How to file a water damage insurance claim
The claims-filing process can look slightly different depending on your insurer and what caused the damage. Here’s some general guidance on how to file a water damage insurance claim:
1. Determine the source of the damage
Identify the source of the damage. This will help you determine not only the cause of the problem but also whether it’s covered.
Once you’ve determined how the damage occurred, try to mitigate future damage if possible. It’s important to take pictures of the damage, as your insurance company will likely ask for evidence when you file a claim. Also, make a list of personal items that were damaged.
2. Review your homeowners policy
Next, review your homeowners policy to determine if the water damage is due to a covered event.
For example, if a frozen pipe bursts in your home due to subzero temperatures, your dwelling coverage may help pay for repairs and your personal property coverage may pay for any water-damaged belongings.
But if your upstairs bathroom sink has been leaking for months and has damaged the ceiling below it, your insurance is unlikely to cover the cost of repairs due to negligence.
Contact your insurance agent to discuss your water damage issue as soon as you’ve identified the problem. Your agent will provide additional information about whether your home insurance covers the damages and what to do next.
The claims-filing process might vary slightly by insurer, but most let you file claims online. Be prepared to provide documentation of the damages, including photos.
4. Work with a claims adjuster
Your insurance company may also send a claims adjuster to your home to assess the damage. The adjuster will determine the extent of the damage and estimate the total amount you’re likely to receive from your insurer.
5. Reach out to a contractor
Once you receive your insurance payout, you can work with a contractor to make the necessary repairs. Check with your insurer to determine whether it has an approved list of contractors before you hire someone.
If the cost of the work ends up being higher than the initial payout, you may be able to get additional money from your insurance company.
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