Are you like one of the following homeowners who assumed that filing a claim with their insurance company was their first step in dealing water damage to their home?

  • Nancy experienced a small water leak in her home. She prepared to open a claim on her homeowner’s policy. Fortunately, before filing the claim, she scheduled an inspection. The inspection estimated the total damage was between $400-$500, way below her $1,500 deductible.
  • Mark was ready to file a claim after he found water in his house after a major rain and snowmelt. He reported it to his insurance agent. Unfortunately, his policy did not cover damage from outside water entering the home.

If either of these claims had been filed, they each would have resulted in zero payment. Since it would have been considered a claim against the property, it could, in some instances, raise the insurance cost in the future. If the homeowner had filed another claim at a later time, it could even cause cancellation of the policy.

Another unfortunate scenario occurs when damage happens on weekends or in the evening. The homeowner’s first inclination is to call the emergency insurance number in their file. What the homeowner may not be aware of is that the call often automatically opens a claim. If the damage isn’t covered by the policy or is less than the deductible, the company will close the claim without payout. However, the claim remains on your property record.

Insurance companies have different rules governing their claim practices and what influences cancellation. Some don’t allow zero payout claims to affect their rates or cancellation practice, while others have been known to cancel policies for two claims in a three year period even with no payout, or raise rates.

The key lesson for a wise homeowner is to allow Service Team Of Professionals (STOP) to review your situation before you file a claim for water or fire damage. STOP will advise you concerning the extent of damages and will help you frame questions to your insurance agent to determine if your situation is covered.

But what if the initial damage estimate is well below the deductible only to find out later water or fire damage is quite substantial? STOP will interface with your insurance carrier, assist you in opening a claim, and continue with the work to address the damage. Further, if STOP began working on damage estimated below your deductible but later found hidden damage that increased cost to repair, the team would work to amend your claim through your insurance company.

Remember that Service Team Of Professionals does not charge you for looking at your situation and providing guidance about when or whether to file a claim. While your STOP technicians can’t determine what your policy covers in the event of water or smoke damage, they can provide the facts that will help you get the right information from your insurance carrier.

Nobody plans for a disaster, but you can plan for how to deal with. Make STOP your first call for water and smoke damage. Service Team Of Professionals, Coeur d’Alene, would like to be your professional team.