Frozen pipes can cause a tremendous amount of damage. Your ability to get financial support from your insurance company to make the needed repairs depends on the actions you take immediately after the discovery of the damage and how you report the claim to your insurance company. The following is a list of things that you should do after discovering a pipe burst:
- Shut off the water supply: The first thing you should do is locate the main water shut-off valve and turn it off to stop the flow of water. This will help prevent further water damage.
- Drain the system: If possible, drain the remaining water from the system by turning on all of the faucets in your home and flushing the toilets. This will help remove any standing water and reduce the risk of further damage.
- Locate the source of the leak: Once you’ve shut off the water supply and drained the system, try to locate the source of the leak. Look for visible signs of damage, such as a crack in the pipe or a burst seam.
- Document the damage: Take photos of the damaged area, including any water damage and the burst pipe itself. It’s important to document the damage as soon as possible, so make sure to take plenty of photos from different angles. If you have a setting on the thermostat that demonstrates what you set the temperature to, you should take a photograph of the thermostat. This will help you demonstrate that you complied with policy provisions regarding required temperatures.
- Contact your insurance company: Once you’ve taken photos of the damage, the next step is to contact your insurance company. You should have a copy of your policy available and review it before filing the claim. Insurance companies may ask you questions that are designed to trigger an exclusion so you will want to know what coverages are available before you report the claim. When talking with your insurance company, make sure you carefully listen to the question. We have seen situations where insurance adjusters asked a homeowner what the current temperature of the home was after a furnace failed and that answer is evidence that the temperature was not maintained at the level required by the policy.
- Gather any relevant documents: Your insurance company will likely ask for a variety of documents, including your policy documents and receipts for any repairs or replacements you’ve made. Make sure to have these documents on hand when you file your claim.
- Provide a detailed description of the damage: In your claim, be sure to provide a detailed description of the damage, including when it occurred and how it was discovered. Be as specific as possible, as this will help your insurance company determine the extent of the damage and how much they should cover.
- Keep track of all repair and replacement costs: As you make repairs or replacements, make sure to keep track of all costs. This will help you ensure that you are reimbursed for all of the expenses related to the frozen pipe.
- Keep in touch with your insurance company: Once you’ve filed your claim, be sure to keep in touch with your insurance company to stay updated on the status of your claim. They will let you know if they need any additional information or documents, and they will also provide updates on the progress of your claim.
- Hire a lawyer: If you feel your insurance company is not proceeding with enough diligence in adjusting your claim or if they are giving signs that they are interested in denying or underpaying your claim, you should consider hiring a lawyer to review the claim. Depending on the circumstances an insurance lawyer may be able to get you the financial support you need to repair your house.
Murdock Law has helped many homeowners and businesses recover the financial support they are owed under their insurance policies because of pipe breaks.