Whether your water heater fell over, the kids forgot to turn off the bathtub faucet, the normally serene river down the road has burst its bank, or a 24-foot storm surge in Bell has wiped out your home, Water Damage happens. In fact, that’s why many homeowners carry insurance – to protect their homes from unpredictable catastrophes.
Unfortunately, one man’s catastrophe is another man’s problem. This is true especially when dealing with your insurance company over Water Damage Restoration claims. Is it a catastrophe or is it your problem? Is the flood event covered or not?
Most homeowners in Bell insurance policies exclude certain types of flooding so it’s useful to review your policy before and during the water restoration claims process. If you have National Flood Insurance, you should be prepared with that information as well.
Water damage and restoration claims are subject to all kinds of rules and loopholes and your insurance company knows exactly what they are doing – do you? If you’re getting the runaround from your insurance about a restoration claim, don’t take their word for it. Read your insurance policy and find out exactly what is covered. You pay your premiums for the service that the insurer provides. When it’s time for restoration for a covered loss, you don’t deserve to be short changed.
While many water claims are specifically excluded from an insurance policy, not all are. During hurricanes and major storms, some water damage is specifically excluded such as water damage from a storm surge. However, if your roof blows off and the rain damages the interior of your home, then the water restoration would likely be covered. Beware of the insurance agent that wants to classify damage as something other than it is. For example, if the agent claims the water damage is due to storm surge when it’s clear that the reason the home is water damaged is because the roof blew off, then stick up for yourself and demand that the adjuster look at the obvious.
In these cases, restoration compensation could be less than what’s needed thanks to an insurance adjuster whose eyes are on the bottom line, not what you are entitled to under the terms of your policy. Get a professional involved if you need help. Public insurance adjusters can act on your behalf and get a better settlement offer while specific contractors, such as roofers and rebuilders, can document the damage, make reasonable efforts, and back you up when you’re filing a restoration claim.
Your insurance company wants to save a few bucks while you want to make sure that you can restore your property. You are at odds with each other even though you are business partners. Get a third party involved and ensure that your restoration goes the way it should.
One of the most frustrating things about water restoration is getting a call from the adjuster saying your invoice is too high. During my 14 + years in the water restoration business I have gotten plenty of calls from adjusters saying that my price is too high on this dehumidifier or this fan, etc. This used to bug me until I learned the secret to prevent most of these calls, COMMUNICATION & DOCUMENTATION. Remember that the adjuster has to justify his work to his boss and as long as the price and scope of work can be justified then it will be paid.
Starting off the job on the right foot is important. You should always get a work authorization signed by the insured before starting work. A work authorization will allow some insurance companies to be able to pay you directly or at least get your name on the check.
Then as soon as the initial mitigation is performed, call the adjuster and let him/her know what you did. This can be done on the way back to your office. During this conversation just let the adjuster know what you saw when you arrived and what you decided to do about. During this conversation I generally try to steer away from talking about pricing. If they ask about it then I will talk about it, but for me this is more of an information phone call to the adjuster. At this point, usually the adjuster has not been there and so to call and inform him/her what is going on is my main objective.
Kevin Pearson is a partner in Pearson Carpet Care. He has over 17 years experience in the cleaning and restoration business. He serves on several committees with the IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification) and is on the board of directors of the PCRA (Professional Cleaning and Restoration Alliance). Kevin has dried building in Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. He has extensive experience drying residential homes but has also dried office buildings, chemical plants, historical homes, Southern Methodist University, Stephen F. Austin State University, The Toyota Center (where the Houston Rockets play) and more.
Water Damage Restoration
Water Damage Restoration - WRT Exam
Water restoration companies deal with flood situations on a daily basis. Floods are natural disasters with devastating effects on people. Loss of life, loss of home, loss of livelihood, structural water damage to property, basement flooding, crawl space seepage and more are just some of the effects of water flooding.
Water restoration companies emphasize how important it is to follow flood safety guidelines and in times of flooding and natural disasters. People must take basic necessary precautions for their wellbeing so that they are not caught off guard. Floods can be overwhelming and destructive and individuals can minimize their impact by preparing in advance, before a flood can devastate properties, communities and lives.
- When preparing an action plan for your safety and the safety of loved ones, you must consider family pets as well and make the necessary accommodations for them prior to the flood.
- Study area maps and scout a safe high ground in case of flooding in your community. Make sure all family members know how to get to this spot from work, home or school. In case family members get separated during flooding, know how to get to this meeting place.
- When preparing an emergency kit for a flood, water restoration companies suggest to keep banking documents, identification papers, and any other important records, or at least copies of such papers, in the emergency kit as well.
- For insurance purposes, document possession of antiques, jewelry, and valuable assets and belongings. Store them away from the flood zone.
- Every household preparing for a flood must have on hand a battery-operated radio with extra batteries and flashlights, so buy these ahead of time and store them in the emergency kit.
- Over the counter and prescription medicines for all family members should be packed ahead of time in a first aid kit. Store the first aid kit with the emergency kit.
- Store enough clean water and food for all family members. Food items must require no cooking or refrigeration. If using canned goods, make sure you have a manually operated can opener as well.
Water restoration companies recommend listening to local flood news on battery-operated radios and adhering to instructions. Keep your gas tank full and store all supplies and emergency kits together, so they will be easy to access and take with you if evacuation is necessary. In case of evacuation, authorized personnel will provide instructions as to which routes are safe to take.
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