Water damage -homeowners insurance

old87greenNovember 3, 2006

What we thought was a minor leak issue is turning into a huge expense -it's not just a question of opening the dry wall and drying, we now have to take out and replace cabinets, granite counter tops.....Very expensive. So we're going to have to submit to the insurance company.

Anything we need to be aware of before doing so? Any tips?

The contractors believe that our minor leak is actually a slow leak that has been around for a long time -hence the extensive damage.

Thanks for all thoughts.

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mepop

Depending on your insurance company, you should be ok. Companies like State Farm and Allstate are super cheap when it comes to paying claims and they will push the cheaper contractors on you. Just make sure you have a competent contractor in water restoration, mold remediation and reconstruction. If you can find one company who provides all those services will be your best bet.

I have been in this industry for two decades and know most of the best restoration contractors around the country. If you let me know what area of the country you live, I could possibly make a recommendation.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2006 at 10:55AM
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airqual_guy

"Mold remediation" is the boogie man lurking in the background in your situation. In recent years insurance companies have paid out such huge sums for this in water damaged homes, that they have become leery of continuing to inxure any home that has reported water damage. Many home owners have found that, after reporting any type of water damage, their carriers would not renew, and no one else would insure their home for any price. Sometimes no actual claim was involved, only an inquiry about a problem that the homeowner may have decided to handle on his own.

Since you say that your current problem involves a huge expense, you likely have no choice about filing a claim. Just be aware that you may face difficulty getting coverage in the future.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2006 at 12:04PM
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mepop

Airqual guy, many of those problems have lessened since insurance companies have limited mold coverage. The coverage for mold is usually capped at $5,000.00 now so those large insurance exposures have been severely averted. I have heard of people getting dropped for multiple water claims but there were other factors involved such as the condition of the house. I have never heard of insuredÂs being dropped for inquiring about a claim. If a person was dropped without a claim; it was because the homeowner did turn in a claim and the claim was denied.

If the water problem was caused by a plumber or builder, I would call them to see if they would cover it. Your insurance will at least subrogate against another party if they were at fault.

In short, if you can afford not to turn in a claim, DONÂT. If you have no choice, I wouldnÂt worry about turning in a claim for this issue unless you have a bad claim history.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2006 at 2:31PM
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airqual_guy

I found this article from June of 05:

http://money.cnn.com/2005/05/26/pf/insurance/use_it_lose_it/index.htm?postversion=2005060310

and you're right, mepop, about insurers limiting coverage of mold damage.

But the article also indicates that non-renuewals and cancellations have occurred merely for inquiries, and for filing a couple of modest claims.

The articles' advice to carry a large deductible (saving a lot on premiums) and cover small to moderate losses out of pocket is sound.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2006 at 11:12AM
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shappy

Mepop
I and many, many others got cancelled (non-renewed) for making a phone call and asking about coverage. When an agent called back I said the problem wasn't what we originally thought and therefore I did not need to make a claim. I NEVER said I wanted to make a claim.

This happened in California and was a common way for insurers to exit coverage after they actually had to pay claims after the Northridge earthquake. So yes, you can get canceled for an inquiry, insurance companies are not nice--when I called them they were laughing in the background "she's from california" --sort of like the enron/California scandal.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2006 at 11:56PM
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glennsfc

Isn't it 'nice' how insurance companies treat the public?

    Bookmark   December 10, 2006 at 8:17AM
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