Water Damage Insurance Claims

Water Damage Insurance Hotline:
800-602-9915

Hi, I’m John Morgenstern, President of Priority Adjusters, the premier Public Adjuster in California. You know, Water Damage is one of the most common claims on homeowner’s policies. Almost every day we get questions from clients like:

“John, I guess the cold water hose to my washing machine broke and water ran all through the laundry room and out into the hall. Will my insurance company blame me for not replacing the hose periodically?”

“John, our city sewer backed-up! It’s a mess. Do I contact the city or contact my insurance company to pay for the clean-up?”

“John, my roof leaked during yesterday’s storm. The wall by the fireplace is soaked? Should I call a contractor? Do I need to call my insurance company first? Will they call the contractor?”

My advice? – be careful how you report water damage to your insurer. While you must be truthful, of course, make sure you explain the situation with the right language. For example, don’t use the word “flood”. That may not be covered at all, while Water Damage from a sewer line or from a leaking pipe may be covered”.

You should call me right away to get help notifying your insurer and filing your claim…and for help using the correct terms to assure coverage is not limited or delayed.

Water Damage Insurance Hotline:
800-602-9915

Water and Flood Damage Claims

by John Morgenstern

Just last week I wrote about water damage and mentioned that actual flooding damage won’t be covered unless you have flood insurance. Wow – lots of feedback requesting further information! I hope this helps.

Homeowners and commercial property owners in flood plains are keenly aware of the need to purchase insurance to cover flood-related losses. The federal government, in conjunction with the insurance industry and local communities, formed the National Flood Insurance Program in 1968. This program makes flood coverage available nationwide.

Nearly twenty-five percent of flood insurance claims come from parts of the country that the NFIP considers low to moderate flood risk. NFIP reports that recent year average flood claims have been $24K per household. Often, for homes in moderate to high risk areas, lenders mandate the coverage. Don’t bank on disaster assistance from the feds. The federal government only provides it if the President declares a disaster. And, that assistance is loans, not grants.

To be eligible for flood insurance, you must live in a community that participates in the NFIP. In return, communities implement floodplain management specifications that minimize losses from floods. Determine if your CA community participates at FEMA’s Website. The policy is subsidized and administered by the federal government but you purchase it through regular insurance companies.

Costs – Flooding is currently in the news in Minnesota and Wisconsin. A quick check of rates there shows that homeowners in Stillwater, MN (on the WI border and on the scenic St. Croix River) pay over $100 per month for coverage, while a homeowner in Anaheim, CA may only spend $150 per year.

Limitations on coverage are about $500,000 for commercial property and about $350,000 for homes (including damage to contents).

Be cautious. You must know the definition of a flood before you purchase a policy! For example, damage from heavy rains may not qualify. The definition of “flood” used in the coverage is – a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area or of two or more properties (at least one of which is the policyholder’s property) from 1) overflow of inland or tidal waters, 2) unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source, 3) mudflow or 4) collapse of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels.

Myths and Misconceptions abound. For some reason there are lots of misconceptions about flood insurance. The truth is that you can get coverage

1. Nationwide

2. Flood plain or not

3. In spite of the fact that your property may have flooded in the recent past

4. Through your existing Agent/Company (likely)

I hope this helps you understand a little more about water damage from floods. Please visit our Water Damage Insurance Claims page for additional information and resources.

Water Damage Cleanup

Be careful how you report water damage from a leaky toilet or backed-up septic to your insurance company. While you must be truthful, make sure you explain the situation using the most accurate language — or you could find your claim denied.

Most people would not say, “my wife says she kinda thinks she heard the toilet running for many days…so, she did not think it would cause a problem while we were away for the Labor Day Holiday!” But, SOME WOULD!”

Best advice is to call an adjuster right away to get help filing the claim…and using the terms that are correct to assure your coverage is not limited.”

Water Damage Insurance Tips

Be careful how you report water damage to your insurance company. While you must  be truthful, make sure you explain the situation using the most accurate language — or you could find your claim denied.

“The way you initiate your claim may impact the settlement, especially in water damage cases” says John Morgenstern, President of Priority Adjusters.”

“Most people describe a house full of water as “flooded”, right? Well, if it’s not the result of a “flood” you don’t want to use that term with your insurance company! Believe, me!”

A “flood” may not be covered at all, while your damage from a backed-up sewer line or from a burst pipe may be fully covered”. To your insurance company, flooding means that the water came from an overflow of a lake, stream, or river. If it didn’t, don’t even use the word “flood,” says John.

