Water Damage and Your Homeowners Insurance Policy
December 29, 2016 at 8:23 AM
How’s your homeowner's policy coverage?
When was the last time you reviewed your homeowner’s policy? Last year, last month, never? Don’t feel alone as most people often overlook this important part of owning a home. Do remember to review your policy as soon as you finish reading this blog.
Recently, I sat down with John Griep, a State Farm Insurance agent in St. Paul, Minnesota. John has been with an insurance agent with State Farm since 1971 and has seen a lot in his days.
Recently, I spoke to John about water damage as related to State Farms homeowner’s insurance policy.
What are the first steps a homeowner should take once they discover water damage from an overflowing washing machine?
1. Shut off the water.
2. Do as much clean up as possible and assess the damage.
3. Look at your homeowner's policy and note the deductible. If restoring the space back to normal on your own would cost less than the policy deductible, save yourself the claim on your policy claim record and do it yourself.
4. Often in homes today, the laundry room is located on the main floor or upper floor and, in these homes, it’s important to be aware of water traveling to another floor. In this type of scenario, it is highly likely a claim will be required due to the extent of the damage.
5. If the assistance of a restoration company is necessary, your agent may have a suggestion of a reputable company. Insurance agents and companies work with reputable contractors on a regular basis.
6. Should the damage warrant a claim then give a call to the claim service for your insurance company? State Farm provides their clients after hours claim service. This allows for a claim to be filed 24/7 via phone, online or directly with the agent.
Once a client determines it’s necessary to file a claim what can they expect next?
The claims adjuster will assign a claim number and get the customer started on restoring their property.
The claims adjuster may visit the property. Alternatively, they may request the homeowner to send electronic images of the damage. The insurance company can offer suggestions for contractors they frequently work with to help their client renovate their home.
Are there some leaks that may not be covered?
State Farm homeowners insurance policy covers most sudden and abrupt leaks i.e. washing machine overflow, washing machine hose bursting, etc. If, however, the leak has been a long-term leak, as in the case of a bad seal on a front loader, this would not be covered. It is important for the homeowner to check with the manufacturer to learn the necessary frequency of replacing the seal on their washing machine door (front loaders). A slow drip for any reason will only get worse and start to damage the flooring beneath the washer and other surfaces the water can eventually reach. Review your policy today for these types of limitations and be sure to properly maintain your washing machine per the care instructions.
Does every claim affect a homeowner's premium?
In the case of State Farm’s policies, homeowners who have been claiming free for three years or more are not charged a higher premium on the first claim. Should there be a second or third claim in three years or less the premium is likely to increase. More than three claims in three years could result in being dropped. It is worth the effort to review your policy, the deductible and the damage before submitting a claim. If you are unsure of the need to file a claim speak with your agent directly.
Now is the time to review your homeowner's policy. Remember, your home is your most expensive investment and water damage to a home can be incredibly expensive. Suds Sentry washing machine pans mitigate water damage due to washing machine overflow or slow leaks. See our products under the Suds Sentry tab at www.spdpsolutions.com/suds-sentry.