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Water Claim Process: A Guide to Navigating Insurance Claims

Picture this: you come home from work to find your living room transformed into an indoor swimming pool. Not exactly the relaxing evening you had planned, right? Water damage, whether from a ruptured pipe or a torrential downpour, can leave you feeling overwhelmed and lost.

Our guide is here to help you navigate the entire process, step-by-step, from documenting the damage to communicating with the insurance company’s adjuster. We will provide you with all the information you need about the claims process.

Accidents and emergencies don’t always happen during business hours. That’s why we offer an after-hours claim emergency line, so you can get the help you need when you need it most. With this line open 24/7, you can have peace of mind knowing that we’re always there to assist you. In the case of an after-hours claim emergency, please call 306.791.3757.


Step 1: Mitigate Further Water Damage

  • Stop the source of water: If it’s safe to do so, identify and stop the source of the water leak. This could involve shutting off the main water supply or individual water supply valves.
  • Remove standing water: Use mops, towels, or a wet/dry vacuum to remove any standing water from your property. This helps prevent additional damage and reduces the risk of mold growth.
  • Dry the affected areas: Use fans, dehumidifiers, and open windows to facilitate the drying process. 

By taking these quick steps, you’re not just saving your belongings; you’re also showing your insurance company that you’re a responsible homeowner who takes action. Remember, most policies require you to minimize the damage, so it’s good to take proactive action.


Step 2: Document the Water Damage

  • Take photos and/or videos: Make sure to include wide-angle shots and close-ups to depict the damage accurately.
  • Make a list of damaged property: Make a list of everything that got damaged by the water, including descriptions, estimated values (if you know them), and when you bought them. 
  • Keep records: Save any receipts or invoices related to the water damage and its aftermath. This includes expenses for emergency repairs, temporary accommodations, and cleaning services.

Documenting everything shows your insurance company exactly what happened and how much it affected you. This strengthens your claim and makes the process smoother for everyone involved.


Step 3: Contact Your Insurance Brokerage

By letting your insurance company know what’s going on ASAP, you’re getting the ball rolling and ensuring they’re aware of the situation. Your advisor is there to help you get back on your feet, they can review your policy details with you so you have a better idea of what to expect.

  • Provide accurate details: Clearly explain the cause of the water damage or where you suspect it originated from, and provide details about the affected areas and belongings.
  • What is your deductible: Understand the deductible amount you are responsible for paying before your insurance coverage kicks in. 
  • Is there a coverage limit: Determine the maximum amount your insurance policy will pay for water damage claims. 

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Step 4: Teaming Up with the Claims Adjuster

An adjuster’s responsibility is to inspect the damage to figure out what happened and determine if the damage is covered by your policy and how much it’ll cost to fix. Here’s how to cooperate effectively with the claims adjuster:

  • Provide access to your property: Allow the claims adjuster to inspect the damage and assess the affected areas. 
  • Be present during the inspection: If you can, be there when they inspect the place. You can point out any specific areas and explain what happened.


Step 5: Selecting a Repair Vendor

When it comes to water damage, calling in the pros is crucial. To accurately assess the damage and estimate repair costs, it’s advisable to work with reputable water damage restoration professionals. 

*Important Note: Your insurance company might have preferred repair partners with whom they work with. Ask your adjuster if there are any specific companies you should reach out to before getting quotes.


Step 6: Review the Settlement Offer

Once the adjuster has evaluated everything, your insurance company will offer you a settlement. This is basically an agreement on how much they’ll pay for the repairs. Here’s what to keep in mind:

  • Actual cash value (ACV) vs. replacement cost: Determine whether the settlement offer is based on the actual cash value (ACV) or the replacement cost of the damaged items. ACV considers depreciation, while replacement cost provides coverage for the full cost of repair or replacement.

*Important Note: Some settlements may have repair provisions where differences between AVC and RC will be paid if repairs are completed within a prescribed period of time. 


How to Dispute a Claim Decision or Settlement Offer

Let’s face it: dealing with insurance can feel like navigating a maze sometimes. So, if you believe the settlement offer is insufficient or your claim is being denied, you have the right to dispute or negotiate with your insurance company. 

Dispute the decision: Most insurance companies have a system in place for folks who disagree with their claim decisions. Your advisor or adjuster can point you in the right direction by providing you with the URL or phone number where you can file your dispute.


Understanding Water Damage & Insurance Coverage

Homeowner’s insurance typically covers sudden and accidental water damage, such as burst pipes or appliance leaks. However, gradual water damage, which occurs over time, may not be covered. 

If you live in an area prone to flooding, you may need additional coverage through adding flood insurance. Flood damage is generally not covered under standard homeowners insurance. 

Just to show how common water damage is, the Insurance Bureau of Canada reported over $3.1 BILLION in damage from water-related events in 2023 alone!  

  • July 23rd Nova Scotia flooding: $170 million
  • Ontario summer storms (July-August): $340 million
  • Prairies summer storms (June-July): $300 million

These numbers don’t show the exact number of claims, but they definitely paint a picture of why being prepared is key! So, chat with your insurance advisor and make sure you’re covered if the unexpected “spills” over.

By following the step-by-step process outlined in this guide, you can navigate the claims process with confidence and increase your chances of a successful outcome. Remember to document the damage, mitigate further loss, cooperate with the claims adjuster, and review your insurance policy carefully.

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