How to Document Water Damage
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The Complete Step-by-Step Process to Submitting Your Water Damage Insurance Claim
Water damage can cause severe destruction to your property, which may lead to high repair costs. Whether it’s due to a natural disaster or a faulty appliance, documenting the damage is crucial to file accurate water damage claims, estimate repair costs, and determine the extent of damage.
Over the following steps we’ll cover how to correctly and accurately document water damage to help your insurance claim go smoothly and uncontested by your provider.
Why do I need to document water damage?
The proper documentation of any kind of property damage is essential for several reasons. First, it helps you to get the appropriate compensation from your insurance company. Secondly, it helps to estimate the repair costs and the extent of the damage. Lastly, it serves as proof of the damage caused by water and can be used in legal proceedings.
Before you start documenting the water damage, you need to prepare yourself by ensuring your safety. Make sure that you are not in danger of electrocution, slipping or falling into standing water, or inhaling hazardous fumes. Turn off the electricity and gas in the affected areas to avoid any accidents. Wear protective gear like gloves, goggles, and masks to protect yourself from contaminated water.
Identify & assess the damage
The next step is to identify and assess the extent of the damage. Take measurements of the affected area – this will be useful for the restoration company as well as the insurer. Be sure to include any areas with discoloration, mold, and warping, as this is also classed as water damage. Include damage to flooring, walls, ceilings, furniture, and any personal property such as clothing, furnishings, devices, photos, ornaments, etc. Where possible, include the serial numbers as this will help when determining the value of the items and ultimately, your final settlement.
Take photos and videos of the flood damage
Take clear and detailed photos and videos of the affected areas, including any personal belongings that have been damaged. When taking photos, ensure that the date and time are visible in the photos and videos to support your claim. Many homeowners neglect this step and it can lead to delayed payouts – the last thing you need at this time!
Notify your home insurance provider
Once you have documented the water damage, notify your insurance company immediately. Provide them with all the necessary information, including photos and videos of the damage, a description of the incident, and the extent of the damage. Let them know if you’re planning on hiring a restoration company – these costs are usually covered as part of the homeowner’s insurance claim, as are additional living expenses if you need to stay elsewhere while the work is completed.
Some companies, like iFlooded Restoration, work with your insurance company directly on your behalf, taking this work off your hands and giving you peace of mind.
Read our guide on how to file a property damage claim if you’re a tenant
Hire a professional water damage restoration company
Hiring a water damage restoration company is the best thing you can do to get water damage cleaned and the damaged area restored professionally. It also mitigates the risk of further damage to your property – and if any further damage does occur, your insurance provider will see you’ve taken all reasonable steps to prevent it.
A professional company will use specialized equipment to extract water, dry your property, check the air quality and humidity levels, and prevent mold growth. They will also check for structural damage and provide you with a detailed report of the damages, work completed and repair costs.
Keep track of expenses
Keep track of everything you’ve spent relating to the incident, including the cost of hiring a restoration company, damaged possessions, repairing damaged items, and temporary accommodation costs. This information will help you to file an accurate insurance claim.
Submit your insurance claim
With all the proper documentation, expenses and reports from your restoration company, you can submit your claim for all the damage covered by your home insurance policy.
Working with the insurance adjuster
After submitting your claim, the insurance company will assign an adjuster to assess the damage and estimate the cost of repairs to ensure it all matches up. During the visit, provide the adjuster with all the documents you have gathered, including photos, videos, and repair estimates. Be sure to ask any questions you may have about the claims process.
Reviewing the settlement offer
After the adjuster has assessed the damages, the insurance company will provide you with a settlement offer. Review the settlement offer carefully to ensure that it covers all the damages and expenses you incurred. If you have any concerns or questions, discuss them with your adjuster.
Disputing the settlement offer
If you disagree with the settlement offer, you have the right to dispute it. Provide the insurance company with additional documentation or evidence that supports your claim. You can also hire a public adjuster or an attorney to assist you in the dispute process.
Repairing water damage
Once the insurance company has approved your claim, you can start repairing the water damage. Your restoration company may work with recognised contractors you can use, or you can hire your own. Either way, it’s recommended you hire a professional to complete the work to ensure it complies with building and fire regulations, and in case anything goes wrong in the future. Keep all the receipts and invoices related to the repairs for future reference.
Preventing future water damage
Once the water damage has been addressed and your property has been restored, you’ll want to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Take a look at our home maintenance checklist for a what you should keep an eye on to prevent the most common causes of flooding.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you should document any water damage, no matter how small, to ensure that you have accurate records in case of future disputes.
If your insurance company denies your claim, you can dispute the decision by providing aWhat should I do if my insurance company denies my claim?dditional documentation or hiring a public adjuster or an attorney.
The time it takes to repair water damage depends on the extent of the damage and the repairs needed. It can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks.
While some minor water damage repairs can be done yourself, it’s best to hire a licensed contractor for major repairs to ensure that all repairs comply with building codes and regulations.
Why do I need to provide contact details?
We need your contact information so we can get in touch to schedule an appointment.
The correct address will help us arrive to the appointment promptly.
Why do I need to provide insurance details?
Providing your insurance details now will help us prepare the appropriate documentation and ensure a smoother insurance claims process. For more details please see our insurance page.
What type of damage did my property suffer?
Choose Water Damage if the damage was a result of water from inside the property.
If water damage was a result of putting out a fire, choose Fire Damage.
If water damage was due to a storm or flood where the water come from outside the property, choose Storm Damage.
If you’re experiencing smoke damage, choose Fire Damage.
Details of the incident
Please include important info such as: time/day of incident, number of rooms, square footage of the room (an estimation is fine), contact details of important people related to the property, etc.