Florida Water Damage: Documenting Before You Make A Claim


In the state of Florida, water damage is one of the most common problems homeowners face. From plumbing leaks to hurricanes and floods, it seems like there is a never-ending list of reasons behind your water trouble. But what can you expect from your insurance carrier when filing a claim for damage done by water? This article will review some common forms of water damage that might occur in Florida homes, and give guidance on how to properly document and process an insurance claim when dealing with any type of water-related issue.

What are some types of water damage in Florida?

The most common types of home water damage can be caused by:

Plumbing leaks – A plumbing leak refers to a hidden water leak somewhere in the plumbing system of your home. A leak might originate from a pipe or fixture that is running behind walls or under floors and can go undetected for some time, leading to large amounts of water damage over time.

Sewer backups – This type of water damage occurs when wastewater backs up into your home through drains and sewers due to a blockage caused by tree roots invading the sewer line, improper draining of sinks and toilets flushing the debris down drains, or a clog within a section of drain piping. When this happens there is often also an unpleasant odor throughout the home as well as standing puddles on floors and other surfaces.

Hurricane & storm damage – Hurricanes are common in Florida during the months of August and September, and sometimes during the winter months as well. Storm damage can also occur from other forms of severe weather such as tornadoes or thunderstorms with high winds. The result can be anything from a minor flicker in your lights to a total loss of power for an extended period of time.

How do I know if I should file an insurance claim?

If you experience water intrusion caused by any type of water damage it is best to call your insurer immediately and make a claim. Although water damage might not always be covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy, it is important to contact them anyway so they can advise you on what needs to be done in order to properly document and assess the level of damage to your home.

What can I expect from my insurance claim?

When contacting your insurance carrier about a water damage claim, they will most likely send an adjuster to assess the extent of the damage and advise you on how much money to spend in order to repair or replace items that are damaged beyond repair. It is important to know what exactly needs to be documented for water damage.

Any surface that has been saturated with water must have pictures taken showing it off from all angles. All carpeting must be pulled away from the baseboards in order for the walls under the carpeting to be inspected by a professional contractor specializing in mold remediation. Photos should not only show every room affected but also include close-ups of any stains or residue left behind from the water damage.

If a home has suffered a great deal of water damage that is visible throughout at least three rooms or more, it may be necessary to move into a nearby hotel if approved by your insurance company until repairs can be made. This is typically paid for by the insurance carrier as well. In this case, make sure they know where you are staying and collect all receipts as documentation for your claim as they will need to be filed along with your claim paperwork when you return home after repairs have been made.

What should I do if my insurance claim gets denied?

Even though water damage might not always be covered under standard homeowners insurance, never ignore small signs of a leak or other form of saturation involving water. If you have a water intrusion issue, the insurance adjusters will advise you on what action to take in order to best document and assess the damage caused by water.

Although it is rare for a claim to be denied after every effort has been made by all parties involved, just know that there are other avenues available when filing a homeowners insurance claim such as hiring an attorney or billing the insurance company under the Florida Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act. This would apply if your insurer denied payment due to faulty information or their failure to pay out your claim within 10 days of receiving proof of loss from you.

It is also possible that you might be wrongfully denied if the insurance company does not send an adjuster within the first 72 hours of your claim. This is a Florida law and in such cases, contact them again and inform them of this violation by their contract with their policyholders. To avoid any unnecessary stress or frustration, make sure you record all conversations and document all information regarding who advised you to take what action when filing for water damage in Florida.

Contact A Skilled Florida Water Damage Claims Dispute Attorney

If after all attempts have been made to resolve the Florida water damage claim, you are still having trouble with receiving payment for your loss due to an insurance company’s failure to pay out your claim, consider contacting Johnson & Williams. Our skilled Florida water damage attorneys can assist you in filing a claim under the Florida Unfair Claims Settlement Practices Act.

Don’t go at it alone, contact Johnson & Williams water damage attorneys as soon as possible.