First time home insurance claim, help appreciated

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Topic Author
beserker
Posts: 42
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2017 12:50 pm

First time home insurance claim, help appreciated

Post by beserker » Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:04 am

I came home yesterday after a vacation and surprised to hear my smoke alarm went off when we opened the garage door. Apparently, our refrigerator leaked water which leaked to the basement which triggered the fire alarm. I turned off the smoke alarm by pull it off and turned off the electricity to the smoke detector and main waterline then wiped the hardwood floor (where refrigerator was standing on) that had water all over.

It was a mess, couple of the downstairs drywalls on ceiling had fallent off, portions of the basement floor (carpeted) was soaked with water, portion of the family and dining room carpet was wet. After wiping off the water from the refrigerator on hardwood flooring, I realized, I'll have to call the insurance company. They said they'll send out someone in about 1 business day. Meanwhile, they told me to take pictures of the damage. I did, but as I mentioned, the main flooded area near the refrigerator was cleaned by us as I wasn't thinking of insurance at the time. Hopefully that won't be an issue. We also used the wet vac to suck as much water from the carpeted area, but I'm not sure whether to pull off the carpet or what, for now I'm just waiting the insurance person to contact me.

Anyone who had similar experience could you let me know what steps I need to take? What should the insurance company cover (hardwood flooring, carpet, drywalls, or will they simply dry it?) The family and dining room flooring is getting drier after sucking up much of the water, should we lift the carpet to show the water damage, or what? The hardwood flooring near the carpet seems ok, but i'm pretty sure bottom of the the hardwood has water damage since that's how water traveled all the way to the carpet. I don't know they'll offer to replace or what I should be acceptable offer. Any suggestions will be appreciated.

BBQ Nut
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Re: First time home insurance claim, help appreciated

Post by BBQ Nut » Wed Aug 07, 2019 10:19 am

Sorry to hear about your situation.

We went thru out first claim due to storm/water damage in our home which leaked in from a roof leak, damaged drywall in the downstairs kitchen and family room wood floor.

We decided to file a claim with our home ins. co.

They sent an agent out to do an initial assessment of the damage and the first step was water/moisture mitigation. The ins co. sent our their recommended company and they opened up the dry wall from the floor going up until their moisture meters read no more moisture. They did the same to the floors pulling up planks until the meters read no more moisture. Fans were set up and a dehumidifier to extract out moisture - that went on for 3 straight days 24/7.

A second visit by the insurance adjuster and an inspector for the roof to find the leak.

So, the first stage was detection and mitigation. All paid for by the claim.

Then came repair. The ins co. 'in network' contractor did an estimate for the whole repair of drywall, baseboard, painting, and the wood floor.

That became the basis of our settlement, less our deductible. From there it was a choice of using the in-network contractor or our own.

We did have to wait a bit for the settlement to be approved for complete wood floor replacement, or just a repair of the damaged area as the ins co. wanted to see if a match could be made of our existing wood floor. But, fortunately, the floor was over 15 years old and they couldn't find a match, so we were afforded the choice of choosing a new floor for all of downstairs.

We decided to choose our own contractor as the in-network contractor had higher overhead costs, so we saved a bit of money their. Going this route meant that we would first have to pay for all of the work done, then after completion the adjuster came out, inspected that all of the repairs were actually done, that is when we got a reimbursement check based on the amount of the original settlement, minus our deductible.

Our premium was just renewed and at least for this year, we did not see an increase. WHEW.

Good luck!

Topic Author
beserker
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Re: First time home insurance claim, help appreciated

Post by beserker » Wed Aug 07, 2019 10:46 am

Thank you for your reply, but I'm confused how you can save money. I thought insurance will pay for the replacement cost, so if the contractor says it will cost $10k, isn't that what the insurance should pay minus deductible?

BBQ Nut
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Re: First time home insurance claim, help appreciated

Post by BBQ Nut » Wed Aug 07, 2019 11:17 am

beserker wrote:
Wed Aug 07, 2019 10:46 am
Thank you for your reply, but I'm confused how you can save money. I thought insurance will pay for the replacement cost, so if the contractor says it will cost $10k, isn't that what the insurance should pay minus deductible?
Not in our case - it was based on the insurance company's selected contractor to do their own assessment for the repair work.

I could have chosen to do all the work myself and saved even more. Our insurance may be different than yours. All they wanted for final settlement was that the scope of repair work was done in accordance to the assessment quote. Who did it and what the final cost was didn't matter.

Topic Author
beserker
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Re: First time home insurance claim, help appreciated

Post by beserker » Thu Aug 08, 2019 12:12 pm

Ok, got you. Thank you for the information.

