Water Damage: water destruction of the interior of your home or property. This can be caused by a myriad of different circumstances. Those could be the bursting of a pipe, rainfall leaking into your family room, causing damage to the structure of your property, an overflow in your sink, toilet, or bathroom, leaky appliances, and sewage damage.
So, it’s not so “easy” of an issue when you break it down to that degree. Your homeowner’s insurance policy may vary on what coverages you may have, but they will undoubtedly send an adjuster to review the damage you are claiming. The process will look something like this
After ensuring your safety, and reviewing your property, while taking video and images of the damages you encounter, the next step should always be to call your insurance company. As mentioned above, your policy will vary on coverages, but calling them to state that there are damages is necessary. They will send an adjuster to review your claim and determine the extent of your loss, or losses, and their coverage. If you have an updated home inventory you will have the values of the items that are part of your claim. You will need to document the damages, before, during, and after cleanup. This will give you veritable evidence of the process and the timing, as well as what the materials and construction process was to restore you to your pre-loss condition.
It’s time to help yourself, and reel in the big feelings that water damage could cause. Mental health is pivotal when something as big as property damage happens because at the end of the day material items are just that. And they’re replaceable, but you and your loved ones are not. Your health and wellness, as well as your safety and protection, are of the utmost importance. Ensuring that you have the correct protective equipment to begin the process of documenting your loss, as well as ensuring that no further damage happens to any valuables and appliances is a big step. Shutting the power off, to ensure that no one is electrocuted and no appliances are damaged or lost is extremely important. It could save you money in the long run. Using rubber boots and gloves to make the clean-up and moving of furniture, if you have something on a carpeted area, will guarantee that you and those assisting you will not be placed in unnecessary danger or incur unnecessary damages.
This is going to be a big, maybe emotional, moment. After all, this is your property. A place you come to turn off the outside world and rest from the work and stress of your day. Quiet your mind and exhale. Have a bowl of spaghetti that fills your tummy and warms your heart because ‘this is home’, and your mom always made you spaghetti when you were having a particularly hard day. You could go for some of that comfort in the midst of your water damage. Your repair should begin after the documentation of the loss within 24 to 48 hours after you’ve been cleared to return to the property. Knowing the local restoration companies in your area is a great first step in this process, as in most cases damages could be far worse than the undertaking of a do-it-yourself project. You will need to start the drying process, in some cases, you may need to remove or throw items away, depending on the extent of damages. Water and moisture will be a grave issue, creating damages that could potentially break down certain materials, like hardwood, drywall, and certain kinds of insulation.
Next on your long list of things to accomplish will be drying all items that were affected by water or moisture. This is something that can be started by you in your protective gear, as mentioned above. You will need to evaluate the potential of use in many cases, and the safety, you will feel using items that were damaged or potentially broken with regard to this. Something that can help greatly, in this case, is using a wet-dry vacuum, and ventilating or using a dehumidifier in the affected area to dry thoroughly. Drying and tending to the damp areas, especially particularly humid spaces, will be more accessible and simpler once you’ve moved whatever standing water may be left behind. Fans and dehumidifiers will help to dry areas of moisture. Studies have stated that by drying your property within the first 24 hours and completing within 3-4 days, you have a decreased risk of mold or mildew.
Speaking of mold: Mold will begin developing after 24 hours from the occurrence of flooding or water damage. Once mold begins growing stopping it is practically impossible, and you have to be especially careful not to spread mold spores throughout your home when drying things out. The best approach is to call those professionals we mentioned above, as they’re very likely extremely experienced in mold prevention. Having a team of professionals helps significantly reduces your probability of getting mold, or spreading it.
In the restoration process the thing that takes the longest would likely be the drying and discovery process, then comes the part where you decide whether things are salvageable or not. Flooring and walls may need to be replaced, broken items will need repair. If there is a need for reconstruction of your property this will be something that hiring a team of restoration professionals and construction crews is the only option, which is why keeping all documentation of this will be essential, because the work you have done on the property may be reimbursable.
If you’ve had to temporarily move out of your home, you can use your policy’s Additional Living Expenses to help you or reimburse you for these expenses. Then you will have to go back home, once it’s safe to return to your property. You will need to be given the go-ahead by the contractors, restoration professionals, and, in the case of a natural disaster, local authorities.
Our Gables Insurance Recovery team has extensive experience with natural disasters of all types including hurricanes, flooding, and storm surge. We’re available to aid you in reaching a settlement with your insurance company that returns your home to its pre-loss condition.