How to Deal with a Major Water Leak

Major water leak? Take a deep breath, follow these steps, and in a few weeks, you’ll be able to put the entire situation behind you.

Amanda Thomas
6-minute read
Episode #208

4.)  Document the Damage

When the restoration company arrives, they will likely show up with big trucks with lots of hoses and industrial vacuums to remove the water from the tile floors. If you have carpet, they will likely start tearing it out. They will probably start tearing off baseboards and door frames, and depending on how much saturation the water was able to do, they could start removing pieces of drywall and even cabinets.

The company should document the damage that they find to help with the insurance claim, but to cover your butt, start collecting images of the water damage yourself. Take pictures of each room that has damage. Hopefully you won’t need these images because the restoration company should collect enough to answer any question your insurance company asks, but it never hurts to have too much documentation when dealing with insurance companies.

5.) Move Out

Hopefully by this point you’ve found out that your insurance policy will cover temporary housing for you and your family. Your first stop will likely be a hotel, but this is not the time to take a luxury vacation. Your insurance policy may only cover a specific amount per night, so find out the details of your policy before booking a room. If there is extensive damage that is going to take weeks to repair, your policy may cover a furnished rental home for your family. There are temporary housing companies who can broker a deal with the landlords and managers of these properties on your behalf. If it’s covered by your policy, or you are able to pay out of pocket for a rental condo or home, this option will allow you to continue living with the conveniences of a kitchen and extra space, often times for a fairly similar price to a hotel.

6.) Hire a Contractor for Repairs

Remember how I mentioned that the restoration company would be tearing out carpet, baseboards, and walls? Well, they may or may not be able to put those items back in to the home. Some restoration companies also have a general contractor’s license which allows them to be more full-service for their clients. Others will simply leave you with a dry, but torn apart, home. If you have a good experience with the restoration company and want to hire them for the repairs, that’s an easy way to have one point of contact for the entire process. If not, it’s time to hire another general contractor to put your home back together.

By the time your home is dried out, your insurance company should have given you a dollar amount that they are willing to give you for the repairs. Sometimes this number is just enough to patch the walls back up, but if there was significant damage to flooring and cabinets, you may be looking at a full remodel of a few areas of your home. If this is the case, you may consider putting in that dream kitchen or bathroom you’ve always wanted. This might require you to kick in some additional personal money, but you are not stuck putting the exact same fixtures back into your home after the repairs are made. Determine your budget, find a contractor who is willing to work with your budget, and get your home put back together the way you want.

Having a major leak in your home is a very stressful situation. No one wants to deal with an unexpected demolition and remodel of their home, but you will make it through the situation. Take a deep breath, follow the steps above, and in a few weeks you’ll be able to put the entire situation behind you.

Until next time, I’m the Domestic CEO, helping you love your home.