Best advice is to call an adjuster right away to get help filing the claim…and using the terms that are correct to assure your coverage is not limited.

Insurance Claim aid for San Bruno Victims

San Bruno, CA – Sept 10: (Public Adjuster News Service) Priority Adjusters Inc scrambled its emergency response team immediately upon news of the heartbreaking tragedy in San Bruno, CA. On Sept 9th a massive natural gas explosion tore apart the normally tranquil neighborhood located near San Francisco. Claims adjusters with Priority Adjusters are available on scene now and into the foreseeable future.

Helpline for San Bruno property insurance claims:
800-602-9915 (24/7)

Priority Adjusters mobile disaster response team assists homeowners who suffered partial or complete property loss from the San Bruno Natural Gas Explosion.

“Priority Adjusters diverted our Los Angeles emergency response efforts to San Bruno immediately. Our Insurance Adjusters assist homeowners regardless of their insurance carrier. As Public Insurance Adjusters our job is to advocate solely on behalf of the property owner – we don’t work for the insurance company. I believe that having an experienced insurance negotiator working solely on behalf of victims is critical,” said Priority Adjusters Inc. President John Morgenstern.Morgenstern San Bruno emergency response team had previously been assisting homeowners who suffered loss in the California Wildfires.

Helpline for San Bruno property insurance claims:
800-602-9915 (24/7)

The American Red Cross established an emergency shelter located in San Bruno at 251 City Park Way at Crystal Springs Road.  The shelter is providing food, shelter and supplies for pets to evacuees. California Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado has proclaimed a State of Emergency for the City of San Bruno.  The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has authorized the use of federal funds to help the state of California fight the San Bruno Fire in San Mateo County.

Homeowners (claimants) may also contact Priority Adjusters directly at the company’s San Bruno Hotline at (800) 602-9915.  Priority Adjusters offers San Bruno homeowners the following tips for maximizing and speeding their insurance claims:

Preparing to file a claim:

  • Gather all important insurance documentation, if possible. But do not risk entering potentially dangerous or damaged structures in order to recover these documents.
  • Do not clean or move damages items.
  • Call a public insurance adjuster prior to calling your insurance company or filing a claim. (This should be a free consult and is critical to maximize your settlement).

Do NOT under any circumstances:

  • File your claim or contact your insurance company before consulting a Public Insurance Adjuster
  • Forgo a consult with a Public Adjuster (even if you have already filed your property insurance claim)
  • Forget to investigate if your insurance covers temporary housing and other emergency services

Helpline for San Bruno property insurance claims:
800-602-9915 (24/7)

Other Emergency Resources:

City of San Bruno
Red Cross / Red Cross Safe & Well
California Volunteers

About Priority Adjusters:

Priority Adjusters was created by John Morgenstern after he witnessed firsthand the suffering of good hardworking folks who received woefully inadequate insurance settlement. Priority Adjusters can be reached at 800-602-9915.

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Current News from San Bruno:

  • San Mateo County has activated their Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to provide support for this incident.
  • Fire declared 100 percent contained at 7:30pm on Sept. 11 after burning 15 acres.
  • 37 structures have been destroyed, 8 have been damaged.
  • There are 56 reported injuries.
  • San Mateo County Coroner has confirmed four (4) fatalities
  • A Local Assistance Center has been established at 251 City Park Way, San Bruno. Hours of operation will be 9:00am-7:00pm.
  • Per the American Red Cross (ARC) affected persons are being advised to either go to the Veterans Center to complete a Safe and Well form which will be placed on the ARC Website for family members to check. Residents may also go to the website and enter their information directly or look for information about others. The website can be located at: www.redcross.org/safeandwell
  • The City of San Bruno, US Small Business Administration (SBA), FEMA, and Cal EMA will begin an official joint preliminary damage assessment on Monday to determine eligibility for federal assistance.

Water Damage Restoration & Claims

Be careful how you report water damage to your insurance company. Most people contact their insurance company immediately after any water damage at all. Most of the time, no harm. However, sometimes you may decide against filing a claim – for a number of reasons.

When you end the call, you may think the matter is closed. But the company likely recorded your call and the details of the damage. That call can haunt you for years because most insurers report such damage to be included in your C.L.U.E. (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange) database. They report the incident, whether or not you file a claim.

Your C.L.U.E. report details losses reported on your property and on you and stay on your record for seven years. The report is used to “adjust” your rate and to determine eligibility for renewal. Two pretty important issues!

Best advice is to call an adjuster right away to get help thinking through the loss and considering the claim.

