If your home, rental, or business has recently been flooded by rainfall or maybe a busted pipe, you probably want to get the mess cleaned up as soon as possible. Be careful though. If you start throwing out ruined possessions or cleaning up the water mess before your insurance agent has had a chance to check out the damages, you could potentially jeopardize your claim. Listed below are four tips you should know for dealing with your insurance company.
Tips for Working With Your Insurance Company
- Review Your Insurance Policy: Your home, rental, or business insurance policy contract will contain important information regarding your specific policy. Information such as water damage coverage, limitations and exclusions, and deductibles can all be found in your policy documents. Your policy should also provide the exact steps you should take and any deadlines concerning the filing of your claims.
- Notify Your Insurance Company: You will want to contact your insurance company the moment you discover the flood. Have your policy number and any important information ready before you call. Be cautious about whether or not you want to use the word “flood” to describe your damage as many standard insurance policies specifically do not cover floods. You may instead want to ask your insurance specialist what the best course of action is as you file for “water damage”.
- Keep Records: Make sure that you keep records of every conversation you have with your insurance company. Remember to record the name of the specialist you spoke with, the subject matter, and the date and time of every call. If you get any written documents such as letters or notifications, make copies. Also, if you communicate with your insurance company through emails, don’t delete any. You may need any or all of the information in the future.
- Document All Damages: When you make your water damage claim, you will need to present some evidence. The more damage you can prove, the better. For starters, you will want to take photos or video of the damage right away before you alter or clean up any of the damaged property. Record a detailed inventory of every bit of damage that you incur. In your inventory, you will want to include the make and model of your item, the year you acquired it, and the condition it was in prior to the water damage. Also, document the value of the item and its replacement value.
After talking with your insurance company to determine if they will need to send out an agent to inspect the damage, you can then start taking the steps to prevent further damage. It only takes 24 hours for water to start causing mold to grow so you don’t want to wait too long to start the process of cleaning up.
Some insurance policies may require you to have a professional service handle the water extraction and property cleanup so check with your insurance agent just in case.