Water damage in your home or business is not only a nuisance; it can cause significant financial hardship and emotional distress. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed, but there are several steps you can take to ensure that the situation is properly resolved. Acting promptly can also help you recover any financial losses sustained by the damage.
1. IF POSSIBLE, IDENTIFY THE SOURCE OF THE DAMAGE
Flooding, broken or corroded pipes, construction-related defects, appliance malfunctions, and excessive humidity can cause water damage. What appears to be a small leak may be the first sign of a much greater problem. Even if the damage seems minimal, it’s critical to take action as soon as you notice it. Once a leak or pipe burst has begun, your belongings may be exposed to irreparable damage and you could be at risk for environmental hazards like mold. When you find out which issue caused the water damage on your property, make sure to take photos so that the progression of the damage can be monitored. If you have any photos of the property prior to the water damage, keep those as well. If you are not able to locate the source of the leak, contact a professional to investigate the situation. It is important to take action as soon as the leak is discovered to preserve your rights to insurance coverage and other remedies. If litigation becomes necessary, having sufficient documentation could significantly improve the
likelihood of recovering your losses.
2. CALL A REMEDIATION EXPERT WITHIN 24-48 HOURS
You as the property owner have the right and are expected to get the remediation process started because it is critical to keep from having secondary damage. Your homeowners’ or business insurance may want to put you in touch with one of their preferred companies, you should think twice about this. Sometimes the remediation companies that the insurance company refers to you know upfront that the insurance companies are going to dictate what they pay so you may actually get subpar service. Make sure the remediation company is an IICRC Certified Firm and read the company’s reviews to make sure they have a good track record. This type of work can be expensive, so in addition to keeping receipts of any damage repair, make sure to keep any appliances, furniture, valuables, or perishables that have been damaged by the leak. You may be able to claim reimbursement for this damage down the line.
3. PUT THE INSURANCE CARRIER ON NOTICE
Depending on your insurance plan, you may be eligible for reimbursement for the repairs and remediation. Most homeowners insurance plans have certain restrictions, so it’s important to be as detailed as possible when contacting the insurance carrier. Take note of the repairs they will and will not cover so that you can later make sure your coverage rights are protected.
4. READ YOUR POLICY
After calling your insurance carrier and if you are not happy with what they say then pull out your policy and see if you have the proper coverage to take care of your water damage. Insurance companies make mistakes every day so do not accept what they tell you unless you verify it yourself.