Help! There’s Water in My Basement!

Water Damage in BasementThe effects of water in your basement can be financially devastating and a frustrating process for homeowners, and unfortunately, once water penetrates your home, the problem doesn’t remedy itself.

There are a variety of ways water can enter your home:

  • Through cracks in the walls or foundation of your home
  • Through sewer and drainage backups
  • Sump pump failure

What to do if you discover water in your basement:

  • Ensure it is safe to enter your basement.
  • Take photos or video and document the damage and suspected cause of the water penetration.
  • Determine if the damage warrants an insurance claim (When Should I File an Insurance Claim? How to File an Insurance Claim).
  • Search for a reliable basement repair specialist to permanently solve your basement’s water problem.

Permanently fixing a leaky basement can be expensive, but consider that this issue won’t go away on its own, it may cause worse damage in the future, it affects the enjoyment of your home as well as resale value.

How to find a basement contractor

  • Ask family or friends for a referral
  • Research online reviews
  • Check their standing with the Better Business Bureau
  • Ensure they offer written and transferable guarantees and warranties

Insurance tip: Whether you’ve had water damage in your home or not, it’s important to be fully aware of the scope and limitations of your home insurance policy. Please reach out to us if we can help you understand your coverage.

How to File an Insurance Claim

How to File an Insurance Claim Gibb Insurance Brokers AmherstburgIf you ever need to submit an insurance claim, it’s important to remember two points:

  1. The more thorough the information sent to your insurance professional, the better.
  2. The faster you’re able to submit the information, the faster the claim process can begin.

Here’s a list of information necessary to file an insurance claim;

  • Your complete contact information
  • Your insurance company and policy number as related to the claim you are submitting (auto or home policy numbers as example)
  • The date, time and location where the incident occurred
  • The police report if available, including the officer’s name and badge number
  • A thorough description of the event pertaining to the claim
  • A complete description of the loss or damage
  • Any photographic or video evidence of the event, loss or damage
  • The names and contact information of any other involved persons or witnesses (such as when involved in an automobile accident)
  • A description of any injuries as well as the names and contact information for all involved persons
  • Any receipts or statements related to the claim (such as needing to rent a car)

When it comes to your insurance and choosing an insurance professional, it’s advantageous to work with a local insurance professional: someone you can speak with immediately, in person to help you through the process – someone who truly has your best interests in mind. That’s why we’re here for you at Gibb Insurance Brokers. Please reach out to us anytime if we can help you.
Fax: 866-843-7818
24 hours claims service available at 1-800-668-6100

Hit and Run Accident – What to Do

Hit and Run Accident Insurance Claim Advice Windsor As for any potential insurance claim, it’s important to carefully document as many details as possible. This is especially challenging in a ‘hit and run’ situation when the driver has left the scene!

Here are some tips to help in the event of a hit and run accident:

Call the police and your insurance broker as soon as possible.

If possible, get as much information about the offending vehicle as possible, including:

  • License plate number
  • Make, model, color and any additional identifying features of the other vehicle
  • Potential damage to the other vehicle
  • The direction the other vehicle was headed
  • Location of the accident and approximate time
  • Photos of the damage to your vehicle

If you don’t see the offending vehicle:

  • Seek out witnesses immediately
  • Ask witnesses for their name and contact information for a police report and insurance claim
  • Have them describe what they saw (if you have video capabilities on your mobile phone, record it)

If you don’t see the offending vehicle and can’t find witnesses:

  • Ask local businesses if they have cameras which may have recorded the accident
  • Carefully document the damage to your vehicle
  • Take pictures of the damage and wait for the police

Remember to never follow or engage with the fleeing driver, as it could be dangerous, you may miss out on witnesses and the police may question who is truly at fault.

Dealing with a hit and run accident can be stressful, time consuming and costly. Please take a few minutes to share this information with the drivers in your life.

After a Burglary

What to do after a burglaryHaving your home or apartment broken into can be one of the most disrupting and stressful occurrences in life. It’s not only devastating to have personal objects stolen, but also the feeling of violation and loss of privacy which can result in feelings of insecurity.

