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Damage Insurance Claims, Should I or Shouldn’t I?
Article by David Selter
When a homeowner suffers a flooded house from a broken water line or a sewage back up, one of the decisions they have to make is whether to pay cash for the restoration or to file an insurance claim. Many people make the mistake of thinking that if the cost of the cleanup and dry out is less than or just over their deductible, that it is better not to make a claim. The problem with this approach is that the full extent of the damage isn’t always known at the beginning of the mitigation process so the costs may go higher. Also, the reconstruction of the damaged materials that cannot be salvaged and will have to be removed has not been figured into the total cost of the water loss.
Damage that may appear limited may not be for long. Water migrates under walls and wicks up into building materials and cabinets. If exterior walls are affected there may be more demolition involved to remove the wet insulation in the wall. Usually kitchen cabinets are at least partially on exterior walls. If it turns out that the insulation in those walls can’t be dried out and must be removed, that means the cabinets and counter tops will also have to be removed. And wet hardwood floors where you thought the water had been cleaned up in time, may begin to show signs of buckling, cupping (when the edges of each board are raised), or delaminating. So flooring that you thought was fine may need to be removed. Your homeowner’s policy also covers contents, so you need to take into account any damage done to your belongings from sitting in water, wet drywall and insulation that falls from the ceiling, or from high humidity levels caused by the evaporating water that condenses on your furnishings.
But aside from these few examples more extensive moisture damage than anticipated, there is also the cost of rebuilding and replacing the building materials and items that had to be removed. Even in a very small water loss, baseboards and possibly some drywall will have to be removed. Even if only baseboards are removed, they will have to be replaced and repainted. Most likely they won’t match the other baseboards because paint color changes as it ages. So all of the baseboards in the room will have to be painted. And if any of the drywall got wet it will be softer and some of the paper may pull off of it the when the baseboard is removed. So now the drywall will also need to be repaired and the entire room painted, and that’s for a very small water loss. In a more typical loss the rebuild is much more extensive. On a $5,000 water loss, the rebuild could easily exceed another $15,000 depending on what had to be removed. And something to keep in mind is that when kitchen cabinets with granite counter tops are removed, it is likely that the counter top will crack and also have to be replaced. This is due to the weak areas where there is little counter top surface and therefore little strength, such as the thin strip between the sink and the wall that also has holes in it for the plumbing fixtures.
So when considering whether to pay cash for water damage restoration or to file an insurance claim, consider that the damage may be more extensive than you realize, carefully check your belongings for possible damage, and remember that anything that has to be removed will have to be replaced. Generally, unless a water loss is extremely small it will usually be larger than your deductible.
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“Sunday morning is not the time to wake up to a broken hot water line that had been running all night. DryMore was recommended, I called and in no time they were at my door and got me cleaned out and cleaned up, removing nasty reminders of ” …More
“Wonderful service! They came in the middle of the night, as soon as the roads allowed because of flooding, with all of the equipment needed to dry out the room. Doing that so quickly saved our Hardwood floors and the hassle of putting in new ones.” …More
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