4 Steps to Make A Water Damage Claim
Filing An Insurance Claim
A water damage claim is more likely to be approved if a policyholder takes measures to document damage and gather important information. These four steps will guide a homeowner through the process of filing an insurance claim.
1. Review the Policy
It is important to know what a homeowner's insurance policy does and does not cover. Keep in mind that standard home insurance policies only cover water damage due to a pipe burst or leak. An endorsement is usually necessary for sewer backup coverage, and an additional flood policy is needed for damage caused by heavy rains or rising bodies of water.
2. Call Your Agent
Call your insurance agent and let them know about the extent of the damage. It is a good idea to determine whether it is likely that you will file a claim before calling. If the damage is minor and you want to avoid a rate increase, you may want to obtain an estimate from a mitigation service first and pay out of pocket. Some insurance companies require agents and adjusters to report potential claims.
3. Document the Damage
If you plan to file an insurance claim, you will need proof of damage. Capture the extent of the damage in photos or on video. This documentation may be even more useful if you also have dated footage of the residence before the damage took place. It is also useful to gather receipts, dates of purchase, and the prices of damaged contents.
4. Get an Estimate
Contact a water damage cleanup company to obtain an estimate of the total cost of mitigation and restoration. Providing this information to an adjuster can expedite the filing process.
These steps will guide you from determining what your policy will cover to filing an insurance claim. Obtain an estimate from a water damage mitigation and restoration company in Leawood, KS.
Why Water Is Disastrous for Electronics
Why Water Is Disastrous for Electronics
Thriving businesses in Overland Park, KS, revolve around the use of electronics. You can imagine the panic that ensues when such valuable equipment is confronted with water. Most know that flooded electronics are difficult to revive, though you may wonder why.
What’s Inside Matters
There are many intricate pieces that make up the technology in a workplace; flooded electronics are not usually destroyed as a whole unit, but segment by segment. A variety of components can suffer irreparable damage when they become wet:
- Outlet and junction boxes or fittings
- Cables specified for dry locations
- Power equipment such as meters or override relays
- Devices in place to protect against surges
- Parts used for electrical distribution, such as switches, fuses, breakers, or mylar wrapping
- Equipment used for motor control, such as transistors and semiconductors
- Any parts meant to work without interruption
These interior components are designed to make things go. When water permeates through protective barriers, it causes instant degradation to the working parts of a device, particularly pieces made of metallic conductor materials. Such elements need more than a chance to dry off; they need to be returned to their original condition, which is often impossible after electronic damage occurs.
Water Opens the Door to More Trouble
As if water doesn’t cause enough trouble on its own, it often ushers in debris, mold and rust to wreak additional havoc. While some electronics stand a chance after exposure to clean water, nearly all devices are vulnerable to contaminated water carrying dirt, oil, or mixed particles. Once microscopic intruders break through the protective shells of office equipment, they settle and become impossible to remove, rendering devices unusable. In addition, the slightest amount of moisture can lead to the spread of fungus or oxidation leading to rust.
Rescuing flooded electronics from water is a sensitive endeavor, and far more complicated than drying dishes in the kitchen sink. Many devices—from cell phones, computers, and printers to standard heating and cooling appliances—are essential to getting work done in a commercial environment. For that reason, it's always wise to contact a water damage repair company for assistance.
3 Things to Consider When Buying An Extinguisher
Three Things to Think About When Purchasing an Extinguisher
Having a fire extinguisher in your Prairie Village, KS, home can help you stop a house fire from becoming a disaster. To best protect your home, you need to buy the right extinguisher for the space. You can turn to a residential fire damage professional and this guide to help you choose the best product for your needs.
1. Where Will It Be Used?
Are you going to put the extinguisher in your garage, kitchen, or laundry room? Believe it or not, the location of your extinguisher should actually dictate what product you buy. In the garage, for example, you may want a larger model because the home fire may grow before you notice it in this space. On the other hand, you may be able to use a smaller model in the kitchen where you'll typically spot fires before they grow out of hand.
