The worst time to learn about your insurance limitations is after you suffer water damage. Dig up the policy out of the desk drawer, log onto their website, or make a phone call to your agent to clarify your coverage. Pay particular attention to the excursions pertaining to water damage.
Most water damage losses are covered by homeowners insurance policies. But there are exclusions. The majority of policies cover water damage only if it is from an inside source. Many policies exclude ‘rising water’ and flooding; a separate flood insurance policy is needed to cover this type of loss. Some policies do not pay for a sewer backup that is caused by an obstruction in the pipe outside of the home or if the sewer backs up due to a problem with the city or other sanitary service provider.
Almost all residential insurance policies utilize a deductible or co-pay. You will pay a preset amount of money to correct or repair the covered loss before the insurance company will begin to pay. This amount may be as little as $100 or up to $1,000 or more. And although most policies will cover the damage caused by unwanted water that is released in your Pittsburgh home, they rarely cover the repair of the item that caused it.
It is also important to know that most insurance policies have a clause in them that requires the owner of the policy to use their best efforts to ‘preserve and protect the structure and contents from further damage’. This would include attempting to shut off the water if that is possible, removing what items that you can to prevent them from being ruined, and of course, calling a professional restoration company like the team at G.S. Jones.
Mold can affect the health of both your family and your home’s structure. Your home insurance policy should cover mold if the mold grows as a result of covered water damage. For example, if an air-conditioning system overflow eventually leads to mold growth, your insurance will cover the removal because it is an extension of covered water damage. You can also purchase an additional endorsement for extra mold coverage.
Reputable, knowledgeable water damage restoration firms are not insurance representatives and cannot interpret your policy, but they can help you to meet your obligation to ‘preserve and protect’ your home and contents from further damage. This means that the insurance company wants you to do what you reasonably can to keep the damage from spreading or getting worse. In extreme cases, that may mean they can board up the home to prevent unwanted visitors during and before the restoration process begins.
If the job qualifies, they will work with your insurance company on payment terms. You, of course, will have to pay the deductible when the technician arrives and sign some paperwork that authorizes the restoration company to do the emergency work.
Don’t get overwhelmed and ignore the situation. Remember, your insurance company wants and expects you to take reasonable efforts to keep the situation from getting worse, even if you can’t get a hold of someone from your insurance firm. So arrange for a qualified firm that specializes in water damage restoration to come out and assist you in your emergency protection efforts.
When you have suffered a property loss, count on G.S. Jones to recover as many of your possessions as possible. In the event disaster strikes, you will need a reliable inventory system, knowledgeable team and the best tools: various ultrasonic machines, washing machines, cleaning stations, ozone rooms, and secured vaults. Success depends on a proper organization structure, a highly trained staff, and state of the art facilities to handle jobs of all sizes.
Based in Pittsburgh, they are experts in a) exploring ways to prevent hazards and reducing your risk, b) recovering your household contents after a disaster, c) working efficiently with your insurance provider.