Filing a Water Damage Insurance Claim in Florida

Water damage of any kind can easily turn into expensive and extensive repairs, especially after hurricanes. If you’re going through this problem at home, there’s good news. You may be able to get your homeowner’s water damage insurance to cover some or all the costs associated with the repairs. 

Navigating the claims process is often confusing and daunting. Insurance lingo and policies can be hard to decipher and the whole process can be quite stressful, especially if the damage in your home isn’t being addressed. 

That’s why we put together a step-by-step guide to help you file a water damage insurance claim in Florida. In this article, we will go over some of the causes of water damage, how to file an insurance claim, and how to get the maximum settlement amount for your property damage claim with the help of a public adjuster. 

What Types of Water Damage are Covered by Homeowner’s Insurance in Florida

What a homeowners’ insurance policy will cover will depend upon its terms, conditions, exclusions, and limitations. Generally, most home insurance policies water damage that is either sudden or accidental and comes from inside the home. 

Sudden or Accidental

An example of sudden or accidental water damage is when a frozen pipe bursts and pours water into the home. In Florida, accidental water damage is most commonly caused by an appliance failure like a water heater. The copious amounts of rain Florida gets during hurricane season also often lead to roof leaks resulting in water damage in the affected structures. This type of damage will be covered by homeowner’s insurance. 

From Inside the Home

The source of damage is taken into great consideration when determining whether the policy will provide coverage for the damage. If the source of damage is from inside the home, it will most likely be covered by homeowners’ insurance. A broken pipe or overflowing appliance that leads to water damage are good examples of perils that are considered to be from inside the home. 

What Water Damage Isn’t Covered in Florida?

It is important to understand what types of water damage won’t be covered so that you aren’t surprised by a denied claim. Any damage that is caused by neglected repairs or outside sources is typically not covered. 

Outside Sources

Any type of damage that is caused by peril from outside of the home will not be covered by a standard homeowners’ insurance company. Examples of such damage situations include flooding, sewer backups, storm surges, and water main breaks. Though these situations are out of our control, they are considered outside of the policy terms most of the time. However, there are certain add-ons that homeowners can opt for in their insurance policy, like supplemental flooding insurance

Gradual Damage or Neglect

Any typical “wear and tear” issues like leaking toilets and bathtubs that lead to damage will not be covered either. Unless that damage is unknown to the homeowner, such as a leaking pipe inside of the wall. When water damage occurs because of neglected plumbing repairs, you will most likely end up having to pay for the restoration of that damage yourself. For this reason, it is important to be mindful of the condition of all your appliances to ensure that they are replaced when needed. 

How To Negotiate a Water Damage Claim in Florida

If you have water damage on your property, you may be wondering what can be done about it. Luckily, there is hope that the homeowner’s insurance policy may cover your water damage. The key to getting a good settlement on your claim is in negotiating a fair option that will help you restore your home. Below, we will outline the steps of how to get started with filing a claim

Document the Water Damage

Begin documenting all the damage by taking pictures of all the water damage. Feel free to make notes as needed about everything affected by the overflowing waters. If you had to make emergency repairs for the sake of safety, make sure that you also hold on to those receipts and invoices. Doing this will serve as documentation and support for your claim when you speak with the adjuster during the filing process. 

Contact Your Insurance Company

You will need to notify your insurance company of the damage as soon as possible. Provide your policy number and an explanation of what happened. At this point, you will be assigned to an adjuster who will help navigate you through the entire ordeal and file the claim with you. 

Take Preventative Measures to Prevent Further Damage

You will need to do everything you can to stop any further water damage. You may need to turn off the water supply, cover the damaged areas with a tarp, and irrigate any standing water. 

Speak With the Adjuster 

Soon after your initial interaction with the insurance company, your adjuster will contact you to collect any necessary information and assess the damage. The role of the adjuster will be to assess the damage caused in your home and determine the coverage that is available to compensate for your losses. They will speak with you to collect a detailed report of where the damage occurred and how it happened. Be open to all conversations and the possibility of an in-home visit where your damaged areas will be assessed. 

Find Out the Cost of Repairs

In order to get the best settlement, you will need to find out how much it will cost to repair the damage. Contact local contractors for assistance, who usually provide free estimates. This will give you a good idea of the cost of damage. 

Follow Up on the Status of the Claim

Once your adjuster files the claim, be sure to periodically follow up on the status of the claim. Keep track of everyone you speak to in regard to your case. When the claim is approved, you will be notified of the status and you will receive the settlement shortly. 

Review the Insurance Company’s Offer

At some point after filing the claim, you will receive an offer for a settlement. Be sure to review it carefully to ensure that is fair and that is an appropriate amount to cover the sustained damage. If you find that the offer isn’t what you were hoping for, don’t lose hope just yet. We encourage you to go to a public adjuster who will work on your side to re-negotiate a more favorable offer. 

Make All Necessary Repairs

As soon as you receive your settlement money, you can hire a contractor to complete the repairs. We recommend that you keep all the receipts and documentation of the repairs for future reference.

The process of filing a claim get often be stressful, but with the help of professional and competent adjusters, you will get through the ordeal quickly. 

Tips for Preventing Water Damage in Florida

After reading all that, you may be wondering how to avoid all the water damage in the first place. After all, who wants to deal with the headaches and stress caused by dealing with insurance and repair techs? Here are some things you can do to lessen your chances of water damage occurring in your home. 

Maintain Your Plumbing System

Have a plumber inspect your plumbing system on an annual basis to catch any repairs that can easily grow into extensive water damage. Some insurance companies won’t approve a claim for a home that has signs of obvious plumbing neglect. 

Periodically Clean the Gutters and Downspouts

Make sure your gutters and downspouts are clear of debris and working properly to direct water away from your property. We highly recommend cleaning out the gutters before the hurricane and rainy seasons that occur from May through October each year. Also, consider installing gutter guards to prevent clogs.

Maintain the Roof

Check your roof regularly for missing shingles, cracks in the flashing, or damaged seals. These issues must be repaired in a timely manner to prevent leaks that lead to water damage. 

Properly Grade the Yard

You may need to check that the drainage system around your home is sloped away from the foundation. A professional will most likely be on hand to help you install French drains and ensure that the water doesn’t infiltrate into the home’s foundation. 

Install Water Alarms

Water alarms can help greatly in preventing water damage in places like the basement, laundry, room, or near the water heater. When water is detected, the alarm will sound and alert you. This will give you the chance to clean up any spills and fix the source of the leak. Thanks to water alarms, a lot of water damage can be avoided. 

Consider Adding Flood Insurance to Your Homeowners Insurance Policy

Insurance companies are very finicky about covering water damage. We encourage you to review your policy to understand what would be covered in such circumstances. It may be a good idea to get supplemental flood insurance, which comes highly recommended for regions like Florida where flooding happens a lot. 

Contact Us for Help With Your Insurance Settlement!

Did water damage occur in your home? Stay calm and contact On Target Claims to get help with filing your claim. Our adjusters are just a phone away from helping you get the settlement you need to restore your home. Give us a call at (954) 329-0687 to receive a FREE claim review or visit our website for more information about our claims services

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