Please review the following checklist to ensure you take the right steps after a home burglary:

  • If you arrive home and it appears to have been broken into: do not enter the house. Call the police from your cell or a neighbours. The burglars might still be inside.
  • Do not touch or disturb anything.
  • Call the police and your insurance company immediately.
  • Check on family pets.
  • The insurance company will require the police report to validate your claim. Be sure to save a copy for your personal record.
  • You may consider hiring a company to help with the restoration of your home. It may be quite emotional dealing with the losses and damages, speak to your insurance agent before your finalizing your claim.
  • The insurance company may want to send out an adjuster, in this case you might be required to still not disturb the home and you may need to stay elsewhere until their visit.
  • Carefully document all the missing items (your home inventory will be a very helpful and time saving resource) as well as any damaged items.
  • To help feel more secure and for peace of mind you may want to consider installing or upgrading a home security system. With a new system you may be eligible for a discount on your home insurance premium.

The financial and emotional impact of a burglary can be felt for a long time, but by being prepared you can lessen the stress involved. Take the time to review your insurance documents to ensure you’re fully covered and create an inventory of your possessions to help make the chance of a break in less devastating.

If you’d like a review of your home insurance needs, please feel free to call us: 519-736-8228. We’d be happy to help you.

Creating a Home Inventory

Imagine arriving home only to discover that it’s been destroyed by fire. Although unlikely to happen, here at Gibb Insurance we believe:

The better you prepare for a disaster, the less likely it will happen.

Now imagine during this incredible stressful time trying to list all of your possessions for insurance purposes. (Exactly how many pairs of shoes did you have and what was there approximate value?)

Create a home inventory - Gibb Insurance Brokers Amherstburg OntarioThat’s why we encourage everyone, homeowners and renters alike, to create a home inventory of their possessions.

In the past, creating a home inventory was a laborious, tedious and time consuming process. With technology, a home inventory will only take minutes and provides you with peace of mind.

Simply record a video using your phone (or borrow one!). Walk through your house from room to room commenting on your possessions. Open closets and drawers and remember to record what’s in your safe, garage and shed. Upload the video to a cloud based server, like YouTube or simply email the video to yourself and ‘file’ it securely your email.

It’s also a great idea to digitize important documents. Scan or take photos of your important documents and save in a secure cloud based server. When uploading sensitive video or documents online, first ensure that your privacy levels are set appropriately.

Although we hope you will never need to use your home inventory list, we feel it’s best to be prepared.

If you have any home insurance questions, please give us a call at 519-736-8228.

House Insurance – When to File a Claim

I have some damage to my home; should I file a claim?

Giving advice on claims is a very important aspect of an insurance broker’s job, and one that is sometimes hard to balance.  Technically, every loss the broker becomes aware of is supposed to be reported to the insurance company, but the broker also has an obligation to advise clients and look out for them.  Many times, clients will call regarding claims that are somewhat minor in nature and really are looking for advice and assistance… a recent example comes to mind that illustrates my point exactly.

A client of ours in Amherstburg, Ontario called in to report that his sump pump failed in the night and the pit overflowed.  The damage consisted of around 100 square feet of wet carpet, some wet furniture, and some household contents that were water damaged.  The client called in to see if the damage was covered and to ask what he should do.

In these instances, I find people are upset and generally over estimate how much actual damage there is.  I advised the client that any damage over his deductible was most likely covered and asked him, “How much damage is there?”  His answer, predictably, was “I don’t know.”  Ultimately, my advice was to try to clean up the damage himself and document the process by taking pictures, that way if the damage was minor we would not put in a claim, if it turned out to be something more serious, we could proceed with a claim.  After 3 or 4 hours of work the client determined a claim was not needed and he could clean up the damage himself with a shop vac.

Three months later I received another call from this same client. While he was at work, a water pipe in his home burst.  The burst pipe sprayed quite a lot of water between the floor and basement ceiling causing extensive damage.  This time, we decided to put in a claim as the damage was quite extensive and required professionals to come in to clean up, tear out, and replace the finishes of the home.

Thankfully this client took my advice. By not proceeding with the first claim, when his policy comes up for renewal, he would only be rated for having one claim. Had he made that first claim, a policy renewing with two water claims this close together could cause his premium to go up significantly or perhaps result in restrictions of coverage.  Since he has only had one claim, his renewal should not be affected.

Good thing he deals with Gibb Insurance.

If you have any questions about making a claim on your house insurance, please give us a call at 519-736-8228.