Water damage is something that many homeowners face. Whether it’s caused by a frozen burst pipe, a leaky appliance, or a storm, the aftermath of water damage can be overwhelming. In these situations, filing an insurance claim is often the first step. However, documenting water damage cleanup is just as important to make sure you can get the most out of your claim. To ensure a smooth and successful claim, it’s important to understand what needs to be done by your water cleanup crew and how to document the damage properly.
1- Safety First
Before documenting any water damage, it is important to make sure you take proper safety precautions. Ensure that the affected area is safe to enter and be cautious of any potential hazards, such as electrical or structural damage. If the situation seems too hazardous, wait for professional contractors to arrive before attempting to document the damage.
2- Report the Incident Promptly
As soon as you discover the water damage, you will need to get your insurance claim filed. In cases of extensive damage, it may be easier to contact a restoration company first, since most restoration companies will handle the insurance company for you. Most insurance policies have a specific timeframe within which you must report the damage after it occurs. Delaying the reporting process can lead to complications or denial of the claim. Be prepared to provide all the necessary information, such as policy details, date and time of the incident, and a brief description of the damage. If you go through a professional restoration company, they will get all of this information filed for you.
3- Take Pictures and Videos
Visual evidence is crucial when documenting water damage. As soon as it’s safe to do, use a camera or smartphone to capture clear photos and videos of the affected areas. Be thorough and take multiple angles to provide a complete view of the damage for your insurance company. Focus on specific details like standing water, soaked materials, mold growth, and any structural impairments. These visual records will serve as valuable evidence for your insurance claim. If you hire a professional water damage cleanup company, chances are they use a special program for documentation. These programs organize all of the photos and videos and compile them into a full report. When taking photos and videos, make sure…
- They are well-lit – use flash if necessary
- They are not blurry or distorted. Make sure to check there is no water or smudging on the lens of your phone
- They capture as much of the space as possible. Use the wide-angle setting on your phone if possible when you are capturing a full picture of the area.
4- Document the Cleanup Process
Along with the initial damage, it is important to document the entire cleanup process. Take photographs and notes throughout the restoration process, highlighting each step taken to mitigate further damage. This documentation will help demonstrate your efforts to prevent future losses and list out the expenses associated with restoration. If you go through a water damage cleanup company, they will include all of this in their report for your insurance claim. You will also receive a copy of the full report
5- Retain All Relevant Documentation
Gather and retain any relevant documentation associated with the water damage and cleanup process. This includes receipts, invoices, and communication records with restoration professionals, contractors, and suppliers. These documents will support your insurance claim by listing the expenses incurred and the services provided.
6- Get Professional Assistance
It is important to find professional and licensed restoration services for complex or extensive water damage incidents. Experienced professionals have the expertise to assess the extent of the damage accurately and document the cleanup process effectively. Their involvement can add credibility to your claim and increase the chances of a fair settlement. Most restoration companies have relationships with all major insurance adjusters and they are experienced in working directly with your insurance company.
7- Communicate Clearly with the Insurance Adjuster
When communicating with your insurance adjuster, be clear and concise in describing the damage and cleanup plan. Provide detailed information backed by the visual evidence and documentation you have collected. Keep a record of all conversations, including the date, time, and names of the people you spoke to, as well as any important notes. This will help avoid any misunderstandings or disputes later on.
Call in the professional for Water Damage Cleanup documentation
Documenting water damage cleanup for insurance claims requires attention to detail, thoroughness, and organization. By following the steps outlined in this blog post, you can ensure that you have the necessary evidence to support your claim and maximize your chances of receiving fair compensation. At First Call Restoration, we have over 15 years of experience working with insurance companies in water claims. Our team will take care of all the documentation and reporting, ensuring you maximize your insurance claim. Give us a call at (845) 442-6714 or contact us on our website to learn more.