Tips on estimating water damage loss with insurance adjusters

Written by rachel bidston
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Tips on estimating water damage loss with insurance adjusters
Basements often flood if a pipe leaks. (flood image by dinostock from

Insurance usually pays for water damage, but it writes exceptions into every insurance policy. Your insurance adjuster's supervisor will ask her to check several factors before approving your payment. You can help get your payment approved, although your insurance will not require you to do anything unsafe. Turn the electrical power off before entering any flooded areas.

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Mitigation of Losses

Your insurance policy almost certainly says that you must stop any damage from becoming worse. Turn off the water to any leaking pipes—all the way up to your water main if necessary. Patch any holes in walls or roofs where rain is getting in. Save receipts for these temporary repairs. Open up any doors, drains or pathways that can help drain the water—unless this would let more water in. Move furniture, electronics and other water-sensitive property out of wet areas. Turn on any fans you have that can help dry wet areas.

Tips on estimating water damage loss with insurance adjusters
Use almost anything waterproof to patch a broken window. (broken window image by JoLin from


Your insurance will probably pay for accidental water damage or storm-related water damage, but not flood damage. Do not clean up or repair any signs of accidental or storm-related damage (such as damaged walls or roof, broken windows or fallen objects) until after the adjuster visits.

Loss of Use

If you had to turn off your water main or if you can't stay in your home for other loss-related reasons, your insurance policy might pay for your family to stay in a motel for the reasonable duration of the repairs. On the phone, as soon as possible, ask your adjuster how much your insurance policy will pay for a motel room. Ask how much it will pay for meals as well. Save all receipts.

Tips on estimating water damage loss with insurance adjusters
Keep motel room costs reasonable. (suite image by dbvirago from

Estimating Water Damage Loss

Your adjuster will schedule a visit to your home, during which he will examine and photograph the water damage. He will probably use a computer program when estimating the amount of your water damage claim. The adjuster will want to know each piece of damaged property's age and purchase price.

Look at all your property, and photograph or video any water damage from this loss. Especially check anything on the floor, but also check to see if water dripped down on top of anything. Gather receipts or credit card statements that show when you bought each damaged item and how much you paid. Understand that unless you have replacement cost insurance, your adjuster's computer program will depreciate each item by about 10 per cent for each year since you bought it.

Tips on estimating water damage loss with insurance adjusters
Find all the receipts you can for your damaged property. (Calculating the receipts image by painless from

Your Deductible

Most property insurance policies have a deductible of £325 to £3,250. If someone else caused your water damage, your insurance company might pay you your deductible after collecting it from the responsible party. Your upstairs neighbour might have caused your water damage by letting her bathtub overflow, for example.

Give your adjuster any information you can obtain about whoever caused this water damage. Preferably get the full name, address, phone number, driver license number, employer, insurance company name and insurance policy number of whoever caused this damage. Get the number plate number of any car that damages your property, including causing water damage.

Tips on estimating water damage loss with insurance adjusters
If a car hits your house, get the number plate number. (ky number plate image by timur1970 from

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