s a pipe. You must then report this to your insurance company. The insurance company will then inspect the damage to your home and provide you with an offer of monetary settlement.
Instead of dealing with water damage insurance claims yourself, many people decide to hire the services of a professional loss assessor who will handle and negotiate your claim for you. We at N.J. Carroll & Associates can provide this claims service, taking much of the stress and hassle away.
Should I make a water damage claim?
If there is noticeable damage, even if it is small, you should contact N.J. Carroll & Associates for advice to see whether the damage is covered and whether it is worth making a water damage claim.
Are gradual leaks covered in water damage insurance claims?
It depends. The insurance company will not cover a water leak resulting from faulty seals around a shower or grouting that has fallen into disrepair.
Leaks of this nature usually occur over a more gradual period. Still, these is typically regarded as a maintenance/wear and tear issue and is generally not covered by the insurance company. However, if it is the case that a pipe or other water apparatus begins to weep slowly, then this should be covered.
Can I carry out emergency repairs?
Yes, you are entitled to carry out our emergency repairs, such as repairing a leaking pipe to stop further water damage.
Insurance company versus loss assessor what’s the difference?
N.J. Carroll & Associates provides a thorough and efficient claims service and will always act in your best interest. We are one of Ireland’s most experienced loss-assessing firms, dealing with water damage insurance claims for over 30 years.
Please do not hesitate to contact us today, and one of our experienced Loss Assessors and claims handlers will talk you through the process of how to go about handling your claim.