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Water Damage - What to do?

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Unfortunately, your plumbing system doesn’t care how busy you are, or whether or not it’s convenient for you when it breaks. Even a tiny crack in a pipe, say an 1/8 of an inch, can release 250 gallons of water per day. To put that in perspective, the average bathtub holds 50 – 60 gallons of water. Water can enter your home from storm damage, freezing pipes, toilet and bathtub overflow, washing machine overflow and sewer backup. Depending on conditions, mold and mildew can start forming in as little as 72 hours. The effects of water damage to your home can be as traumatizing as a fire, it can displace your family and ruin all of your belongings.
Here are  a number of do’s and don’ts following water damage.

DO:

•Shut off the source water if possible or contact a qualified party to stop the water source.
•Remove to a safe, dry place any paintings, art objects, computers, documents and other materials that are valuable or sensitive to moisture.
•Turn on your AC system for maximum drying in summer months. (Only if it’s a “clean” water leak).
Contact a public adjuster to examine the damage, look over your policy and assist you in filing the claim.
•Contact a water remediation company to help dry out the place and mitigate further water damage. The public adjuster will usually contact one on your behalf.

DON’T:

•Enter rooms with standing water where electrical shock hazards may exist.
•Enter affected areas if electrical outlets, switches, circuit breakers or electrical equipment are exposed to water. Always avoid electrical shock hazards.
•Use your household vacuum to remove water, this can possibly cause electrical shock or damage the vacuum cleaner.
•Turn on ceiling fixtures if ceiling is wet or enter rooms where ceilings are sagging from retained water.
•Throw anything out until you or your public adjuster photographs the item and until the insurance company has had a chance to view it. The importance of this cannot be overstated!!!

There are also a few tips for dealing with contaminated water (such as sewage):

DO:

•Avoid all contact with sewage and items contaminated by sewage
•Wash your hands thoroughly after contact with contaminated items.

DON’T:

•Turn on the HVAC system if there is a possibility of contaminated air.
•Use household fans to dry the structure and spread contaminates.
•Use products for personal hygiene and cleanliness if exposed to contaminated areas.

•Assist you in filing your water damage claim with your insurance company.
•Be available to answer any questions you may have on the confusing insurance process.
•Review your policy to determine the coverage, limits, exclusions, and other factors that may apply to your particular loss.
•Document in writing the full extent of your loss. This includes, but is not limited to:
 
     1.Composing a detailed construction estimate backed by engineering and other specialist reports which may be necessary,
     2.Creating a detailed personal property estimate based off of supporting documentation,
     3.Preparing and submitting business interruption forms to ensure your full indemnification. 

•Meet any representatives from the insurance company on your behalf.
•Negotiate with the insurance company representative in order to obtain the most equitable settlement for you and your family.
•Arrive at a detailed settlement offer that addresses all of your concerns and meets your approval.
•Expedite a settlement draft from the insurance company to you as quickly as possible so you may begin to replace or repair your property.
Negotiate with the insurance company representative in order to obtain the most equitable settlement for you and your family.