WATER DAMAGE CLEANUP
Common Questions About Water Damage
Are my artwork or valuables ruined?
Did you know that in many cases we can save precious photos, taxidermy, expensive artwork, antique rugs, and other precious heirlooms? We have a whole network of niche specialists for sensitive contents like these.
What if I’ve never filed an insurance claim? Can you help?
We will also walk you through the process of filing an insurance claim. Most of our clients have thankfully never had to go through this process before and it can be intimidating. The truth is it doesn’t have to be. Over the years we have worked with every insurance company out there and we have developed strong relationships with many claims adjusters. Allow us to be your liaison. You can think of us as your ‘insurance advocate.’ Just like in any industry there is a certain lingo, documentation expectations, stacks of paperwork, and oh, don’t get me started on the acronyms! We’ve got you covered. We know exactly what the insurance companies need from us in order to process your claim quickly and efficiently.
What if I’m not covered by insurance?
What can I expect to happen during a water damage cleanup?
Well, that’s a loaded question only because we’ve found every situation is different. However, here is a common flow of events you can expect to happen on almost every water damage job…
– Initial Call.
- During this call we may ask you questions like, “What is leaking or do you know what caused the water damage? What areas in your property are affected as far as you know? Have you been able to stop the leak yourself or do you have a plumber onsite or on the way? If not, do you know where and how to shut off the water to your property? Have you contacted your insurance company yet? How were you referred to us? Who will meet us onsite and what is their contact info?”
– We arrive onsite
- You will be presented with a Work Authorization. This is a document you will need to sign stating we are allowed to perform emergency services in your property. It does not mean you are required to pay anything that day necessarily. However, it is a required document in order for us to begin work.
- If you haven’t been able to contact your insurance yet we can help you with that. If you already have a claim number and contact info for a claims adjuster we would collect that information as well. The sooner we can contact your insurance adjuster the better so we can move your claim along quickly and efficiently.
- We will take photos everywhere including the front of your property, 5-7 photos of each affected room and surrounding areas, photos of the area that caused the water leak.
- We will lay down tarps or plastic from the door to the work areas so we’re not tracking unnecessary dirt through your home
- If you haven’t been able to stop the water we will help get that done. This may mean we need to shut the water off completely to the property or if we can shut off the area locally (at the leak point) we will do that instead. If you haven’t been able to reach a plumber, we have several we work with who can respond immediately.
- We will elevate furniture onto blocks to get it out of the water as much as possible or we’ll move the furniture completely out of the flooded area.
- Extract all standing water
- We try to salvage as many building materials as possible by first drying in-place. In fact, we will not initiate any demo until verified we’re allowed to do so from the insurance company and materials are confirmed to have no asbestos or lead. We do this to make sure that everyone is safe and to make sure it will be covered in the claim. The last thing anyone wants is to have to replace materials that won’t be paid for by insurance.
- In situations where the water source is contaminated water such as sewage, toilet overflow, washing machine dirty water discharge, etc, removing building materials must be done without question and typically covered by insurance. We will remove materials as needed such as flooring and baseboard trim, kickplates under cabinetry, saturated insulation in crawlspace areas, etc. IMPORTANT: If your property was built 2004 or after we can safely remove saturated materials immediately. If the property is older we have to test materials such as drywall, sheet vinyl, vinyl tiles, rubber wall base, ceiling tiles, and blown-in insulation in attic areas. These are all suspect materials which may contain asbestos which must be tested to confirm no asbestos materials before any demo or removal is allowed. Typically we can have lab results within hours.
- Once we’ve been able to remove any saturated or contaminated building materials, cleaned up and sanitized the materials left in-place, we will set drying equipment such as air movers and dehumidifiers. These would need to remain running 24/7. The faster we can get your property dried, the faster it can get put back together again. Plus, most policies have limits to how long drying is allowed so it is critical that drying gets done quickly and efficiently.
- We will take more photos before we leave, showing what materials we had to remove and the drying equipment we set in place in all areas.
– Each day we will check the drying progress which may involve removing or adding more drying equipment, adjusting the equipment to other areas as some areas dry, removing more building materials if drying is not successful. Again, more photos will be taken
What type of documentation do you provide?
– Once everything is dry, we will provide several documents including:
- Signed Work Authorization
- Copy of lab analysis and chain of custody for any asbestos testing
- Dry Log (This is a daily record of moisture readings for materials we dry in-place)
- Certificate of Completion and Direction of Payment
- Invoice for Emergency Mitigation Services (Cleaning up the water damage)
- Supporting documentation from an online software program called Xactimate. This program is used by all insurance companies, and it dictates what pricing we’re allowed to charge as determined by zip code, each month. In this program we will create a complete sketch of the areas we worked in and input line by line detail of all the services we performed, where we placed drying equipment, how much, and for how long. It is extremely detailed.
- A weblink to all pictures and videos taken of your project, separated by date and time, with notes where applicable.
- ITEL analysis. This is a company insurance companies prefer we use for determining the value of materials needing replacement specifically for flooring, siding and roofing. How it works is we overnight a small sample of the material and they email a report back showing the value of the material.
- Other items we’ll provide are invoices for services such as professional upholstery cleaning, taxidermy cleaning, photo cleaning, book cleaning, carpet or specialty rug cleaning, and artwork restoration.
What happens after you’re done with the cleanup and dry out of my property?
– So, what happens next?
- By this point the insurance company has all they need to pay us for the work performed. There may be some negotiation or adjustment for a line item or two but that is typically a conversation between us and the insurance company. Once that is all worked out the insurance company should be sending us a check directly for the Emergency Mitigation Services. At that point we can talk about repairs.