Homeowners rush to make insurance claims over pipe damage - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Homeowners rush to make insurance claims over pipe damage

Insurance agents report a deluge of water damage-related calls. Insurance agents report a deluge of water damage-related calls.

North Alabama is finally defrosting after the deep freeze earlier this week. Now, many people are cleaning up the big mess left behind by broken pipes.

Cleanup companies said they are about two days behind schedule and insurance agents report being bogged down by calls.

The bitter weather froze pipes, causing bursts at countless homes and businesses. Insurance agents said it is too early to tell how much the damage will cost statewide, but they do know there are thousands of claims for water damage being filed.

Fortunately, such damage is covered by most homeowner's insurance policies. Agents said this weather event won't affect insurance rates as a whole, but it could affect people individually.

"On an individual basis, it depends on if you have made claims in the past and how many more you make in the future. Before you make a claim, you want to make sure that you have damage that is covered, know how much it is, and make sure it is worth making a claim before you make the claim," said State Farm Agent Joe Demos.

Water damage can cost thousands of dollars, depending on how much water is there and where it is located. For example, repairing the damage at Governor Bentley's private home is estimated to cost $50,000.

Insurance experts said some homeowners may not know their pipes were damaged until it is too late. To check, experts said to first go to your water meter and look at the central dial - this is your leak indicator. If you have no one in your house using water and the center dial is moving, you have a water leak.

The first thing you need to do is turn off your water and report it to the water authority to have someone come and verify the leak.

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