2. What Kind of Flames Will It Fight?
Did you know that a fire extinguisher may be designed to fight a certain kind of flame? This safety equipment often comes labeled as A, B, or C. The A category works well against common combustibles, including cloth, wood, and paper. B extinguishers are often designed to tackle fires caused by cooking oils, gasoline, or other liquids. The C products may help with electric fires. As you purchase your tool, you need to think about the kind of fires that may take place in the room you want to keep it in.
3. How Easy Is It To Use?
Will anyone be able to use the extinguisher? A big part of fire preparedness is making sure everyone in your home can tackle an emergency situation. Purchasing an extinguisher that has an easy-to-use hose may make it easier for anyone in your family to dampen flames. It may be a good idea for you to include a how-to demonstration during your next family fire drill.
Having at least one fire extinguisher in your home is a great safety practice. Getting the best product for your space can increase the safety tool's usefulness.
3 Times Fires Aren't Covered by Insurance
Insurance Doesn't Always Cover Fires
If you have experienced a home fire in your Overland Park, KS, home or want to be prepared if one should ever occur, you may be wondering if there are fires that are never covered by insurance. As a matter of fact, there are three types of fires that are not going to be covered by an insurance company to compensate for damage. Read on to learn what these types are.
1. Insurance Fraud
If you attempt to make a claim on a fire that was set deliberately to get insurance money for the incident, your insurance company will not cover it. An adjuster will thoroughly inspect your property for any suspicious evidence.
Insurance fraud as mentioned above is one kind of arson. A home fire that is purposely set either for a specific reason or due to a homeowner’s fascination with flames would fit this description. An insurance company will immediately deny coverage if anything the adjuster finds indicates foul play. Always take the high road and do not set a fire for unethical reasons.
3. Vacant Home
A vacant home fire will not be covered by your homeowner's insurance. Generally speaking, if an insurance provider can prove that your home was vacant at the time of the fire and for 30 days prior to the occurrence, your claim will be denied.
A home fire cannot always be avoided; accidents happen. If your fire was completely unintentional and your home was occupied when it occurred, your claim should meet your policy’s coverage terms. It is still a good idea to check your policy documents and call your home insurance agent to make sure that you understand what types of coverage you have and what types you do not. He or she will also be able to explain the claims process and set you up for better success when seeking financial help for your loss.
Chemical Versus Non-chemical Drain Cleaners
When showering results in an unintended bath or your sink looks like a pond in Prairie Village, KS, it is fairly safe to assume that you have a clogged drain. Should you choose a chemical drain cleaner? What are the other options?
Chemical Drain Cleaners
Advertisements for drain and sewage cleaning lead consumers to believe that using chemicals to dissolve a clogged drain is best. However, this may not always be the case.
• Cleaners use acid, oxidizing, or caustic chemicals to create heat, which in turn breaks down the built-up materials. Once the clog has weakened, the materials such as hair, fats, oils, and grease are flushed down the pipe.
• There are negatives to using these types of cleaners. First, the clog may get stuck further down risking a burst pipe and the need for a professional water restoration company. Second, chemicals are harmful to both the environment and people if touched or inhaled. Third, these cleaners can damage pipes especially if the pipes are old, plastic, or completely blocked.
Non-Chemical Drain Cleaners
When confronted with a slow-moving or blocked drain, there are safer yet efficient alternatives to consider.
• Mechanical options include a plunger or auger, commonly referred to as a snake, to unclog the problematic area. Using a snake is a fast-acting choice that results in the clog being pulled out of the drain completely or effectively pushed through.
• A biological option is an environmentally friendly enzymatic cleaner. This works best for shower clogs mainly consisting of hair, soap, and grease. The bacteria and enzymes typically dissolve the organic clog over the course of about 24 hours.
