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How To File a Claim With Your Insurance

Thursday, June 17th, 2021
file a claim with insurance

One out of 15 homeowners in the United States will file a homeowners insurance claim in a typical year. Water damage accounts for about 30% of those, making it the #2 most frequent claim (wind and hail damage are #1 in most years). Since the odds that a typical homeowner will at some point be faced with filing a water damage insurance claim are considerable, it’s a good idea to be familiar with typical coverage and what’s involved in the process of making a claim.

First Things First

If home water damage occurs, take proactive steps immediately: 

  • Stop the source of water. Turn off the main water shutoff valve to the house if necessary, such as when a major pipe rupture occurs. If you can’t locate the source of water or stop it, call a plumber for emergency service.
  • Stay safe. Be aware of electrical shock hazards in wet indoor conditions and stay out of dangerous areas.  

How to File a Claim

  • Inform your homeowner’s insurance carrier or agent to start the process ASAP. Do not delay. Most carriers and agents provide 24/7 contact information. 
  • Ask the insurer about professional water damage recovery services. Indoor water damage tends to worsen as hours pass, so qualified water damage remediation services by certified professionals is critical. The insurance provider may provide a list of water damage recovery services. However, in most cases, you are not limited to those companies and you may select a more experienced or better-equipped company if you choose.
  • Document the damage. Take photographs of all affected rooms before any recovery process begins. Compose a written inventory of individual possessions that may have been damaged by water. Don’t throw away any damaged items until the insurance adjuster has conducted an inspection. 

What’s Covered and What’s Not

  • In general, a standard homeowners insurance policy covers only sudden or accidental water damage. Gradual damage or damage due to neglect are not covered.
  • Certain types of water damage depend on the specifics of your policy. For example, coverage for sump pump backups may require a specific endorsement added to your policy.
  • Water damage due to outdoor flooding isn’t covered by a homeowners policy. You’ll need a policy provided by the National Flood Insurance Program administered by FEMA.