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Frozen Pipe Claims AAN Adjusters

Frozen Pipe Claims AAN Adjusters

Frozen Pipe Claims AAN Adjusters

Protect Your Frozen Pipe Leak Claim by Understanding Your Responsibilities

Just as it is important to understand coverage, it is the duty of the policyholder to start the cleanup, dry out, and mitigation process in order to prevent further damage from occurring. Naturally, there will be pressure on the policyholder to hire qualified and professional help. Given this high-pressure environment, policyholders need to keep their eye on the ball or in this case the money. Unscrupulous contractors will no doubt try and take advantage of many folks and it is important the policyholder read and understand the work authorization forms that will be pushed on them by the emergency service crews. Even if they are supposedly sent from the carrier! Keep in mind that you are signing these forms, not your insurance company. Remember that in catastrophe-type situations such as widespread frozen pipe leaks, price gouging can occur. Your insurance company is not likely to pay anything but “reasonable and necessary” clean-up and repair costs. The balance of the bill will be your responsibility since you agreed to pay when you signed the work authorization form.

You can avoid this problem by trying to add language to the work authorization stating that: “any billing is subject to an agreement and approval by the insurance company.” Some emergency service companies may balk at this, but others may agree so they don’t lose the business. Having the clout of your insurance company in disputes regarding emergency services costs can be a powerful ally. If you do not have this spelled out on the emergency service agreement contract up front, you likely have the burden to try and negotiate any dispute yourself. Your best bet to avoid this problem has to the insurance adjuster and the contractor agree on the scope and price of the loss before the commencement of the work. Unfortunately, in large catastrophe situations, it may be days or weeks before an adjuster gets out to inspect your loss. So while a claim may be reported and a claim number assigned, remember you are going to be on your own in the initial stages of the claim. Please pay attention to all that is being done and said.

We also suggest you keep a daily diary of all conversations and commitments that take place, with names, phone numbers, emails, business cards, etc preserved for later reference if needed. Use email to send confirmations, instructions, etc. that may be given by any party to you about your loss.

Your water-damage claim also might be denied if your insurer concludes that you are responsible for the pipe bursting in the first place. Most pipes that burst do so because they freeze. If you left your home unheated during freezing weather, your insurer can cite your “Negligence” as the basis for denial. Or if you failed to maintain or did not take the precautionary measures listed below, the carrier may cite “normal wear and tear” as their basis of denial. An example of this may be an old or corroded pipe.
This is when using an experienced public adjuster to negotiate your claim can be helpful.

Precautions to Prevent Freezing Pipes:

Here is a list of things you can do to help protect your pipes from freezing during the winter:

  • Clean your gutters so melting snow and ice can flow freely
  • Turn on your faucets and allow them to drip slowly. Moving water will prevent freezing.
  • Heat your house to a minimum of 65 degrees in the winter
  • Open cabinet doors below sinks. It will help allow warm air to circulate.
  • Drain your water system if you’re away for an extended time.
  • Disconnect all gardening hoses and install covers on all outside faucets.
  • Identify the location of the main water valve and the valve on your water heater. (Learning the location of these valves may come in handy during an emergency.)
  • Wrap pipes nearest exterior walls and in crawl spaces with pipe insulation or with heating tape. This can prevent freezing, especially for interior pipes that run along outside walls.
  • Close all windows near water pipes; cover or close open-air vents. Freezing temperatures combined with wind drafts can cause pipes to freeze more frequently.
  • Heat your basement and consider weather-sealing your windows.
  • Insulate outside walls and unheated areas of your home.
  • If you plan to be away from home for an extended period of time, shut off the water supply valves to your washing machine.
Call us at AAN Adjusters

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