There is more than one method to deal with a clogged drain at your home in Prairie Village, KS. While a chemical cleaner may clear the clog, there are downfalls to using such a product. Homeowners may wish to consider more environmentally friendly mechanical or biological techniques instead. If none of these work, contact a professional.
Weather and Your Business: Understanding that Flooding May be the Least of Your Concerns
Weather and Your Business
Many building owners worry about flood damage, but a flood is not the only problem caused by storms. Storms produce a variety of elements that can be equally unfavorable to a property, and as a property owner or manager, you may want to be aware of each.
1. Water Damage
Floodwaters are only one type of water damage, and it is not the most common. Most damage stems from persistent leaks or holes in your roofline. These issues cause significant loss to occur over time. Leaks can cause the sagging of ceilings, rotting out of joists, and even the spread of molds and mildews. Additionally, while not necessarily storm-related, persistent leaks from pipes can cause the pipe to corrode and fail, resulting in a flood.
2. Hail Damage
While flood damage can be a threat, hail damage may pose a more imminent concern. Hail occurs when temperatures allow for rain to develop into large chunks of ice, sometimes resulting in baseball size masses. These pieces of ice can cause significant property damage, from broken windows to holes in your roofline. Inspecting your property after a hail storm should be a top priority.
3. Wind Damage
The most common cause of storm damage is the wind. Wind damage can peel back siding and roofing shingles, and it can launch random debris, like sticks and lawn ornament, making them volatile projectiles. Property managers should keep employees and clients clear of windows in high-wind situations.
4. Renovating the Damage
It may be wise for property owners to plan ahead. Some restoration companies in Leawood, KS, provide an emergency planning service for businesses. This service may include an initial analysis of your property and a customized plan for restoration and recovery in the event of a disaster.
Flood damage may be a concern for a property owner or manager, but storms can produce hail and high winds that can equally damage property. Water damage is the most common cause of property damage, but even that is not only caused by flooding.
How To Rid Your Home of Smoke Smells
How to Get Rid of Smoke Odors in Your Home
After a fire, your home will need some serious smoke cleaning to repair the damage. With a smell that intense, simply opening up the windows isn’t going to suffice. Professional odor remediation specialists in Overland Park, KS, can eliminate smoke odor in your home through the use of special techniques and equipment. Here are three examples of these techniques.
1. Air Filtration Devices
The most basic machine the professionals use is an industrial-strength version of the air purifiers you can buy at the store. An air filtration device with an activated carbon filter works by trapping odor molecules in the filter as the air flows through it. When these gases cannot escape, they deteriorate rapidly. The odor in the room is eventually neutralized.
2. Thermal Foggers
Thermal foggers use heat and deodorizing chemicals for the smoke cleaning process. They simulate the conditions that were present in the fire (i.e., heat and air pressure). Porous surfaces react to these conditions and absorb the deodorizers, just like they absorbed the smoke odor during the fire.
3. Ozone Machines
A third method for eliminating the smell of smoke in your home in Overland Park, KS, after a fire is through the use of ozone machines. Think of how the air smells outside right after it rains. The ozone machine mimics what nature does to purify the outside air. It produces molecules of ozone, also known as activated oxygen. The extra atom of oxygen in the ozone attaches to smoke particulates and breaks them down. After a while, the air smells fresh and clean because everything that was making it stink has been neutralized.
Smoke cleaning after a house fire involves more than just removing soot or smoke damage from the home or creating extra airflow. When you hire experts for odor remediation, they use equipment that actually eliminates the source of the smell so that it does not return.
The Most Effective Sandbag Alternatives
Sandbags can be heavy and messy to fill. Commercial property owners seeking more convenient ways to limit flood damage should consider one or more of the following sandbag alternatives.
Some materials are designed to absorb fresh or flood water and act as barriers. Several styles for absorbent flood control are currently available:
- Crystallized polymer
- Powder-filled barriers
- Self-inflating sand-less bags
These porous flood dams are intended for one-time use and should be disposed of after each flood event. All of these options are easier to deploy than sandbags.
