This is the sixth in a series of articles which document the procedure/process following a burst water pipe and the subsequent insurance claim. I decided to write the articles following such an event in my house and being unable to find much in the way of useful information online. Hopefully, in time, the search engines will pick these articles up and if you are unfortunate enough to suffer a similar event, my experience might give you some idea of what to expect. The first article in this series can be found here.
So, some eight months since a pipe burst in my loft and flooded my house, I got my property returned to me, fully repaired and basically like a brand new home. If you are reading this because something similar has happened to your house and you have no idea what will happen with the insurance claim and so on, the following tips might help guide you through a, frankly, pain in the backside time…
One of the first things that will happen with any reasonable-sized claim is that a loss adjuster will visit you. A loss adjuster’s job is to ensure that the claim is settled fairly and within the terms of the policy. He/she is also tasked with identifying and reporting fraudulent or suspicious claims. If you have nothing to hide, the loss adjuster, in my experience at least, is your friend. He isn’t there to try and talk down your claim – far from it – in my case he actually told me about some things I could claim for that I wasn’t even aware of! In other words, he effectively increased the size of the claim. Although the loss adjuster is employed by the insurance company, he/she should act impartially, which means you should end up getting exactly what you are entitled to. Make a friend of your loss adjuster – he isn’t the enemy and if you have considerable damage like I did, you will have to liaise with him on a regular basis so it makes sense to make the effort to get on. In my case, this was easy because the loss adjuster assigned to my case was a genuinely nice guy who was also very knowledgeable and helpful.
Be prepared for the insurance claim and associated works to dominate your life for a few months. When I look back at 2015, the first eight months of the year were entirely dominated by my trashed house and chasing people, arranging appointments, working on the wreck and so on. Expect to do a lot of telephone chasing – most of the people involved in the insurance and building industry seem to be extremely busy all of the time and you will need to constantly chase things to make sure progress is made. This is frustrating and will, at times, feel like you are banging your head against a brick wall but keep going, it will get done eventually!
Get yourself into rented accommodation as soon as possible. Your insurance company should arrange this if your property is uninhabitable. I tried living in a hotel (which I thought would be fun) and this soon gets boring and expensive (even with the insurance co paying for the room). I also put on a load of weight because I couldn’t cook my own meals. I have no idea how this would have worked if I had a ‘normal’ job or a family with me.
Finally, keep reminding yourself that you will get to the end of the claim/repairs eventually and you will very quickly forget about all of the hassle and stress. I’ve been back in my house for a couple of months now and it’s been quite fun spending the insurance money on new furniture etc. Plus my house is in great shape and has some nice new touches which wouldn’t have been there had the pipe not burst. I’m not saying it was worth going through the experience in order to get a few new doors – far from it – but I’ve almost forgotten the frustration, irritation and stress of the whole affair and I am left with a shiny new house for my trouble!