A pipe bursts, flooding your kitchen. A nearby riverbed overflows, spilling into you home. Now you’re standing around, trying not to let your emotions overtake you while you survey the current disaster in your home. How much will it cost to restore your kitchen, should you get started cleaning up right now, and how will you deal with the insurance company? Read on to find out these answers, and more, about what to do when your kitchen floods.
1. Assess the Damage
First, get your situation under control. If a pipe has burst, for example, turn off your main water supply. Then, take stock of what has happened so you can communicate it to a disaster relief company. Where did the water come from, has it stopped flooding, and how much damage can you can see?
2. DON’T Clean up
You may think it makes sense to begin vacuuming up the water that has accumulated on your kitchen floor. After all, you want to prevent as much water damage as possible, right? But this is actually a mistake. The insurance company is going to need detailed and documented proof of the damage in your home. If you have removed some of the damage, you risk your claim being denied.
3. Call a Disaster Cleanup
Most homeowners think the next step is to call your insurance company. However, calling a disaster cleanup company makes more sense. A disaster relief company will not only clean up the damage in your kitchen, but they will gather evidence, get estimates, deal with the insurance adjuster for you, negotiate to get you the most claims money, and then help you to rebuild, restore, or even upgrade your home after everything is done.
Without knowing the extent of your damage, you won’t know if you’ll need to pay a high deductible, or if the damage will cost less than the deductible. Bringing a disaster relief company in first will give you the information you need to help you decide if it’s worth filing a claim.
In addition, an insurance company will want you to use their preferred provider. But you have a legal right to choose your own disaster relief company, and calling that company first will give you peace of mind in handling your situation. Choose a company that has a quick response time, day or night, with a certified, trained staff and a good reputation.
4. Call Your Insurance Company
After you’ve spoken with the disaster relief company, speak with your insurance company. Don’t wait too long, or you could affect your claim. Ask your agent if you are covered for the type of damage that has happened in your home, and ask if any of your extra costs during repairs will be covered. For example, if your kitchen is seriously damaged and you can’t use it, your insurance company may reimburse you for ordering fast food.
Remember that claims can take from two to six weeks. Having a good disaster cleanup company on your side to advocate for you through the process will ensure you’re getting as much of your insurance money as possible.
5. Begin Cleanup
Your disaster relief company may begin some cleanup immediately, depending on the damage. For example, if you have standing water on your kitchen floor, the company will use a scientific process to remove the water and prevent mold damage. (Remember that mold can begin to grow in as little as 72 hours.) Remember not to remove the water yourself. The disaster relief company will document the damage and remove the water in the proper way to prevent further damage.
6. Gather Evidence
Your insurance company will want specific evidence to document the damage in your home. Before, during and after pictures will be requested, and they may even want scientific moisture readings, official police or fire reports, plumber’s reports, and an inventory of damaged items. If you’ve chosen a good disaster relief company, they will know how to properly gather and document this evidence for your insurance company.
7. Claims Negotiation
The insurance company will appoint an insurance adjuster to inspect the damage and/or cleanup in your kitchen. This adjuster will then make recommendations to your insurance company on how much the insurance should pay you. Remember that the insurance adjuster has the insurance company’s best interests in mind. This is, again, where a good disaster relief company can step in to help advocate for your best interests.
Once you know how much money you’ll receive from the insurance company, you can begin working with a water damage restoration company to repair, rebuild, and restore your kitchen. The insurance company will factor depreciation into the amount on which they settle, so be prepared to put in some of your own money for restoration. You may want to consider upgrading your kitchen as you make your choices for restoration.
A flooded kitchen is a hassle at best, and a huge problem at worst. But when you have the right disaster relief team on your side, you’ll get the best outcome for your situation.
Deborah Lamberton is the general manager for New Life Restoration, a 24/7 disaster cleanup company that offers fire & smoke, water & storm damage, mold remediation and more.
From time to time we publish original guest articles. The above article was written and pictures provided by Brian Jensen.
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