5/24/2016 11:32 AM

What to Do After a Home Claim or How I Ruined My Weekend

Part 1: The Event

Water Damage on Ceiling

Working as an Insurance agent, I’ve taken a lot of home claims and turned them into the home insurance company.  Occasionally I became more involved, sending estimates to the adjuster or calling an adjuster and reminding them to 

Carpet Pulled Up from Closet

call our customer.  When people asked me what to expect or do, or a time frame, I could never give them much of an idea.  I had never experienced it and frankly every home, situation, person, and claim is different.  You can’t stamp a time frame on them.

Well, unfortunately, I experienced my first homeowners insurance claim last

Because it was a long, drawn out process, I’ve broken it into 4 parts.  Here’s how it all started: year.  I found the experience stressful, frustrating, a lot of work and totally surprising.  I didn’t know what to do or expect, and couldn’t find real life experiences from anyone online.  So I compiled mine as I went through it.

Day 1: The Event 10/24

I had a lovely Saturday morning to myself, all planned out to be relaxing and productive.  I had gotten most of the chores out of the way on Friday, and planned to spend my morning cooking and moving forward on home projects.  I tossed in a tiny load of laundry (just some kitchen towels and potholders) in the washing machine and went about getting other things done.

My washing machine beeped when finished (as usual) and I went to get the load out.  But my feet got wet right next to the machine, and there was water on the floor.

I’d love to tell you I was calm, but I panicked.  I ran to the linen closet and pulled out all the old towels, putting them around the washing machine. After going back to the closet, I realized the floor in the closet was wet and pulled everything out.  I checked the bedroom behind the washing machine and found the floor to be wet right by the baseboard all along the wall.  I quickly pulled all the items sitting there to the middle of the room, except for the treadmill.

I realized at that point it was out of my scope of capability, and tried to call my husband and tell him to come home from work and help.  He didn’t answer, so I called my dad, Don Killingbeck (also my insurance agent before I started working here, and my go-to whenever I don’t know what to do).

He gave me great advice.  Don’t try to handle it on your own – get help.  Tell Ben (my husband) that despite what he may want to get professional help.  He told me all his clients that had tried to dry their homes out on their own had run into more problems later.  Since it was a Saturday morning, I needed emergency water extraction service.

More Water Damage on Ceiling

After that my husband did come home, start our tiny dehumidifier and what fans we had on the area. I used our new carpet cleaner to extract what water I could, but it wasn’t strong enough to even make a dent in the amount of water.

We were leaving to go to Menards to get another, stronger fan when we noticed something worse.  The front porch had a large puddle of water, and the door frame was dripping.  We walked back into our house to notice the dining room ceiling, the area right under our washing machine, showing water spots.

At this point we realized this truly was out of our scope of knowledge and called a 24/7 water extraction service.  It took them over an hour to arrive.  They discovered the dining room carpet was wet, the wall above and next to our front door was wet, as well as the ceiling.  Water quickly travels to the lowest spot.

It took them a good amount of time to set up everything. Our ceiling and wall were so saturated they easily pushed in the small pieces of what I all the sci-fi monster in my house (used to blow air into the wall and ceiling). They also installed 4 floor fans upstairs and 4 floor fans downstairs, pulled back more carpet, put our furniture on blocks, installed the monster sci-fi coil dryer, and a large dehumidifier on each floor.

Water on Porch

I just have to say living with all these fans was horrible.  They are noisy, loud, and blow the dust from the carpets all around my house.  Earplugs and hearing protection seemed essential to not yell every time after leaving the house, and headaches are apparently just part of the deal.  As was trouble sleeping with the constant roaring noise. I really didn’t want any water damage or chance of mold, but the remedy was not any fun.

I did immediately what my homeowner’s insurance policy required me to do, which is keep further damage from happening to my home and belongings.  Water damage was a scary thing, and if left alone, could lead to mold quickly.  Even waiting until Monday would have put me at a higher risk of developing mold.

I also took pictures of everything.  Photos of the wet porch, door frame, ceiling, etc.  Pictures of the fans and drying equipment.  Photos of the business card of the people I had come to dry out the house.  Always document your claim in case there are questions or the adjuster needs to see the damage before remediation.  The only thing I don’t have a picture of is sitting water, because I was not leaving that long enough to photograph.

Check back to learn more about the water remediation of my home, or continue to Part 2

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