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Behind the Scenes of a Water Damage Claim: 

Insights from a Local Restoration Company

By Andrew Rickabaugh 
(with AI Collaboration)

Navigating the Chaos of a Late-Night Water Disaster

Imagine it’s 2 AM, and you’re jolted awake by a hissing sound from your bathroom. As you reluctantly get up and step onto the floor, your heart sinks as your socks absorb water from the carpet. What you don’t yet realize is you’re at the cusp of dealing with an almost $30,000 problem, all thanks to an old vinyl hose from your upstairs toilet that should have been replaced a decade ago with a steel-braided one. Knowing how to quickly shut off the water is crucial, but if you’ve never been in this situation, consider yourself fortunate. 

Making the Right Decisions…Quickly!

When facing such a crisis, swift and informed decision-making is key. Remember, the essence of property insurance is to cover “sudden and accidental damage” using “like kind and quality” materials. Once your deductible is paid, ideally, that should be the extent of your out-of-pocket expenses, barring the plumbing repair bill and any upgrades you opt for.

Insurance Company vs. Independent Contractors

Your first thought might be to contact your insurance company, but here’s an essential tip: insurance companies may try to send their preferred restoration company to handle the work. However, you’re not obligated to accept this offer. You have the freedom to choose your contractor without affecting your coverage..

If you opt for the insurance company’s preferred contractor, those water damage and reconstruction representatives will be working for the insurance company as opposed to you. Their focus will be on making the insurance company happy first. For a more tailored service where your satisfaction is the priority, selecting a contractor based on local reviews and their specific expertise in drying and rebuilding is a wise choice. 

When it comes to pricing, most restoration companies will use a pricing software called Xactimate. This is the same software that your insurance company uses and it allows for an apples to apples comparison on the needed work, and removes the guesswork out of what insurance should and should not pay for.

The Role of Plumbers

In situations where you’re unable to stop the leak or if there’s a sewage backup, calling a plumber is a logical and often very important step. Many plumbers offer after-hours services and can quickly address the leak. But be aware, some plumbers may recommend a restoration company and receive a referral fee for this, which can be substantial. While your plumber might give a valid recommendation, remember that this suggestion could be influenced by a financial incentive as opposed to the true merit of the company.

Cleaning Up: Your Big Decision

Once the leak is fixed, you’re faced with a significant decision: who will clean up and repair the damage? This responsibility falls on you unless you prefer to leave the choice to your insurance company or follow your plumber’s potentially biased recommendation. 

The Best First Step

In such a scenario, the best first step is to understand your rights and options. Research local restoration companies and make an informed decision based on their reputation and your specific needs, particularly in drying and rebuilding (many companies do not offer both). Remember, you have the power to choose who works on your home, so exercise this right wisely!

As a local restoration company, we’ve seen firsthand the stress and confusion homeowners face during water damage claims. Our goal is to demystify the process and empower you to make informed decisions for your home and peace of mind.