Many homeowners are dealing with water damage from the "Polar Vortex" that has gripped the eastern half of the country this January.
Either a pipe burst in our walls, water leaked in from gutters blocked with ice, or water got in from a sudden thaw.
So should you call your insurance company? It's a great question.
Pipe Bursts, Water Damage
The shop vac was working overtime at the Clark house, after a burst water pipe sent water cascading from the first floor down into the basement.
Mike Clark had buckets filled with water, that was still dripping 24 hours after he discovered the leak.
"It looks like it started right here in the laundry room," Clark said. He suspects a burst water line in the wall behind his washing machine.
He believes the outside brick of his Northern Kentucky home got so cold when temps fell to zero, the pipe inside froze solid.
So he called a plumber, and set up a dehumidifier, but wasn't sure about calling his insurance company.
"I thought about it," Clark said. "But I've got a thousand dollar deductible, and most insurance companies force you to cover up to $1,000, so its kind of a moot point to do that."
Burst pipes are covered by most homeowner's policies.
To Call or Not to Call
However, there are now a number of reasons not to call your insurer.
-Many policies now have a $1,000 deductible, to keep premiums down.
-So if cleanup is less than $1,500, it's usually not worth filing a claim.
-In addition, one claim can raise your rates as much as 10%, according to Bankrate.com.
-Bankrate says a second claim, if something else happens, could make you high risk, with even higher rates.
Clark says with his repairs looking like they won't exceed $500, he's going to do it himself with a plumber's help, and skip the claim this time.
One thing to keep in mind: If you can't thoroughly dry out your walls, ceiling or carpeting, mold will form.
And that can cost thousands to clean up six months later.
So if you worry that you wont be able to dry up all the moisture, then call your insurer, so that they can bring in a professional restoration company.
That way, down the road you don't waste your money.
Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.
Follow John on Twitter (@DWYM)
Copyright 2014 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
John Matarese has some great last minute Easter deals.
Don't sign up for a home warranty until you do your homework.
John Matarese has ways of avoiding soaring steak prices
John Matarese shows what's safe to shred, and which papers you should save forever.
John Matarese reports on cars that run for years and years.
A dangerous new phishing scam is targeting the sensitive information of millions of Netflix users.
John Matarese shows the latest products getting smaller at the store
John Matarese reports on the wait for ignition switch repairs
John Matarese reports on the end of full-service gasoline.
John Matarese has a preview of Apple's upcoming new iPhone.