Home Water Damage Recovery: What Should Your Insurance Pay?

By: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Updated on: January 18, 2020

If the worst should happen, you’re covered. You pay your homeowners insurance premiums on time. You felt confident about your protection when you first purchased the policy, but details can change.

When you’re suddenly facing the expense of home water damage recovery, what should insurance pay?

We help Chicago residents deal with water damage and insurance claims on a regular basis, so we understand the process. We also understand the differences between coverage from one policy to another. It’s not unusual for a homeowner to be unsure about what they can expect from their insurer.

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Residential Water Damage: What Should Your Insurer Pay?

If you haven’t checked your policy lately, take time to carefully look it over. We’re always happy to answer your questions about insurance, but you need to be familiar with policy details that apply to your home. In general, your insurer should pay for water damages that aren’t the result of natural flooding.

1. Plumbing Problems

The insurance industry often refers to plumbing failures as discharges or overflows. You’re covered when frozen pipes burst or fire sprinkler systems suddenly start leaking. This category of protection can pay for water damage caused by pipe leaks, kitchen sinks and sump pumps.

2. Broken Appliances

These mishaps are also classified as discharge and overflow. When supply hoses rupture on water heaters, washing machines and dishwashers, the damage is usually covered by homeowners insurance. A leaking air conditioner might not be covered if your adjuster determines the problem was poor maintenance.

3. Damaged Roofs

If your roof begins to leak after a bad storm, you can file a claim for water damages. Most homeowners policies cover wind and hail damage to the roof, and you’re usually protected from problems resulting from rain or snow driven under shingles by high winds.

4. Soaked Interiors

As long as interior water damage is caused by an accident or storm, insurance coverage takes care of repairs. Policies typically address drywall, flooring and ceiling tear-outs and replacements as well as structural repairs.

5. Personal Belongings

Items like furniture, electronics, bedding and clothing are protected as long as the damage isn’t the result of natural flooding. The amount of personal property coverage averages between 20 and 50 percent of a home’s coverage.

Your Policy: What Are the Limits?

Knowing how to get insurance to pay for water damage depends on knowing your coverage and its limits. Talk to your agent about policy details so that you know what to expect in case of an emergency.

He or she might recommend purchasing flood insurance depending on where you’re located.

Also understand the difference between replacement costs and actual cash value of your home and belongings. Replacement costs cover repairing and rebuilding based on current construction costs. Actual cash value refers to repair and rebuilding costs calculated after factoring in depreciation.

Tips for Water Damage Insurance Claims

When you discuss flood insurance with your agent, ask about extra riders and endorsements for your homeowners policy. These additions cover things like sewage water backup. You can also increase coverage for the house from cash value to replacement cost for a slightly higher premium.

Regardless of your coverage, these tips for filing water damage claims make it easier to navigate the process.

• File your claim as soon as possible especially if you’re dealing with badly soaked interiors.

• Document everything with pictures and video, and start an inventory of all damaged items.

• Don’t attempt anything more than emergency repairs before the adjuster’s inspection.

• Stay with the adjuster during his or her assessment so that you can explain the full extent of damages.

• Hold on to all records for repairs and restoration including quotes and invoices.

Dealing with Water Damage in Chicago? We Can Help You Navigate Insurance Claims

Most insurance companies are fair, but the claims process can seem overwhelming. When you know your policy details before filing a claim, you’re in the best position to maximize the outcome in your favor.

If you’re suddenly faced with cleanup and restoration after a water disaster at the house, call us here at ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba. Our teams know how to work with local and national insurance carriers on all types of water damage. We can help you with claims paperwork too.

When you need the best water mitigation company in Chicago, count on us: 773-647-1985

How do I file a claim for water damage?

Call the claims phone number on your insurance policy for a claim number. Contact your insurance agent, and ask for details about your water damage coverage limits.

What should I do in the meantime?

Take pictures of everything. Don’t throw anything away, even if it’s not salvageable. Organize your documentation before the adjuster arrives. If the water damage is extensive, call a restoration company.

How does the water damage insurance claims process work?

The adjuster inspects your home or business, asks for details and documents the assessment. If you’re working with a restoration company, their representatives should be present. They can work with the adjuster and facilitate payment distribution. For smaller losses, the adjuster may arrange to pay you directly.