How to handle insurance claims for a water damage disaster
Blog Summary: SERVPRO® of Palo Alto recognizes that the insurance claims process can be a nightmare for the homeowner or business owner suffering a water damage disaster. The damage restoration company outlines three steps to help work through the claims process.
SERVPRO of Palo Alto helps people turn their world right side up when a water damage disaster has turned it upside down, and water removal services are needed. The disruption, inconvenience, and stress are overwhelming. These three key steps will help homeowners or business owners near Linda Vista Park, Cupertino, CA, who have been affected by a water damage disaster, navigate the insurance claims process during the cleanup and restoration journey.
A water damage insurance claim has many moving parts requiring an overall understanding of the claims process, attention to detail, accurate reporting, and timely follow-up. The process is complicated, and a glitch could be costly and unnecessarily delay the restoration process.
Step #1. Documentation
Thoroughly document the disaster scene with a written description, images, and video. Documentation of the unaffected areas is advised, as well. A cell phone is a handy companion in this step. Upload the information to the cloud for safekeeping and easy access for all involved parties.
Step #2. Pack out
Water-damaged belongings in a flooded home must be relocated for cleanup and restoration of the contents and the structure. The risk of muscle or joint injury is high. Wet contents can sustain further damage when being moved, and delays in cleaning can cause the items to become unsalvageable. Too often, proper documentation is compromised in a rush to relocate the items to another location. The search for a suitable storage unit, most likely one that is climate-controlled, may prove fruitless. A standard homeowner’s policy will cover water and storm damage, pack-out, and storage expenses. There is no need to risk injury or to compound the burden caused by the water damage disaster.
Step #3. Cleanup and restoration
When a supply line bursts, a dishwasher leaks, a toilet overflows, or sewage backs up into the home, conditions can quickly become messy. Excess water must be removed with powerful wet/dry vacuums, and industrial-strength dehumidifiers reduce moisture to acceptable levels. Non-salvageable items are removed from the site and discarded. The homeowner who discards items without proper documentation or approval from the insurance company could suffer heavy financial loss. Cleaning, disinfecting, sanitizing, and deodorizing require advanced cleaning techniques and EPA-approved products safe for humans and pets. Cleanup and restoration necessitate personal protective gear such as masks, respirators, gloves, face shields, or protective eyewear.
The importance of pre-qualifying a property damage professional
The optimal time to contact a property damage cleanup and restoration company about their services is before a fire, smoke, or water damage disaster occurs. It is not 2:00 in the morning when water is spewing from a water supply line to the washing machine, or the smoke alarms are blaring throughout the home. When the homeowner pre-qualifies with a restoration company before disaster strikes, the chaos, confusion, and anxiety of a property damage disaster exist only as a “what if” scenario that prompts phone calls to various property damage restoration companies.
When pre-qualifying a damage restoration company, ask key questions
1. How long has the company been in business?
Experience and longevity can only be achieved over time. A company that has existed for twenty years has gained valuable experience. A business that fails to provide top-quality service will most likely fail the test of time. What are others saying about the cleanup and restoration company? Positive reviews validate the company’s integrity.
2. Is the business locally owned and operated?
When the restoration company owner lives in the community and hires employees from the community, the staff and technicians care about the community. The people the team serves share life in the community. Property damage restoration becomes personal.
3. Is the local business a member of a larger franchise family?
Does the franchise have a track record of excellent service? The backing of a large franchise family makes it possible for the local entity to scale to address any size disaster rapidly.
4. Are technicians IICRC-certified?
Technicians with these certifications have been through a rigorous training program that teaches and trains participants in the industry’s best practices for cleanup and restoration.
5. Are crews available 24/7, 365 days a year, including holidays?
Many fire, smoke, and water damage disasters occur on weekends and holidays when activities in and around the home increase.
6. How long does it take for a crew to arrive on the scene once the initial contact has been made?
Rapid response and quick cleanup should be top-priority since immediate action is crucial to prevent advanced secondary damage. SERVPRO of Palo Alto immediately dispatches a crew to the disaster scene and boasts a response time second to none.
7. Will a detailed, thoroughly documented estimate be provided to the customer?
8. Can the company be able to handle the insurance claims process from end to end, including documentation validating that the job has been completed?
Trust the restoration experts at SERVPRO of Palo Alto for water, fire, storm, and commercial damage restoration. They offer twenty-four-hour emergency service, rapid response and quick cleanup, and highly trained restoration technicians.
To learn more about water removal and water damage restoration services, contact SERVPRO of Palo Alto by phone at (650) 800-3448 or by email at office@SERVPROpaloalto.com.