17 August 2018

What to do in the case of water damage?

Water damage can be a real nuisance: whether a burst pipe or flooding from heavy rain. In many cases it also happens very quickly without you knowing exactly where the problem is. What should you do? Do not panic and follow these 7 steps.

1. Remove the cause

Locate the cause and do everything you can to limit the damage. You are obliged to do this and it will save you considerable trouble. As a tenant, do not wait for the owner, even if it costs you more. Your insurance will almost always refund any costs incurred afterwards.

Is the problem coming from the next-door? In that case, inform the residents, the owner or the association of property owners as quickly as possible.

Some quick solutions for common problems: shut off the mains water supply and close the supply valve to the leaking apparatus. Is your roof damaged? Then put a tarpaulin over it until it can be repaired.

2. Bear in mind the electricity

Turn off the mains supply if a leak is near to electrical equipment or if any electrical cables are nearby. Ask a professional for advice before turning the electricity back on afterwards.

3. Clear the area

Move intact items that could become damaged out of the way first, even large items such as furniture. Then move damaged items out of the way as well to prevent further damage.

4. Record all damage

Now you can start gathering the necessary information. Work through this check-list so that your case can be handled quickly.

  • List all damage. To your valuables as well as to the actual property. Be as accurate as possible about the damage, but also about details such as the brand and size of damaged items. If possible find the purchase invoices.
  • Take the necessary photos. Not only of the individual objects which have been damaged, but also of the walls, ceiling and floor. Make sure you take a photograph of the cause, even if it is outside of the actual property.
  • Write down the date and time when the problems started. This is always important, but particularly in the case of flooding or heavy rain.
  • Contact with professionals that can carry out the necessary repairs straightaway. Ask for quotes.
5. Let everything dry out properly

Is everything under control? Then put on the heating or ensure that everything is well-ventilated. You can also start cleaning up. You do not have to live in disarray until the loss-adjuster arrives.

If freezing temperatures cause water damage, do not do anything dangerous to thaw it out. No open flames, for example. Do keep damaged items however. They may be necessary later for your insurance file.

6. Notify your landlord

Are you living in rented accommodation? Then call your landlord first, before notifying your own insurance company. Firstly, the owner has to see which repairs are needed, for example to pipes or the roof.

You will then contact the insurer, according to what the owner decides. As the tenant, you are in fact liable unless you have a 'waiver of recourse' clause. In the latter case, the owner will use his own insurance for the damage to the actual property. Then you will only be liable for damage to other properties and your own items.

7. Notify your insurer as quickly as possible

Gather all the information from the previous points and contact your insurer. At ING you can do this at any time of the day.

Pay attention to the following points:

  • - Provide all the information, in as much detail as possible. Include both the information which relates to you and to your landlord.
  • - Do not throw away any damaged items. You are likely to need them for your claim.
  • Keep all invoices. For repairs and work carried out to limit the damage, as well as purchase invoices of damaged goods.