Water damages in a San Francisco rental property can be extremely unsettling for you as a landlord. Many times, we have seen landlords panic when they find water damage in the property and immediately reach out to the insurance company to file a claim, even if it’s a minor leakage issue.
However, chances are that the claim can prove to be unreasonable, which may lead to loss of credibility with the insurance company. It is, therefore, necessary to be calm and investigate all aspects of the problem to make an informed decision.
Based on our experience of over 30 years, here are a few things that you must know before filing a water damage insurance claim.
What Is Included Under Water Damages?
Water damages can occur due to natural calamities, accidents, negligence, or abuse. Based on the cause or source, they are broadly categorized as follows:
- Clean water damages: These are caused due to broken water supply lines or overflown sinks and bathtubs. These are typically toxin-free.
- Gray water damages: These are caused due to toxic gray waters released from various appliances, including washing machines and toilets.
- Blackwater damage: These occur due to seawater, river water, floodwaters, or groundwater. It is more often toxic, hence, highly risky.
What Does Water Damage Insurance Cover?
The coverage and non-coverage of several items vary from plan to plan and company to company. However, most companies cover the following types of water damages.
- Bursting of pipes or water tanks
- Damages from ice dams or storms
- Water leaks
On the other hand, a few items that are not included in a large number of insurance plans are:
- Flood damages.
- Wear and tear damages.
- Damages caused due to lack of property maintenance or due to water backups from outside the home.
- Repairing or replacing the source of water damages like the appliances.
Tips For Self-Managing Landlords In San Francisco
Water damages can be hard to deal with, especially if you’re managing the rental single-handedly. Here are a few tips that can help.
Call A Licensed Plumber
When you notice water damages, ask a licensed plumber to visit and check the cause of the leak as soon as possible. It could be due to broken seals, corrosion, high water pressure, sudden changes in temperature, broken pipe joints, or loose water connectors. Once the definite cause of leakage has been traced, check your insurance policy terms and whether it covers the damages that have occurred in your unit.
To successfully claim water damage and receive fair compensation, you will need strong evidence that proves the same. We recommend you take pictures and videos of any water damages that have occurred, including damaged walls, furniture, appliances, or rusted property. Otherwise, it can be difficult to get the maximum recompense from the insurance company.
Also, know that insurance companies do not compensate for any long-term leaks, especially the ones that have lasted for over two weeks.
Move All Undamaged Possessions
Do all you can to prevent more damage as the Insurance company only compensates for the initial water damage claim. Here are a few things you can do:
- Cover the broken doors and windows with boards.
- Try to keep the surfaces dry by draining or mopping.
- Air out the unit.
- Keep valuable items far from the damage-prone areas.
- Shut off the valve.
Call Your Insurance Agent
We suggest you call your insurance agent or consult with your property manager before filing a claim. They will review your policy, take a close look at the damages, and check if your claim holds weight. If your policy covers the damages, they will help you settle claims on your insurance for the specific water damages.
Talk to A San Francisco Property Manager
If you have a property manager for your San Francisco rental, we highly recommend that you inform them before contacting the insurance company. If you call the insurance company first, they will send an adjuster to inspect your home, who will gather information related to the damage. Plus, if the adjuster concludes that your reasons are not valid to get the claim, or worse, that yours is a false claim, you would have to pay a lot more than your current premium, or even extra penalties, depending upon the policy terms.
Property managers can easily examine and tell if your insurance policy covers the damages. No matter if it is a small leak issue or a major problem, they will try to resolve the problems at their level. Besides, if the damage is severe enough and can be claimed, they also assist you in claiming the compensation amount.
Working with a trusted property management company, like Gordon Property Management can make this process much easier. We have been helping San Francisco landlords make profitable rental decisions since 1987. We understand your anxiety to protect your rental from water damage and can help you make the right decision with respect to filing an insurance claim.
For more information, contact our team at Gordon Property Management.