7 Steps You Should Take To Avoid Water Damage Claims

Corroded Pipes Water Damage | Professional Loss Adjusters

So often we’re brought into insurance claims that could have been avoided if the property owner knew what to look for before the damage occurred. As a licensed Public Adjuster, I see this all the time. In addition to being a Public Adjuster, I am also a certified Water Remediation Specialist. Below, I offer you—the property owner—seven steps to help you avoid a water damage loss to your property and possessions.

STEP #1: Check plumbing for any signs of corrosion every 6-12 months. This includes checking all visible pipes, shut-offs, washing machine hoses, dishwashers, and garbage disposals. Make sure that the connections are in good condition and nothing is broken. If you find something corroded, call your plumber immediately to get the pipes changed out.

Water Heater Installation | Professional Loss Adjusters

STEP #2: Keep an eye on your hot water heater. They have a typical life span of 10-12 years, usually with a 10-year warranty. Signs that your water heater might be failing include a lack of consistency in water temperature and the length of time the water stays hot. Another telltale sign that your water heater is failing occurs when you find yourself consistently turning up the temperature in an effort to get hot water. Finally, if the heater shows signs of corrosion you should plan on proactively changing it out for a new one.

STEP #3: If you have a sump pump, it needs to be in a deep enough pit in order to be most effective. To determine the depth requirement, you will need to know the location of your water table. Pour water into the pit to see if the pump is in good working order. Make sure the pump is draining out properly—far enough from the building. Optimally, you want the drain to be a least 10 feet out from the foundation, depending on your land, and draining in the opposite direction of the foundation.

STEP #4: If your home or business is heated by forced hot water/boiler, make sure you have the boiler serviced annually. Visually inspect it for any signs of corrosion. Signs to look for are little drips of rusty water around the boiler, or signs of corrosion (green or white residue) on the boiler itself.

Outdoor Spigot | Professional Loss Adjusters

STEP #5: Prep for winter by draining and shutting off all outside spigots. Make sure gutters and downspouts are cleaned and not clogged with leaves and other debris. Maintain proper heat in the building so your pipes don’t freeze. Your thermostat is measuring and controlling the temperature where it is located on a wall, not where the pipes are located. You may want to set the thermostat appropriately to ensure that the temperature at the pipes is above freezing. Vacation homes should be winterized. It is worthwhile to pay a plumber to come shut off the water main as you will then have proof that you winterized your property if damage occurs. Your insurance company will require you to prove this.

STEP #6: If you have a direct drain humidifier, make sure that the hoses are draining properly. If you have one that doesn’t have drainage, make sure that the shut-off is checked regularly for any problems.

STEP #7: Make sure children are not playing with garden hoses near basement windows. (We know this sounds silly, but it can and does happen more often than you think!)

If you’ve taken these steps and still find you have a suffered property damage, call us immediately. We can gauge whether or not our services are needed based upon the scope of the damage and the size of the claim. We can also advise and guide you toward the correct decisions moving forward. We can recommend a professional emergency service company and dry cleaning services experienced in these types of issues. 

Our advice is free and puts you under no obligation. Don't be left underwater by your insurance carrier, contact me at mgarofalo@pla-us.com for fast claim response and expert handling of your insurance claim. And, remember the benefits of hiring a Public Adjuster—we handle the preparation of the claim, we act as a go-between and handle the negotiation on your behalf with the insurance company and we can secure a higher insurance settlement than you could get on your own.


Michael Garofalo

A former claims service specialist and field property adjuster with a well-known insurance company, Michael has extensive experience adjusting homeowner and business claims. He is a Haag Certified Roof Inspector and is certified by the IICRC in Water Remediation and Mitigation. In addition, he is a former project manager for a large mitigation franchise.

Michael holds an Associates Degree in Business Administration Management from Massasoit Community College and a Bachelors Degree in History from Bridgewater State College.

Michael is licensed in Florida, Georgia, Virginia, West Virginia, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, North Carolina, South Carolina, Louisiana, and Texas.