Filling a water barrier can be easier than filling a sandbag. There are several different styles of water-filled barriers to choose from:
- Baffle systems
- Modular blocks
- Tube designs
These designs are available in a wide range of sizes. Unlike some flood control materials with fillers that become contaminated, these barriers can be reused multiple times.
Self-stabilizing barriers are easy to use to keep flood waters away from a structure. Some of these options are better suited for blocking entrances or windows, while others can be set up in longer runs to keep flood water out of a larger area. Most of these designs can be reused many times.
Machines are also available to quickly fill bags with sand. The same materials used to make sandbags are needed, with the exception of a shovel. It will also be necessary to either hire or train a crew to safely use this machinery prior to a flood.
All of these sandbag alternatives are relatively easy to use. A property owner may want to invest in a reusable flood prevention solution to limit the amount of water that enters a commercial structure in Leawood, KS. If water breaches the barriers and causes damage, contact a flood damage mitigation and restoration company.
What To Do After a Fire: 3 Steps
What to Do After a Fire: Three Steps
Lining up a plan after your building has experienced fire can seem like an enormous burden. Setting aside time to deal with such a mess probably wasn't on your schedule, and it can be difficult to juggle the cleanup process alongside your own work. No matter how serious the situation is looking, fire restoration doesn't have to take over your life; instead, follow these steps to ensure everything gets back to normal.
1. Make the Calls
After emergency procedures have been set into motion, tasks that follow usually include a call to your insurance agency. Your fire insurance coverage will depend on your policy and the extent of the damage. You may also want to get in touch with a fire damage specialist who can give a thorough inspection of the building.
2. Steer Clear
A fire can affect the materials of your building in a number of ways, so it's important that you refrain from touching any of the damage prior to the smoke cleaning process. Boarding up the property is one way you can protect the interior from looters or extreme weather. Plywood is the most commonly used material to board up windows and doors after a fire.
3. Begin the Restoration
You may have already brought in the help of professionals to board up your building in Leawood, KS, but it's key that you get a proper cleanup as well. The pros will have the appropriate equipment to clean the fire effectively – so you won't have to deal with lingering smoke damage in the future. The same goes for any water damage that might have occurred.
When starting the fire restoration process, you're likely adding one more responsibility to your long line of daily work duties. Check off that box on the to-do list and hand the hard work over to the specialists.
How Accurate are Mold Testing Kits?
Mold Testing Kits: How Reliable Are They?
If you are curious whether mold is growing in your home, you may be considering a DIY mold test. It is possible to predict the outcome of one of these consumer mold tests without acquiring the kit or knowing anything about conditions in your residence. Mold spores are present in every home. This is why you should hire a certified environmental hygienist to perform mold testing and identify which type of mold is present in your home, as well as any risks.
• Home testing kits pick up various traces of mold present in your home. These kits are not as accurate as trained mold testers and may not reveal the extent of mold contamination.
• The presence of airborne mold particles is not as serious as actively growing mold colonies. Mold testing kits can return positive results for types of mold that are not at problematic levels or points in the growth cycle.
• The results of a DIY test are not as trustworthy as a professional mold test. Breathe easier knowing that the results of a professional test are more accurate than a home mold kit. Insurance companies also prefer to work with certified professionals.
• An environmental hygienist can give you definitive answers regarding mold in your home. A DIY test may heighten concerns without providing the information you need to resolve the issue. A hygienist can recommend containment and cleanup strategies.
Rather than wasting time and money on DIY testing, contact a certified mold remediation service in Prairie Village, KS. Experts can administer precise mold testing, provide detailed analysis, and identify the causes and effective cleanup methods. A consumer mold kit may seem more affordable in the short run, but you are likely to receive results that don't provide you with a clear plan of action and may end up costing more than an accurate professional diagnosis in the long run.