Hockey10
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Location: Philadelphia suburbs

Re: First time home insurance claim, help appreciated

Post by Hockey10 » Thu Aug 08, 2019 1:12 pm

This sounds similar to a situation we had a few years ago. A first floor toilet leaked due to a broken plastic nut that connects the water supply line to the toilet. The first floor bath, part of the hallway, and parts of the basement had water damage. We were home at the time, which was fortunate. If that leak had been running for several hours, I can't imagine how bad it would have been.

We called the insurance company (USAA) who immediately sent out a remediation company. They set up several high powered fans, removed wet drywall, carpeting, ceiling tiles, and the bathroom floor. The fans ran for a few days.

Next, we scheduled an appointment with the local USAA recommended contractor. He came out a few days later, and gave us a very detailed estimate of about $14,000. We scheduled the job, which could not start for over a month. The contractor did a great job, which took about 2 weeks in total, with lots of different trades working in our house.

In the end, our financial cost was only the deductible. The insurance even paid for 4 nights at a local hotel during the time that the hardwood floors were refinished.

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Artful Dodger
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Re: First time home insurance claim, help appreciated

Post by Artful Dodger » Thu Aug 08, 2019 4:35 pm

We were out of town when our neighbor called us. We had given him a key to check on our dog while we were gone. A line had come out under the kitchen sink, and water was running all over the house, dripping down through the floors to the basement, and eventually running out though the downstairs walk out doors. I called the insurance company, and they advised us to get a clean up restoration company of our choice out to the house immediately. We called our neighbor, and he got a company out who started clean up immediately, so when we returned, cutting out trip short, later that day, the house was in better shape, but a mess, especially the basement which had seriously flooded. Total cost was $20K plus. They sent out someone to estimate the cost to repair, but were more than open to making adjustments when we had solid quotes from contractors.

We had hardwood as well, and they put these drying machines in that ran for weeks getting the moisture out of the house. I was even able to get reimbursement for the higher electric bills we incurred running the air conditioning at max while all the drying machines were working.

The experience really sucked, but the insurance company came through. I still have them, rates have gone up some, but so have others in the area. Five or six years later we had hail damage, and another $20K plus claim, also handled well.

Added an edit - several months later, my brother in law was visiting. He had a duct cleaning service and was doing a discount inspection and cleaning. He took a look at our furnace, and water had got in and the coils and other parts were damaged and moldy. We got in touch with the insurance company, and they approved fixing the issue, and approved another ~$700. We ended up replacing the unit with a more up to date efficient system, and they paid their pre approved amount toward that. So, if you think water may have run into your ductwork down to the furnace, definitely get a HVAC guy out to inspect it for damage.

Topic Author
beserker
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Re: First time home insurance claim, help appreciated

Post by beserker » Thu Aug 08, 2019 5:24 pm

Ugh... The company the insurance company sent out to dry up the place, came back today to remove the damaged hardwood flooring. Unfortunately, and understandably, they caused some minor chips, and dents to surrounding areas, to the cabinets and to the wall as well as a floor vent and put a hole next to it. So is this mean I have to deal with two companies now? One for original damage and the water remediation company who caused the damage?

brianH
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Re: First time home insurance claim, help appreciated

Post by brianH » Thu Aug 08, 2019 6:18 pm

Artful Dodger wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 4:35 pm
The experience really sucked, but the insurance company came through. I still have them, rates have gone up some, but so have others in the area.
Who is your insurance company?

I hear horror stories of HO insurance companies dropping after too many claims and threatening to cancel policies based on drive by inspections of houses (roof, tree, etc.), but I've never had that issue with State Farm. I know they're likely not the cheapest, but saving a hundred or two a year to put up with that kind of nonsense isn't worth it to me. I haven't, however, tried them with a claim yet.

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Artful Dodger
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Re: First time home insurance claim, help appreciated

Post by Artful Dodger » Thu Aug 08, 2019 10:47 pm

brianH wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 6:18 pm
Artful Dodger wrote:
Thu Aug 08, 2019 4:35 pm
The experience really sucked, but the insurance company came through. I still have them, rates have gone up some, but so have others in the area.
Who is your insurance company?

I hear horror stories of HO insurance companies dropping after too many claims and threatening to cancel policies based on drive by inspections of houses (roof, tree, etc.), but I've never had that issue with State Farm. I know they're likely not the cheapest, but saving a hundred or two a year to put up with that kind of nonsense isn't worth it to me. I haven't, however, tried them with a claim yet.
Horace Mann

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