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Water and Fire Disaster FAQs

There are countless ways water and fire can damage your home. From burst pipes in the basement to a cooking fire in the kitchen, we’ve seen it all. When we help Chicago residents with the aftermath of water and fire emergencies, these questions come up most often.

1. Does my homeowners insurance provide enough coverage for my damaged property and belongings? 

Carefully read through your policy from start to finish. Don’t assume you have sufficient coverage for water and fire damage. Ask your agent for specific figures regarding deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses.

2. I live in a condo. Can I count on the building’s master policy for water and fire damage coverage?

Most condo master policies provide coverage for property damage outside your unit. Some all-in master policies do offer coverage for unit floors, walls and ceilings. If you live in a condo, it’s best to carry homeowner’s insurance.

3. What type of water damage is covered by my homeowners insurance policy?

In general, your homeowners policy covers unexpected problems like leaky pipes, sump pump failures and appliance breakdowns. You aren’t covered for property flooding and water damage caused by natural disasters.

4. How can I insure my home against storm flooding?

FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program provides this type of coverage for homes and personal belongings. However, you don’t buy it directly from the NFIP. It’s available through insurers who participate in the program. The NFIP website offers detailed information on purchasing flood insurance.

5. Do I really need NFIP flood insurance here in Chicago or the suburbs?

If you live in one of the city’s flood-prone areas, this kind of insurance is highly recommended. The State of Illinois provides Cook County floodplain maps online. Simply enter your address in the base map field to determine if your home is located in a Chicago floodplain.

6. How can I minimize water damage in my basement?

We suggest two strategies. First, be careful about storing belongings directly on the basement floor. Use pallets and shelves to keep things above any potential waterline. Second, make basement flood prevention a part of your regular spring and fall home maintenance routines.

7. Should I contact a restoration company before a water or fire disaster at my home?

It’s always a good idea to have a working relationship with an experienced restoration contractor. It gives you access to extensive services for homeowners like deep house cleaning, mold remediation and carpet and hardwood floor care. Should the worst happen, you have the security of knowing who to call for a 24/7 response.

8. How do I file a water damage claim with my insurance company?

We’ve created helpful guides for the following:



State Farm

We Have Your Answers

The aftereffects of water and fire damage to your home can seem overwhelming. We understand. As Chicago’s most trusted residential restoration company, ServiceMaster by Zaba stands ready to help. When you have questions about your water- or fire-damaged property or belongings, we have your answers.

If you need guidance on insurance coverage for fire or water damage, feel free to contact us for a free 15-minute phone consultation at: 773-647-1985

Helpful Links



Report Basement Water Backup

City of Chicago 


FEMA Flood Map Service Center



Red Cross Chicago Chapter