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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Will you have coverage if you have a water loss and should you file a claim?

12/2/2019 (Permalink)

A living room flooded with words water damage and SERVPRO logo A flooded living room. Water damage caption with SERVPRO logo.

There is no yes or no answer. Where did the water come from is the first question that needs answered. Most homeowner’s policies will only cover water damage if it originates inside the structure. A partial list includes; broken pipes; toilet, sink, washing machine, or tub overflows; burst supply lines, drains, or water heaters; or even broken fish tanks. Leaks such as a rusted out water heaters or pipes, can be a grey area with some policies covering them and some not. Roof leaks will be looked at carefully also. Sewage back up is another grey area that is or is not listed in your policy. Ground water from outside is rarely covered. Some policies require that the structure be occupied to have coverage applied. However, most of the time the loss is covered if the water came from inside the home.

The average water job done by SERVPRO's in Michigan is approaching $3,500 for drying only. This does not include replacement of contents or rebuilding the home. While having a professional dry your home can be expensive, so can not properly drying it and allowing mold to grow. Mold starts growing in 48 to 72 hours and becomes visible in a week. Microbial amplification can be expensive to clean and cause serious health issues so every effort should be made to prevent it. Mold is another area that some policies cover and some specifically deny although many cover mold if it is caused by a covered loss. On the flip side, we get called to losses frequently where there is no work or it is small enough that the homeowner can take care of it themselves. It just depends.

Another thing to consider is your claim history. If you have had multiple losses some companies will review your policy for coverage or pricing. Some won't so that is always a question to ask your agent. The value of your time and your handyman skills also influence your decision. If you can do some of the work yourself or were going to do some remodeling anyway you may be able to do the work. You will probably need to follow the policy "when in doubt, cut it out".  It is also still best to have a professional at least put meters on it to be sure you don't have hidden water that will cause mold or other issues down the road. You will need to get the water out of the building and not just move it around with air movers. This may mean renting or buying dehumidifiers or opening windows depending on the weather.

A big concern is where the water went. If it got into insulation or behind a vapor barrier, it will need to be opened up. Multiple layers of floor coverings, plaster and lath, blown in insulation, particle board floors, and belly pans from modular homes are other areas of concern. Laminate floors, some water resistant carpet pads, and sleeper floors can also trap and hold water. Contents can be another do-it-yourself problem with many posing specialty drying skills. Again, how much help you can get from Mother Nature is huge when drying large items. Many items stored in basements are often not worth cleaning and can be disposed of properly.

We at SERVPRO have seen many cases of DIY project ending well but you do need to be careful. The experts at SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac would be happy to assist you on your loss at whatever level you require, from advice to turn key.

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