The Do’s and Don’ts of Water Damage Claims

Damage to your property is not only financially straining, but emotionally taxing as well. Having a plan and knowing the proper steps of filing and dealing with a claim beforehand, can help make the process of getting your life back to normal a whole lot easier. To help, we’ll be outlining the do’s and don’ts of various claims in a new blog series.

To kick things off, we’ll be taking a look at one of the most common claims in the Pacific Northwest – Water Damage.

Don’t Wait.

This probably goes without saying, but the longer you wait, the worse that the damage is going to be. Be sure to remove any undamaged items from the flooded area and turn off any running water. You’ll want to call your insurance agent the moment that water damage happens.

Once reported, it’s crucial that you get a mitigation team to begin drying your property within the first 48 hours in order to decrease the chances of mold. Mold can not only continue to damage your property, but also cause several health problems. You can choose who to use for mitigation—you don’t have to use who your agent recommends.  There are reputable, highly skilled firms like Charter Construction that you can call on for mitigation and reconstruction following water damage.

Know Your Policy.

As a rule of thumb, it’s always best to have a copy of your insurance policy on hand. If you don’t have a copy when calling your insurance company, ask them to send a copy over ASAP. The "declarations page," will tell you the coverages you have, the policy limits for each coverage and the effective dates of the policy. Be sure to also review the fine print of the policy in order to understand what is insured, what isn’t and what you have to do to prove your claim.

You’ll want to take meticulous notes during any communication with your insurance company – both during calls and in-person. It’s also important that you get any agreements in written form. This could prove to be very important further down the road.

Document Everything.

It's also imperative that you take quality photos of all of the property damage that has occurred and record the date in which you take them. Additionally, you’ll want to document the source/cause of the water damage and any visible mold growth. Your insurer may dispute whether any particular building component, finish, furnishing or belonging is contaminated. These items may need to be tested by a remediation consultant.

It’s not uncommon for adjusters to turn down or reduce your claim – often arguing that these perceived differences are a result of the owner’s misrepresentations. This is why it’s important that you do not exaggerate or guess the loss or value of any damaged property. You can tell your claims agent that your recollection my not be the most accurate when estimating value, and you can event claim “To Be Determined.” For large ticket items, you may also consider keeping the actual receipt or a copy of it for instances like this. You can also use credit card statements and even formal appraisals to ensure that you get the full value of your water damaged items and property.

Don’t Throw Anything Out.

This one isn’t known to a lot of people, but we cannot stress how important this it is. No matter how damaged, smelly or ugly your water damaged property has gotten, you should not get rid of it until your insurance company gives you the go-ahead in the form of writing.

Knowing these steps and having a plan will help speed up the process of getting things back to normal after significant water damage – as will a remediation and reconstruction partner who understands how difficult the process can be. At Charter Construction, our remediation specialists will work with through every step to ensure that mold contamination is kept to a minimum and that your property returns to the way that it was.

For more information about Charter Construction and our emergency response services, contact Wes Snowden at (206) 283-1900, Ray Meyers at (503) 546-2600. 

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