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You filed a Homeowner’s Claim – Now what?
Brent Baumann – Field Manager

As a former catastrophe adjuster, I have inspected many homes with wind/hail damage or water damage from plumbing leaks. I always wrote my estimates based off of the present, visible damages; however, what I could not include in my report was the emotions that my insured’s were feeling. Feelings of uncertainty, apprehension, annoyance, and frustration to name a few. We are always so busy with the typical day to day tasks; the last thing we need is damage to our home. In this article, I will outline the steps of the typical Homeowner’s claim process. Water claims are one of the most common type of claim, so I will focus on this, specifically a pipe burst in a bathroom. The steps will not vary much if damage of another peril occurs, only certain requests from the insurance company or different investigation techniques.

  • Document all damages and do what it takes to stop any further damage
    1. Photograph everything
    2. Turn off the water supply valve or the main water line to the house
  • Contact your insurance company to start the claims process
    1. Be sure to have information available such as:
      1. Date and Time
      2. Location
      3. Source of the damage
      4. Amount of damage
      5. Who discovered the damage
      6. Any previous signs of damage
    2.  A recorded statement may be necessary to keep everything on file when determining coverage
    3. The insurance adjuster will most likely ask for a plumber’s expert opinion of how the water leak started.  When they request this, be sure to confirm that you are able to have the repairs complete to restore water back to the bathroom.  Most adjusters will give you the go-ahead; however, you should keep the damaged pipe incase the adjuster wants to look at it
  • After coverage has been investigated and afforded, you are now able to get estimates to repair the damages
    1. The average cost for a water damage claim is over $5,600 per Allstate.com
    2. Many insurance companies can offer you a Recommended Contractor to write an estimate and make the repairs.  United Installs is on the Recommended Contractor list for several insurance companies in the Tri-State area.  When you choose a Recommended Contractor through your insurance company, the insurance company has done all of the research and more that you would be able to do on that company, it is one less headache for you.
    3. Many insured’s do not know who to pay their deductible to, typically it will go to the water mitigation company (dry-out team) or to the contractor – double check with your adjuster
  • Once the repairs are completed to your satisfaction, sign all completion documents from the contractor and notify your adjuster that all work has been completed