Homeowners can suffer water damage for a variety of reasons, from broken water pipes and inefficient sewage lines to hurricanes. In Florida, water damage is actually relatively common, as Florida is the lowest point in America and it rains roughly one out of every three days.
One might assume that anything damaged by water will be covered without incident–but Hollywood home insurance attorneys will tell you to beware: policies can sometimes exclude this coverage or not fully cover a homeowner’s losses.
Undervaluing and Denying Claims
Undervaluing means that the insurer admits that there was damage but denies that the damage is as bad as the homeowner alleges. For instance, a homeowner may claim that flooding caused damages in a certain dollar amount.
But an insurer could turn around and argue that there was pre-existing water damage, and then they will try to reduce the amount that is paid out. Or, they may try to deny the claim altogether by saying that the damage could have been prevented if the homeowner had taken care to foresee the risks.
Hollywood home insurance attorneys can protect you if these issues arise.
Filing a Water Damage Claim
There are a few steps you can take when getting ready to file a water damage claim. Qualified Hollywood home insurance attorneys can help you through the process.
Understand Your Policy
First, understand your policy. You should ideally understand what your policy does and does not cover before there is any incident. Walking through the policy with Hollywood home insurance attorneys is a great way to be confident in what may be covered in the event of damage.
You also want to be aware of what duties you may have. There generally is a duty to mitigate water damage, and you will want to understand your responsibilities.
The next step is to document everything. As soon as it is safe to do so, get pictures of the damage. Make sure to do this before any of the damage is cleaned up. This will help to communicate the scope of the damage. Even more helpful is if you happen to have some pictures before the damage.
Then, make sure to promptly notify your insurance company. In the case of massive water damage, homeowners generally will not forget this step. But sometimes, in the midst of all of the craziness, homeowners will forget. It is important to do this immediately and document the notification. However, make sure to take the time needed to file a thorough and precise claim.
For instance, make sure to include pictures to show the damage. Take care to state how the damage happened and list everything that is damaged. Failure to take this step can result in having a claim denied or getting a settlement that is far under the dollar value needed. Even if the claim is ultimately accepted, this will add time to getting a reimbursement.
As mentioned, do what is needed to mitigate losses. Most policies require homeowners to take action to not let the damage get worse, so long as doing so is reasonable and possible.
For instance, water can cause mold damage. Even though the water caused the mold, the mold would not be there if the water got cleared out sooner. Failure to mitigate could result in getting a smaller settlement amount. Determining what to fix–and to what extent–can be tricky to navigate.