Recently SERVPRO of Laguna Beach/Dana Point responded to a water damage caused by a plumber working on a separate area of the building. The building was a multiunit apartment complex. This plumber was fixing a pipe that had burst in the slab. They had rerouted the line through the walls and had just turned the water back on, when disaster struck. Immediately after he turned the water back on a supply line under the kitchen sink burst, causing it to flood the upstairs apartment and cascaded down into the two apartments below.
The plumber, who also performs water damage restoration, tried to send their crews out and bill the owners insurance company. However, when the claim was reported SERVPRO of Laguna Beach/Dana Point was dispatched immediately. The restoration crew that the plumber had sent out was not capable of performing the job correctly. They gave no consideration to possible asbestos testing or abatement being needed. In addition, they did not have the correct tools to properly diagnose the extent of the water damage. They simply wanted to cut out all the dry wall in the entire unit and set up lots of equipment to dry the framing. Doing so would have displaced the families in all three affected apartments.
SERVPRO of Laguna Beach/Dana Point was able to help avoid an even larger disaster. We were able to dry most of the affected areas in place as well as prevented the families in the apartments from having to be moved out. This saved the insurance company and the building owner THOUSANDS of dollars in unnecessary expenses. Every day we see plumbing companies trying to start a division which does water damage restoration. Most of these companies do not have the first clue as to how to properly dry down a structure, minimize damage and prevent any further environmental exposures. They seem to think that all you have to do is set up air movers and dehumidifiers and bill the insurance company large amounts of money. So the next time you have a slide of water damage in your building, call the people who know how to get the job done right the first time and don’t have dollar signs in their eyes.
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Top 5 reasons a water damage claims are denied.
The following is a list of the most common causes for denial that we encounter here in southern california. 1
. Long term damage.
Most homeowners policies will cover a sudden and accidental escape of water. This can be caused by a pin hole leak in a pipe. A sink or toilet that over flows due to a stoppage in the drain or bowl. A toilet supply hose that bursts. Hot water heater that bursts. Cast iron or ABS drain line crack and other similar sudden accidental escapes of water. However, most people do not know that a small drip under the dishwasher or a leaking angle stop valve that causes damage over a long period of time is not covered by most homeowners insurance policies. These types of leaks are the most damaging because they go unnoticed for long periods of time until suddenly someone notices a musty odor, or some mold like staining. At which point its to late. The damage has been done and there is no insurance coverage. This type of denial happens more often than any of the others combined. So make it a regular routine to check those angle stops and supply lines for leaks, drips or corrosion of the pipes. After all an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! 2. Late reporting.
This goes hand in hand with long-term damage. The longer you wait to turn in a claim the more the water is eating away at the building materials and finishes of your home. Most insurance policies require that a homeowner mitigate (fancy word for try to minimize) their damages. Which means if you have wet flooring or cabinetry and decide to just wipe up the water that you can see with a towel and assume everything will be fine you may lose out on potential coverage. Water Damage can cause mold growth, wood rot and other microbial amplification. Some of the additional policy coverage for mold and bacteria amplification could no longer be available to you if you decide to wait! 3
. Ground or Rising water.
Typically homeowners insurance does not cover flooding or ground water issues. Flooding would be caused by water outside the home steadily rising until it reaches a level high enough to enter your home. This may be caused by heavy rain fall, improper drainage or ground water issues such as a spring under the home or a neighbors over watering. Sometimes leaves get lodged in the drainage system during the fall then the heavy rains cause the water to back up into areas it shouldn’t. 4
. Construction Defects.
Your homeowners insurance may not cover the shoddy work performed by your discount handyman. Often time in an effort to save costs on showers, plumbing fixture installations, roofing and other problems. Homeowners may select to use a handyman or a friend of the family. Everything may appear fine and even look great until you find out its leaking water or wasn’t constructed properly in the first place. This can be a difficult situation. Always use licensed, insured and bonded contractors to perform work on your home. If you think hiring a professional is expensive, try hiring an amateur. 5. No resulting damage.
This sound silly right? Why would anyone report a water damage claim if they didn’t have any damage in the first place? Here in California majority of homes are a slab on grade type construction. Which means the ground (dirt) is graded, the plumbing is laid in the ground and then a concrete slab is laid right over the top of the grading (generally speaking). One of those pipes may spring a leak under the home causing water to escape under the home. Sometimes these are detected by the homeowner or occupant because of loss of water pressure or a hissing noise coming from the wall or floor. Sometimes the occupant may notice hot flooring or tile, in the case of a hot water pipe leak. The water however just dissipates into the ground, not affecting any of the building materials. When the homeowner finds out how much it is going to cost to reroute the under ground plumbing, or even jack hammer into the flooring and concrete to access and fix the leak, a call is made to the insurance company to cover those cost. In certain situations those costs may be covered. However, in order for those costs to be covered resulting damage must have occurred. What does this mean? It means that the water that escaped must have affected one or more of the building materials. (i.e. Flooring, Drywall, Framing, Cabinetry, baseboard etc.) If none of those materials are affected, then the claim may be denied. If you have any questions regarding these situation or would like and estimate for the cost of restoring you water damaged home please do not hesitate to contact SERVPRO of Laguna Beach / Dana Point / Aliso Viejo / Anaheim West for a free consultation. ServproLagunaBeach.com ServproDanaPoint.com ServproAnaheimWest.com