Each year, about 1 in every 60 insured houses receives a property damage claim due to water damage or freezing. Unfortunately, flooding is not included in most homeowner insurance. Flooding an additional protection for those that live close to the water or in tropical environments where hurricanes and other natural disasters are frequent. It’s important to know flood coverage is separate.
Water and flood damage can come without warning, and tragedy can strike at the most inconvenient moments, therefore you want to prepare properly to make sure you are covered. Water damage is the most common type of homeowner’s insurance claim, according to the Insurance Services Office.
What is Water Damage?
One of the worst things you can experience is significant water damage or flooding in your home. Water damage is one of the main causes of leaking appliances, burst pipes, sewer backups, and dangerous mold growth, among other serious issues.
In general, the definition is interior damage due to stagnant water in your home. This can be caused by a multitude of events such as:
- An old pipe suddenly bursts causing mold growth
- Before leaving for a long period, the water was not switched off. The bathroom’s structural integrity is compromised by an overflowing toilet.
- Broken windows from a storm causing wood floors to lift or wet carpets
- Rain leaking through your roof and damaging the ceiling and interior and exterior walls.
It’s critical to understand how your homeowner’s insurance would protect you if something similar happens to you. Accidents can happen, but any occurrence that is a direct result of negligence will be denied.
What Category Are You In?
When examining water damage, there are several things to consider, and one of them is the type of water damage. The source of the water, as well as any impurities present, are used to categorize it. The IICRC Standard for Professional Water Damage Restoration divides the three categories into cleanliness levels.
Category 1 – Sanitary “Clean Water”
Clean water comes from a sanitary source free of toxins and sewage and does not represent a significant risk. Burst pipes, melted snow, and rainstorms, for example, can all lead to “clean water” damage. Included are toilet bowls and tanks that do not hold contaminants.
Category 2 – Significantly Contaminated “Gray Water”
Gray water can cause illness, unsafe levels of bacteria, viruses, mold growth, and other health hazards. For example, grey water is wastewater not contaminated with fecal matter. Grey water includes leaks from sinks, bathtubs, showers, leaky dishwashers, and washing machines.
Category 3 – Grossly Contaminated “Black Water”
Black water refers to flooding caused by seas, rivers, streams, or any other body of water containing organic matter or silt. Sewage leakage, pesticides, heavy metals, or hazardous substances are classified as category 3 contaminants in water.
If your home has been subject to a water crisis, a public adjuster can help you get the most insurance money back based on the degree of natural diaster and what you qualify for in your insurance policy. It’s best to call the public adjuster before filing an insurance claim to secure the best outcome. A public adjuster can assist you at any stage of the process if you have previously filed a claim, even if it has been denied.
5 Steps To Take After Water Damage
1. Protect Yourself and Your Possessions
Avoid electrical shock or injury and turn off all circuit breakers immediately, water can carry electricity and be extremely dangerous. Think about the most valuable items you want to save like social security cards, documents, passports, jewelry, family keepsakes, etc. Take caution when re-entering the property and wear insulating protective gear such as rubber gloves, and boots.
2. Document Everything
Make sure if you are new to buying a property that you document all work done and the original condition of the property in photographs because this may be useful for claims. Pictures play a significant role in obtaining what you are entitled to under your insurance coverage. Organize your images so you can show the insurance company and public adjuster everything.
3. Dry What You Can
Assuming you’ve been able to shut off the water supply or the storm has passed, it’s critical to get to work right away. If at all possible, a shop vac is an excellent tool for quickly extracting standing water. Shop vacs rentals are available from your local Home Depot or other home improvement retailer. If a shop vac isn’t accessible, a mop will suffice for now.
Keep in mind that you’ll want to get the water out as soon as possible, and a dehumidifier will help speed up the process. You should keep in mind that you need get rid of the water as quickly as you can, and a dehumidifier will quicken the process. After the majority of the water has been cleaned up, you need to keep the air moving for at least four days since circulation is crucial.
4. When and If You See Mold
Mold doesn’t discriminate; it can grow in any amount of moisture. If you suspect you have mold, contact a mold specialist as soon as possible. Meanwhile, document the area first, then treat it with an antibiotic or antifungal solution designed to kill mold. This will not solve your problem, but it will help to moderate it for the time being and reduce any potential health risks.
5. What Not To Say
It’s critical that you don’t state anything to your insurance provider that implies the water has been sitting for a long time. Never use phrases such as “slow leak” or “just noticed.” You should emphasize that the leak is new and unexpected. When your claim is phrased incorrectly, the insurance company can deny it.
If you have experienced damage to your home and are ready to earn back the money you rightfully deserve, contact Exodus Public Adjusters today.
We fight with your best interest in mind and represent YOU! In the midst of a home emergency, it’s vital to have a team of experts representing your family. At Exodus, we use our years of experience to alleviate much of the stress involved with getting your claim paid and explain the process to you as we work. To learn more contact us at (855) 531-2177.