Let’s start off by saying, we’re absolutely not advocating for anybody to lie to their insurance company (see: insurance fraud A.K.A. jail time); However, you should really think about how you phrase things if you want to don’t want to have any problems with your claim later on.
Examples of What You Should and Shouldn’t Say
Don’t say “I think” when your trying to explain the water damage situation to your insurance agent, instead, you should say“I don’t know”.
Actually, you shouldn’t guess at all if you’re not 100% certain about the cause of water damage.
For example, when the adjuster arrives you don’t want to say “I think the water damage is from some sort of construction defect”. That might be an exclusion under your policy, so you’ve essentially give then insurance company an out when you don’t even know if that was the true cause or not.
You should also avoid the word
“flooded”. There is a very specific definition of “flood” in the insurance industry, and most homeowners insurance policies don’t cover water damage due to flooding. In the insurance world, flooding is defined as external, ground water entering a building structure (e.g. hurricanes, tsunamis, river overflows, etc). This entirely different from a home flood caused by an internal source of water, like a washing machine overflow.
For instance, never say“My basement is flooded”. Instead, you should say “my basement is full of water.”
Another tip: when you call them, don’t ask “my house has water damage, what’s my deductible?”. Let’s say you decided not to go ahead and file the claim because it actually costs less to pay out of pocket to fix the damage yourself. Oops! You already slipped and told them about the damage, which could go on your record. Instead, you should ask “how much is my deductible?”.