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Insurance tips if your water pipes froze and broke

2/4/2019 8:52:46 AM

For Immediate Release

SAINT PAUL – You may have survived the recent extreme cold temperatures, but how about the water pipes in your home? Unfortunately, many Minnesotans had frozen pipes that burst and caused significant water damage to their homes.

Water damage is one of the most common reasons people file claims on their homeowners insurance, and it is often the first time that people use their coverage.

The Minnesota Commerce Department, which regulates the state’s insurance industry, offers these tips to help with the insurance claims process:

Review your insurance policy. Make sure you understand your policy’s coverage, including deductibles and limitations or exclusions. A standard homeowners policy typically covers water damage from burst pipes. But you may not be covered if you left your house unoccupied without heat or your damage was caused by a slow leak over a longer period of time.

Immediately notify your insurance company or agent to start the claims process. If possible, have your policy number when you call. Make sure you get a claim number from your insurer and ask what the next steps will be.

Don’t call it “flood damage.” You may think your house was flooded by the burst pipe. But to avoid confusion, don’t use the word “flood” because it has a specific meaning in insurance. A standard homeowners policy doesn’t cover flood damage.

Make emergency repairs to prevent further damage. For example, remove standing water and take water-saturated materials to a well-ventilated area to dry. Keep all receipts for emergency repairs, so you can be reimbursed. Don’t make permanent repairs until your insurance company has inspected the damage.

Record all damage. Take photos or video. Make a detailed list of all personal property damaged or destroyed. Share this list with the insurance adjuster. Do not throw out any damaged items until the adjuster has inspected them.

Work with the insurance company adjuster. Your insurance company will send an adjuster to inspect the damage. The insurer pays the adjuster, so you shouldn’t be asked for any payment. 

The adjuster will provide you with a proof-of-loss form. Use this form to file a claim with your insurance company as soon as possible. You will receive your claim payment after you and the insurer agree on the amount of the damages.

You have the right to choose which contractor will repair your home. Verify the license status of your plumber or building contractor at the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry website, which also has tips for hiring a contractor.

If you have a complaint or cannot resolve your insurance claim, contact the Commerce Department for assistance. The department’s Consumer Services Center can be reached by email at consumer.protection@state.mn.us or by phone at 651-539-1600 or 800-657-3602 (Greater Minnesota).

Commerce is here to help

Media Contact
Ross Corson
Director of Communications
Minnesota Department of Commerce
p: 651-539-1463 | c: 651-368-5050 | ross.corson@state.mn.us

Insurance

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