Your Homeowners Insurance Claim for Water Damage in 7 Simple Steps

By: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Updated on: March 1, 2024

If you’ve never filed a claim, you’ve probably never worried about the details in the fine print. It’s important to have homeowners insurance, but it’s easy to take your coverage for granted too.

When torrential storms flood the basement or frozen burst pipes soak the ceilings, do you know what to do? Are you ready to deal with everything involved in filing homeowners insurance claims for water damage?

If you’re not sure, you’re not alone. When Chicago homeowners call us for water damage cleanup services, they often ask if we can help navigate the claims process. We’re happy to answer yes.

Filing an Insurance Claim for Water Damage: 7 Steps to Recovery

We always recommend being prepared for the unexpected, so dig out your homeowners insurance policy, and get ready to take control. When you’re suddenly facing the aftermath of a water disaster at the house, these seven steps can help you handle the claims process with confidence.

1. Review Your Policy Now

Don’t wait until you need to call the insurance company. Review your homeowners policy now from declarations to definitions. It takes a little time, but read through everything carefully. Once you understand the details of your water damage coverage, you might want to update the policy.

2. Notify Your Insurance Carrier Immediately

Plumbing failures are the most common reasons for filing homeowners insurance claims for water damage. That doesn’t mean you’ll always be there when frozen pipes burst or the sprinkler system starts leaking. Whether you wake up to a flooded basement or come home to backed-up drains, call your insurance company immediately.

3. Contact a Certified Restoration Contractor

Ask your agent to recommend an IICRC-certified cleanup and restoration company that maintains Quality Restoration Vendor status. These qualifications are your assurance of hiring an experienced restoration contractor who arrives on the scene quickly and helps with the next step.

4. Take Action to Stop the Water

Depending on the source of flooding or leaks, you may have already turned off your home’s water supply or taken care of DIY repairs. If you can’t address the source of the problem by yourself, your restoration technicians know what to do. It’s important to take action immediately and stop the water damage from spreading

Power Tip: These types of preventative measures are considered emergency repairs and don’t affect the claims process.

5. Document Damage From Floor to Ceiling

Filing a homeowners insurance claim for water damage goes much easier when you document everything. Take pictures of all affected areas including soaked floors, walls and ceilings. Photograph furnishings, personal belongings and appliances. If it’s wet, make it part of your documentation.

6. Put Together a Detailed Inventory

Make an inventory of everything you believe qualifies for reimbursement. Describe each item’s condition before and after water damage. Whether you’re documenting computer equipment, an entertainment center or kitchen appliances, try to include age, manufacturer and model. Make note of original costs and your estimates for replacement.

Power Tip: This can be a time-consuming job, but it’s an important part of the claims process that can make a big difference in your final reimbursement.

7. Let Your Restoration Contractor Help

You don’t have to deal with the insurance company by yourself. An experienced restoration specialist works with your adjuster and carefully documents the full scope of your home’s water damage. Your restoration contractor is an experienced guide who knows how to navigate the claims process, so feel free to ask for help.

Why Does Homeowners Insurance Require Receipts for a Water Damage Claim?

While insurance company procedures can seem frustrating, they have a purpose. Your adjuster can’t determine a fair settlement without documentation. In addition to photos of affected areas, you must keep records of all outlays for repairs and reconstruction.

Your insurance adjuster has to account for payouts and reimbursements. A reputable water damage contractor works closely with you and your insurance company to make sure all costs are accurately documented with detailed receipts. Otherwise, the claims process becomes complicated and less likely to work in your favor.

We’re Here for You

water damage restoration team

In our role as one of the city’s largest water damage cleanup services, we often assist homeowners who feel overwhelmed by the claims process. It’s our hope that this guide makes it easier for you to face the unexpected with confidence. If you find it helpful, let us know through our Comments Section.

We’re here to answer your questions about homeowners insurance, and we’re here for you when the basement floods or the sprinkler system leaks. You can always count on ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba. When you need the very best Chicago water damage restoration services available, call us first.