Reducing Water Damage Costs
Updated: Apr 26
I was talking to a local insurance agent in our small town of Payson, AZ and he mentioned that they were paying more out in claims then they received in insurance premiums year after year. Although I am not 100% sure as to why that is happening in the small market, I am willing to make some guesses.
Small town markets like Payson, AZ have a higher number of second and resort-style homes and I would venture to guess based on experience that when there is a claim in a second home that it is much more severe and costly damage.
Another factor could be that we have a number of manufactured homes in the area. Manufactured home tends to cost more to dry out and materials get damaged easier because of the particleboard flooring and cabinets. Also, the water goes into the belly paper and insulation below, not something you need to worry about in most homes.
When there is a water damage restoration event, most insurance companies follow the same procedures they would across the board whether the job was in Phoenix, AZ, Tulsa Oklahoma or Payson, AZ. That procedure is to send out their “Preferred Vendor” Well because most of these preferred vendors are on national contracts with the insurance companies, they get the call. But since we do not have any local providers this means companies are driving two hours to get here and, in many cases, waiting until the next day.
This time cost much more money for the insurance carrier in 3 ways. 1. This gives water longer to soak into materials which makes it take longer to dry. 2. Because water has sat longer, many times the materials will need to be removed because of worries of mold and bacteria. 3. The efficiency that is lost by sending a crew from two hours away is bound to slow things down and increase the cost.
What can be done to lower the cost of insurance claims and reduce the inconvenience of a water damage claim?
If at all possible, at the very moment you experience water damage call a reputable local company to dry it out right away. Hint hint! Check out our Google Reviews!
On average jobs that we arrived onsite within a few hours of the original leak dry out with minimal removal of materials in 2 days. Jobs that we do not get called into until the next day take 3-4 days to dry. And jobs that we are called in two days or longer take longer to dry and a greater amount of materials removed like drywall. This lead to greater reconstruction cost.
Disclaimor: These times are based on a single-story water loss, two-story homes are more complex. There are also some materials that must be removed no matter how fast we get onsite.
Bottom line, dealing with the water damage quickly costs considerably less and will make the entire process go smoother. Hiring a local pro, will get the process started quickly and be a better overall experience. Tell your insurance company that you have a local company who can provide the work for you.
Local agents are instructed in most cases to tell their customers to call the 1-800 claims line. The claims service encourages their customer to use their preferred provider. The claims dept follows the rules set before them. But you as the homeowner have no obligation to use their providers. So you need to ask yourself is using the insurance out of town provider in your best interest? I would argue that it might not even be in the best interest of the insurance company.
The hardest part is educating in advance of a water damage claim. Because once you have the claim you need to make a bunch of rapid decisions and from what we see the worst decision is indecision. Waiting too long to start the drying process. Waiting until there is an odor before doing something about it. By the time your water damage stinks you can bet the claim is going to be expensive and inconvenient.
If we as a restoration company and insurance companies/agent could better educate their customers on water damage prevention and response it would lead to better decision making early in the process which would reduce cost for everyone!
From my humble experience.