Coming home to find your house flooded is a homeowner's nightmare. Whether it's due to a broken pipe, an overflowing sink, or another unfortunate incident, water damage can be both emotionally and financially distressing. However, knowing how to navigate through a flood insurance claim can help alleviate some of this stress. Here's a comprehensive guide on what to do when you're faced with such a situation.
1. Identify and Stop the Water Source
The first thing you should do when you notice water damage is to identify the source and stop it immediately. This might involve shutting off the main water supply or a specific valve in the house. Or call a registered Plumber for assistance. By acting promptly, you can prevent further damage and potentially save thousands of dollars in repairs.
2. Mitigate Further Damage and Make Safe
If it is safe to do so, move items (e.g., furniture, boxes, personal belongings) from wet areas. Use a mop or towels to help get rid of water, if possible. Make sure you wear appropriate PPE if there is any chance of contamination.
Ensure there is safe access to power. Call a certified electrician to isolate or check potentially affected electrical wiring.
3. Contact Your Insurance Provider Immediately
Time is of the essence when dealing with flood damage. In the right conditions mould and mildew can develop within 24-48 hours. So, make sure to call your insurance company as soon as possible to report the damage. The sooner they know about the issue, the quicker they can start processing your claim.
You will need to get your claim number to get work underway. Make sure you understand what excess you may need to pay, and who you need to pay this to.
4. Call a Flood Restoration Specialist
Flood restoration specialists have the necessary equipment and expertise to deal with water damage effectively. Look for a company that is certified with the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) such as A-Jet Flood Restoration, so you can trust they know what they are doing.
The specialists at A-Jet work to IICRC S500 (water remediation) and S520 (mould remediation) global standards. They’re also registered with the Restoration Industry Association and the Carpet Cleaners Association of New Zealand. An IICRC certified company will provide a tailored drying program for your property, using state-of-the-art commercial air movers, air purifiers, drying mats, non-invasive drying tools, and dehumidifiers to ensure your property is dried to IICRC standards.
5. Evaluate the Need to Vacate Your Home
Depending on the extent of the water damage, it might be necessary to vacate your home temporarily. Seek advice from your Insurer and flood restoration specialist on whether it's safe to stay or if you need to relocate until the area is completely dry.
6. Document the Damage Thoroughly
To support your insurance claim, you'll need to provide evidence of the damage. Take photos of the affected areas and any damaged items, including those that need cleaning or replacement. Remember, water damage can also lead to problems that aren't immediately visible, such as mouldy objects hidden in drawers or closets. Make sure to document these as well for possible reimbursement.
After each site visit from your flood restoration specialist, you will receive a detailed service report. Make sure you keep these documents as they form part of your insurance claim.
7. Schedule a Visit with Your Insurance Adjuster
Your insurance company may send a loss adjuster to inspect the damage. The loss adjuster will ask about the source and timing of the damage, as well as a number of other questions. Be prepared to answer these questions honestly and accurately.
Dealing with water damage can be overwhelming but being informed and prepared can make the process more manageable. Follow these steps to ensure you navigate through your flood insurance claim smoothly and effectively.