Important Issues for Homeowners Insurance Policyholders Pursuing Water Damage Caused by a Burst Pipe

J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo
Founder of J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A.

When your home or business is damaged by a sudden unanticipated leak, broken pipe beneath the slab or a long-term obscured leak, water can cause significant damage to your business or home.  Settlement of a pipe break claim can provide the funds to repair or rebuild your home or to get your business back on the path to recovery.  As a Miami insurance coverage lawyer and former claim adjuster, I have experience with the unique issues and challenges that confront property owners when their property is damaged after a pipe bursts. 

Water damage claims are complicated because some forms of water damage are covered while other types of water damage are subject to exclusion.  Although flood damage is not covered under a standard homeowner's policy without purchasing separate coverage, for example, a pipe that explodes and floods the kitchen causing sudden and accidental damage often will be covered.

One of the forms of repair that is typical after water damages your cabinetry, flooring, baseboards and other parts of your home or business involves use of a restoration contractor.  A qualified restoration contractor can evaluate the scope and severity of the water damage.  The contractor also can set up equipment to dry out effected areas while mitigating long-term problems like the growth of black mold.  Generally, your insurance company should be prepared to cover this sort of damage to reduce the possibility of further damage.

Water damage from a burst or leaking pipe can cause an array of damages that homeowner's sometimes overlook when making insurance claims.  Water may seep into spaces unknown to a property owner and cause secondary damage that is not immediately apparent.  This non-obvious water penetration can cause an array of problems including electrical damage, fire hazards, structural damage, rust, mold and mildew.  Whether the water damage is caused by an overflowing washing machine, burst pipe or leak at the joint of plumbing inside your home, the damage to your home can range in severity from stains on the ceiling to catastrophic damage to the entire structure.

The determination of whether water damage is covered can turn on subtle distinctions regarding the duration and unexpected nature of the event that caused the water penetration.  Insurance adjusters who handle claims do not have your best interests in mind.  The role of these agents of your insurer is to minimize the financial loss experienced by their employer.  The adjuster and other representatives of the insurance company tend to omit secondary damages from the estimate of the value of the loss unless the policy does not cover the particular form of secondary loss.

An insurance claims attorney can help protect your interests and ensure you receive the full value of your claim in the following ways:

  • Assist in preparing appropriate paperwork like a sworn proof of loss
  • Review and analyze the policy coverage, exclusions, limits and deductions
  • Negotiate a settlement for the highest value based on the damages
  • Assist in getting your property inspected by an independent expert who can assess the damage
  • Help you obtain funds to cover temporary relocation while your home is being repaired
  • Coordinate the process of obtaining estimates for the cost of repair or replacement
  • Advise you regarding hiring contractors and appropriate experts to repair the damage to the structure
  • Conduct negotiations and respond to correspondence from the insurer
  • Engage in ADR methods to resolve your claim like the appraisal process, arbitration or mediation
  • File a lawsuit for bad faith and breach of contract

If you have questions about Florida water damage claims, such as a claim involving a burst pipe, you are welcome to contact my Miami insurance claims dispute law firm.  My law firm represents policyholders in claims disputes in Miami and throughout Florida.  The Law Firm of J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A. offers free consultations and case evaluations.  No Recovery, No Lawyer Fees.  Call 305-461-1095 or Toll Free 1-866-71-CLAIM.

1 Comments
Last night when I was going to bed I actually noticed that my carpet was wet. I think they were doing some work on the plumbing on the third floor of my apartment. I'm guessing it leaked and that's what caused my floor to be wet. I need to call my apartment today and get them to come and fix the water damage. I hope that it doesn't take too long and that they can get it taken care of as soon as possible. http://www.atlanticcarpetcare.net/water-restoration/1399231
by Kristen Dockery February 4, 2015 at 01:16 PM
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