How to Maximize Your Florida Water Damage Claim

Water damage claims are rarely straightforward and always serious. When water infiltrates your home, it can lead to serious damage and destruction, mold and mildew, and more. That’s why it is essential for you to immediately address and resolve the problems, which typically starts by filing a Florida water damage claim. 

The Insurance Information Institute (III) reports that 14,000 water damage claims, on average, are filed daily in the United States. In the following guide, the public insurance adjusters from On Target Claims will provide valuable insight on how to maximize your Florida water damage claim. As the first step, you should reach out to a public insurance adjuster for a claim review to ensure that you are getting the outcome that you deserve. 

File Your Claim Immediately 

Of course, when you are dealing with the insurance company, you will likely encounter some resistance along the way. Aside from the potential exclusions in your policy, companies will look for a lag in the filing of the claim as a reason to reduce what you’re paid, so a sense of urgency is a must. As soon as you notice water damage, you need to assess the situation and call the insurance company. 

Even if you don’t have all of the information, you will get the process started and give yourself the chance to get things settled faster. Plus, if you’re dealing with a Florida water damage claim that’s related to a major storm or serious weather issues, most companies will take claims on a first-come, first-served basis. The sooner your claim gets filed, the better. 

This will also give you a chance to ask about the next steps so that you can follow the claims process properly (more on that later). Any delay in filing claims or submitting documents, etc. on the policyholder’s part could result in the insurance company refusing to pay the claim, in part or entirely. 

After you’ve made that call, here’s what you need to do. 

Document Everything, in Detail 

Documentation is your best friend in an insurance claim of any kind. Before you do anything, you need to document all of the damage that has occurred. This includes taking pictures and videos of the damage, making notes about items that were lost or ruined, and organizing all the information. 

You will also want to collect estimates, quotes, and other consultations, in writing, so that you have them on hand for your own reference and for the insurance company. And speaking of the insurance company, make sure that you note any phone calls or communications that you have with them, including:

  • Time and date
  • Department
  • Name
  • Role

This way, if there are any discrepancies or inconsistencies, you will have the documents to prove your case and get a better outcome in your favor. You will also have proof in the event that you have to file a lawsuit or otherwise pursue action against your insurer because they won’t pay your claim properly. The more documentation you have, the better. 

Know Your Coverage (and Limits)

The absolute best way to protect yourself against the insurance company is to know your policy inside and out. Pull out your policy (or pull it up on your computer if it’s digital) and take a minute to familiarize yourself with the different elements. See what kind of coverage you have, including whether you have a hurricane deductible or windstorm deductible (usually listed on the first page). 

Look further to see if there are exclusions for water damage or the causes of it. If you’re not clear on anything, ask. Call your insurance company and ask them to explain anything that you’re not clear about. If they’re less than willing to help or seem like they don’t want to give you too much detail, you should find someone else to help you. 

A public insurance adjuster is a great choice. Not only are they cheaper than lawyers, but their process is also a lot more straightforward and cost-effective. They will review your policy and your claim and help you understand what coverage you have, what’s excluded specifically, and how to maximize your water damage claim. 

When you know your policy, it will be easy for you to rebuke the insurance company’s attempts to pay you off with a settlement that’s less than you deserve. 

Follow the Claims Process 

Insurers are looking for any chance they can find to reduce or reject a claim entirely. Far too often, homeowners give it to them with simple oversights, missteps, and a failure to understand or follow the company’s outlined claims process. Although it’s fairly similar for all insurance claims, each company has its own guidelines, process, and hurdles to jump. 

If you want to maximize your water damage claim, you will need to follow their process to the letter. Make sure that you know what’s expected of you at each touchpoint and how the process will go. Get familiar with timelines, deadlines, and other information that will help you keep the insurance company on task. Too often, they delay claims and put people off, only to have them eventually become so worn down from all the waiting and lack of communication that they immediately accept the first settlement they’re offered. 

Don’t be one of those people. That first offer is just that — an offer. Be ready to negotiate or work with someone who can negotiate on your behalf, like a public insurance adjuster. 

More Tips for Success 

In addition to making sure that your claim is in order, you’ll also want to start cleaning up around the home to prevent further damage. Although they may not say as much, this is expected by the insurance company. If you have water damage in your basement and don’t do your “due diligence” to have it removed ASAP, they could fault you for any additional damage that results. 

So, once you’ve documented everything, you need to get rid of any standing water that is left. Then, you’ll want to dry the affected areas thoroughly, which may require:

  • Towels 
  • Fans 
  • Water extraction machines 
  • Open windows for ventilation

Move anything that hasn’t been damaged as far away from the water damage as possible so that it doesn’t spread. If there are rugs or carpets that may have mold or mildew, they should be removed immediately instead of dried out. 

Finally, make sure that you keep all of the damaged items until the claim has been settled and you’ve been given compensation for the damages. If you throw something away and there’s a dispute about the value of the claim, that could make it difficult for you to prove your case. Only once you get and accept a claim determination should you throw out your damaged possessions. 

Hire Water Damage Experts 

The adjuster that your insurance company sends out is an insurance adjusting expert, not a water damage specialist. You should always find reputable local water damage and restoration experts that can come to your home and do a full inspection. This will provide you with an accurate idea of what it will take to restore your home to its pre-damage condition. 

Get at least three or four quotes from different companies so that you know you’re getting the best option. Having a few quotes will give an idea of what you can expect to spend and help you spot the potential scammers or less reputable companies that come in with impossibly low quotes, or companies that are trying to price gouge based on your desperate circumstances. 

Work with licensed, insured, well-trained water damage professionals, no matter how big or small your claim may be. This will ensure that the process gets done properly the first time and that the insurance company foots the bill as it should. And if they don’t, your restoration experts should be willing to fight that battle for you. 

Take Steps to Prevent Future Water Damage 

One way that you can maximize your existing claim is to utilize it to make upgrades in your home. Since you already have to repair or replace certain parts of the home, why not make them better than they were? Any insurance company will appreciate your efforts toward future claim-proofing. Plus, this can ensure that they don’t try to cite repeated issues as a reason for denying the claim. 

Depending on the damage and its cause, future-proofing and water damage prevention could include:

  • Waterproofing your basement walls 
  • Installing green board in bathrooms
  • Installing a sump pump (or two)
  • Updating pipes or plumbing 
  • Updating your water main
  • Grading the soil near your home 
  • Installing new appliances (water heaters, plumbing appliances, etc.)

Work with On Target Claims for Maximum Success

If you’re ready to discuss how to maximize your water damage claim, reach out to On Target Claims right away. We can help you navigate your Florida insurance claim and ensure that you get the compensation that you deserve. Our team of public insurance adjusters have years of combined experience in dealing with Florida home insurance claims of all kinds, including the all-too-common water damage claim. 

Whether you’re worried that the insurance company isn’t giving you what you deserve or you just want to have someone on your side through the claims process, On Target Claims can take care of it all. Call us at 954-266-0541 to discuss your claim today. 

Related Content: Filing a Water Damage Insurance Claim in Florida

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