We’ve all been there. You get home from your honeymoon after a 7 hour drive (that really should have been 5 hours). You breathe a sigh of relief as you walk into your home, drop your bags on the floor, and…notice the massive puddle of water sitting on the kitchen floor. Wait, just me? Maybe you weren’t arriving home after your honeymoon but chances are that you’ve had water damage before. Chances are that it was also at a really inconvenient time, because when is water damage ever convenient?
My story has a happy ending. We were able to wipe up the water from the floor and use fans to dry the flooring with no resulting damage. Unfortunately, many people are not so lucky. So what are you to do when you find yourself in this situation?
1- Document the Scene
Sound like a crime scene? It is. A crime no homeowner should ever have to deal with. Take detailed pictures of the affected areas of the home. Make sure the pictures accurately and clearly depict the loss. You will want to be able to show your adjuster the condition of your home before you began step 2.
2-Mitigate Further Water Damage
I will not speak to what your insurance company will or will not cover; however, most companies do want you to prevent further damage. If the water damage arose from something leaking then can it be fixed? Can the water be turned off to prevent more water from entering your home? Begin making efforts to dry the water. Call in a water mitigation specialist like Service Master of the Lakes or Servepro to begin the process of drying and extracting the water from your property. Remove personal belongings susceptible to damage from the area. This includes belongings that might damage or discolor flooring due to fading. Prop or hang furniture and other belongings in such a way that allows for maximum air flow around the item.
3- Call Your Agent
Remember that insurance policies don’t cover wear and tear. If you’ve been told multiple times by a professional and trusted roofer that you need a new roof and don’t do anything about it then chances are your claim for water leak resulting from the same roof would not be covered. Sudden and accidental is the key phrase when it comes to coverage. You can call your agent for additional guidance before submitting a claim. If you think it might be covered then it is worth turning in to the company.
4- Prevent Future Damage
Once your claim is closed and everything has been repaired, we can promise you that you will never want to go through that again. Here are a few tips to prevent future water damage.
- Make sure your water pressure is not set too high. For just $6 or so, you can purchase a gauge that will help you test your pressure for the appropriate level, which should be set between 60-80 PSI.
- Standard hoses on new appliances are not as durable as they used to be. So check your appliances. If they’re rubber, either replace them with longer lasting stainless steel braided hoses or replace them every three years.
- Keep water from leaking into the walls or floor of your bathroom by replacing cracked tiles and re-grouting when it’s needed.
- Examine the shingles on your roof. Worn, curled or missing shingles allow water in, so replace them as soon as noticed.
- Consider buying a water alarm which can help you find leaks, or automatic shut-off mechanisms, which can help avoid bursts.
- A lot of water damage occurs when you and your family are away from home. Make a practice to avoid running the washing machine or dishwasher while you’re out.
- When you leave for vacations, turn off the water supply to appliances.
- Keep up maintenance on all appliance hoses, because slow leaks from worn out hoses can cause major damage (and they are not covered under Homeowners insurance.).
This article was written by Monica Cherry. Monica is the Executive Assistant at Bradshaw & Weil, Inc. and has her Property & Casualty license.