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Question DetailsAsked on 2/18/2015

A frozen pipe from baseboard upstairs broke and water flowed down into below floor, through windows and ceiling.

Plumber is fixing frozen pipe that broke and leaked onto upstairs floor. Lots of water flowed down through below room's ceiling recessed lights and chandelier. Water came down through the window trim. Water also flowed through to basement ceiling (unfinished) and down walls. It was all limited to one side of the house. Do I contact Insurance company and do I need to replace windows that water was leaking down through, any repairs to floor that was flooded upstairs and recessed lighting etc that water was flowing through. I don't know what to fix before I submit claim to insurance company. I don't want problems with ceiling or any other damage to surface after I submit claim. Thanks for any advice. This is my first incident of water damage.

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1 Answer

Voted Best Answer

Whether you contact insurance company is your call - if you have a high deductible and did not experience signficant damage to finishes (especially wood/laminate flooring) it may be you can have a Water and Smoke Damage contractor come in and dry everything out without excessive expense, assuming they get on it with about 48 hours before mold sets in.

If in doubt, or have low deductible (say $500 or $1000 range) then you are likely to pay less using your insurance, and certainly protect yourself better against extreme costs by contacting your homeowners insurance carrier - they commonly have emergency response companies on tap to respond to this type of situation, which can mean less overall and carpet damage - and can make the difference between dry and repaint or gut and remodel.

An example - we had a neighbor who forgot to unhook his hose, and burst an outdoor fauceet pipein the wall, and got about 1/2 inch of water in the basement living area (split-level house). Total repair cost was over $15,000 - one entire wall gutted, all carpet and flooring ripped out and replaced, 4 wall repaint of one room. So cost can be high if it soaked flooring (expecially hardwood) or you have any fancy finishes. Plus of course any furnishings damage.

Any repairs you make yourself or have done before the insurance company is notified are highly unlikely to be covered - though once notified, if they are not able to respond immediately with a water damage contractor (or tell you to get your own with some companies) then generally emergency response measure like having the water vacuumed up, carpets and padding removed and eitehr dried or disposed of, and getting ventilation and dehumidification into play in the affected rooms and walls/floors is most likely to be covered by insurance. Reconstruction generally requires their approval or appraisal of damages before commencement to be covered.

In your case, saturated materials need to be removed - flooring, insulation, etc. If gotten to fast, drywall can commonly be saved except sometimes bottom strip along walls which can be replaced as a strip. Lighting and wiring needs to be dried out before use, or sometimes parts replaced if shorted out during the wetting. All wet areas need to be dried out with forced air ventilation, and generally (depending on suitability of drawing outside air for ventilation) dehumidification during high humidity or outdoor cold conditions. Generally any electrical/electronic appliances (other than ligth fixtures) that got saturated get replaced. Windows and doors commonly come through fine if dried out quickly - though some wood windows do swell and come apart if gotten really wet - you ahve to see how they operate and how the finish looks after drying out. Of course, exact issues and replacement decisions depend on the specific circumstances, and on the appraiser who looks at your condition.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD


Thanks for the info, LCD.

Answered 5 years ago by anishivaa

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