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Insurance coverage is very situationally dependent. Each policy from each different company will have different levels and types of coverage. The best way to know if your damage is covered is to keep a copy of your policy on hand and call your agent directly with any questions you might have.
As a homeowner, seeing your home damaged is extremely stressful and it’s difficult to know the right course of action. Will trying to clean up on your own help or just make things worse? No matter what kind of damage you’ve incurred, the very first thing you should do is take photographs as long as the area is safe for you to be in. If you have water damage, the best thing to do is extract as much standing water as you possibly can while you wait for help. If you have fans, set them to start drying things as much as possible. They won’t be enough to completely dry the area, but they can help to minimize the chance of secondary damages. In the event of mold or fire, it’s best to just leave the damage alone until a professional can address it. Disturbed mold can disperse spores throughout the home and fire damages can be made worse if improper cleaning techniques are used.
The length of time for proper restoration to occur is dependent on the type and size of the damage. A typical water damage usually takes 5-7 days for drying and removal of any unsalvageable materials. Mold remediation can take anywhere from a few hours to several days depending on the extent of the damage. Fires cause the most extensive damage and can take weeks for restoration to be completed. Keep in mind, these are all estimates and they’re only for the restoration portion of the job. The rebuilding portion of the job, where everything is put back into place, has its own separate process and timeline.
Most homeowner’s policies cover most water damages, but not all water damages are created equal. There can be a lot of exceptions to coverage depending on the intricacies of your policy. This is why it’s a good idea to be familiar with your policy and call your agent right away when a damage occurs.
A good portion of water damage can be prevented by proper household maintenance. Routine plumbing maintenance as well as sump pump and appliance maintenance are effective ways to avoid preventable damages. If you live in a cold climate, preparing your home for the winter can also help avoid damage. Finally, it’s a good idea to regularly check the exterior of your home, particularly your roof, for damage to ensure water isn’t unexpectedly leaking into your home.