Wear and tear issues, such as dripping faucets or torn commode flappers, cause most water leaks in many homes. If homeowners catch water issues early, the damage may be minimized. But if time passes, the water damage can be catastrophic.
Many homeowners assume that the insurance company will deny coverage or question it since the homeowner is partially responsible for the water leak damage. But that’s not the case, especially if you follow these steps. It also helps to have a New Orleans property insurance lawyer in your back pocket. If the insurance company is unusually intransigent, an attorney needs to act quickly.
Know Your Responsibility
If leaking water is still causing damage, perhaps due to a leaky pipe, you have to mitigate (voluntarily reduce) the damage. At a minimum, you must call a plumber straight away to stop the leak.
However, if the leak has stopped, maybe because it’s no longer raining and your roof is no longer leaking, let the insurance company take care of any damage. You do not have a duty to mitigate before the damage happens. That’s why drivers need not wear crash helmets or fireproof suits.
On a related note, if you removed damaged items, like furniture, keep them as evidence of the effects of the water leak.
File a Claim
Review your policy and determine if the loss might be covered. If there’s any chance the insurance company will pay, it’s usually a good idea to file a claim. You can always withdraw it later so that it won’t affect your rates.
Generally, insurance companies have a duty to immediately acknowledge the claim, launch an investigation within about two weeks, and conclude that investigation within about a month. A failure in any area could be grounds for a bad faith claim.
If you disagree with the investigation’s results, an attorney usually partners with a public adjuster. This person independently investigates the water leak damage and provides an evidence-based second opinion.
Don’t be afraid to file a water leak damage claim. For a confidential consultation with an experienced property insurance lawyer in Huntsville, contact Insurance Claim HQ. The sooner you reach out to us, the sooner we start fighting for you.
How bad are residential water leaks?
The EPA estimates that water leaks waste about 10,000 gallons of water a year.
My policy excludes flood damage. Does that mean it excludes water leak damage?
No. The flood damage exclusion usually applies to natural disaster damage. If a property defect, like a leaky roof, contributing to the flood damage, the policy usually covers it.
What are the most common homeowners insurance claims?
Disaster losses, like fires, theft losses, and dog bites, are the most common property insurance claims in Alabama.