When you end the call, you may think the matter is closed. But the company likely recorded your call and the details of the damage. That call can haunt you for years because most insurers report such damage to be included in your C.L.U.E. (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange) database. They report the incident, whether or not you file a claim.

Palmdale fire: Commercial & Business

Many forget that wildfires like the Crown Fire also have a devastating financial impact on business. Commercial property damage is serious. Business owners face loss of revenue and loss of merchandise. Meanwhile their payroll expenses continue – as do their existing responsibilities to their clients.

For immediate help (24/7) call: 1-800-602-9915

Commercial property owners often have trouble getting the proper attention they deserve from their insurance carrier. Many commercial property owners benefit from the assistance of a Public Insurance Adjuster. Business people in particular have the ability to understand the value of expertise.

Public Adjuster John Morgenstern solely represents the commercial business owner. There is no conflict of interest. Just a fair settlement. And those settlements are often 2-3 times greater than the insurance carrier’s ‘final’ offer.

“Wildfire damage to Commercial property  – in Palmdale, Lancaster or anywhere – can cripple and even destroy a lifetime of work and investment. My team is committed to making sure that does not happen to our clients,” said Public claims adjuster John Morgenstern.

Dramatic Video from the scene


About:

Los Angeles Public Adjuster firm Public Adjusters Inc serves home owners and property owners in Los Angeles County, Orange County, Riverside County and Ventura County. The Southern California Public Adjuster firm is dedicated to helping property owners maximize insurance claims and protect their interests in the insurance settlement process.

For immediate help (24/7) call: 1-800-602-9915

Palmdale / Lancaster Fire Victims Insurance Summit

Press Release

Crown Fire Emergency Recovery Summit convenes August 25th to provide education and guidance to homeowners and commercial property owners who suffered property damage – and in some cases, total property loss – in the recent Southern California Wildfires.

Palmdale, CA August 15th, 2010 : Palmdale and Lancaster property owners now face the daunting task of recovery. The media spotlight has moved on since the recent Crown Fire and other wildfires. Many property owners feel completely alone and without resources. A local coalition of business and community leaders have organized an upcoming free summit – the Crown Fire Emergency Recovery Summit – in hopes of meeting the great need with education, tips and resources.

The Crown Fire Emergency Recovery Summit will convene on August 25th in downtown Palmdale, CA. There is no charge to attend and residents are encouraged to spread the word throughout the community. The summit will feature local experts in the areas of property insurance claims, catastrophe construction / restoration,  disaster tax relief and more.

The event is designed to offer participants the opportunity to speak one-on-one with disaster experts, if they are comfortable doing so. Also, residents may attend the formal education sessions scheduled throughout the summit.

Crown Fire Emergency Recovery Summit breakout sessions:

  • Homeowners: Understanding insurance claim processes to maximize settlement
  • Commercial insurance claims – from structural loss to lost revenue to inventory loss
  • Renters: What are your rights after a fire?
  • Smoke damage: 10 Critical Rules for Health and Safety
  • Ash/Soot issues, removal and risks
  • Fact vs. Myth: How important are contractor ‘certifications?’
  • Respiratory Health: Controlling asthma and determining health risks
  • Asthma and our advancing knowledge of respiratory ailments

About the Crown Fire Emergency Recovery Summit.

The Crown Fire Emergency Recovery Summit is an event convened with the sole intention of helping property owners successfully navigate the confusing path toward recovery following the recent Crown Fire and other California Wildfires.

Exact event location and times have yet to be determined as organizers scramble to secure a suitable location to meet the demand. To recommend or donate venues to this important event, please contact the office of summit participant and co-chair John Morgenstern, Public Adjuster at 800-602-9915.

Palmdale Crown fire threatens homes

For immediate help (24/7) call: 1-800-602-9915

“Home owners in Palmdale and Lancaster need to know they are not alone, in the wake the Crown fires,” said Public Insurance Adjuster John Morgenstern. “After the media spotlight moves on our team remains to help homeowners get fair settlements for their property damage in the Crown Fires. It’s no surprise folks in Palmdale and Lancaster are getting the usual homeowner insurance runaround and low-ball settlements.”

Dramatic Video from the scene


About:

Los Angeles Public Adjuster firm Public Adjusters Inc serves home owners and property owners in Los Angeles County, Orange County, Riverside County and Ventura County. The Southern California Public Adjuster firm is dedicated to helping property owners maximize insurance claims and protect their interests in the insurance settlement process.

For immediate help (24/7) call: 1-800-602-9915