Most Common Types of Homeowners Claims
Did you know that in 2016 losses due to natural disasters in the U.S. totaled $23.8 Billion in costs. Severe thunderstorms accounted for 60% of the losses at $14 Billion.
The most common types of homeowners insurance claims policy holders will file are:
1. Theft- Unlike most of the other types of losses this one can be prevented with security measures like an alarm system, safe box or my personal favorite a dog!
2. Wind Damage- Be sure to check trees and shrubs around your property to make sure they will not cause damage to your home. Also checking the shingles on your roof should be done yearly.
3. Water Damage (non-weather related)- This list includes causes like a pipe burst, leaky appliance, sump pump failure or even a sewer back up.
4. Water Damage (weather related)- This is most common in the Northeast where colder temperatures are common. Some measures can be taken to avoid instances like clearing out snow and ice to prevent buildup.
5. Hail Damage- This type is most common in the West and Midwest where golf ball sized hail can cause serious damage to property.
Water Damage? Let's Talk Contents!
When dealing with property damage to your home one of the challenging tasks is trying to save all of your possessions.
It may be a disappointing and daunting task to itemize, photograph and list every single item for insurance reimbursement but SERVPRO of Paramus will be there to help give some guidance as well as lend a hand with the removal of any unsalvageable items.
Here are some tips to help you figure out how to categorize your items.
Let's start with discussing what types of contents cannot be saved from water damage.
Items like food, cosmetics, medicines, medical supplies, carpet padding, stuffed animals and baby toys should never be tried to salvage. Mainly due to the risk of contamination and potential health hazards.
There are also some types of contents that can usually be saved but depending on the extent of the damage.
These are items like mattresses, pillows, large carpets, area rugs, upholstered couches & chairs, books, paper products, solid wood/metal/plastic furniture, metal utensils, pots and pans.
Now that you have an idea of what types of items can be saved it is important that you move FAST! Make sure everything you want to save is moved to a safe dry place to prevent further damage. Time is of the essence to decrease the chances of further damage.
The things you don't want to save should be left outside to dry until your claims adjuster arrives. Sometimes your adjuster may not be able to get out for a couple of days. In the case that some of these items are things like food that will spoil or may attract rodents; make a separate pile to have discarded as soon as possible after contacting your adjuster.
Be sure to have EVERYTHING documented as well as photographed for your adjuster to confirm all of your losses.
We hope this provides you some help and insight when dealing with your personal items.
What Is Soot?
Soot shown on a chemical sponge.
Did you know that the highest cause of house fires is from cooking? Usually when a homeowner leaves a pot or pan unattended and then only remembers it when smoke invades their home. It may not develop into fire damage to your property but rather smoke and soot damage that usually is worse than you would think. Although your kitchen cabinetry isn’t on fire and ruined there is still some specialized clean-up needing to be done from the smoke & soot.
Soot is a powdery, flaky substance composed of mostly carbon that is a result of incomplete combustion of materials like coal, oil and wood. Not only is it harmful but it can also be a pain to remove due to its stickiness which can cause staining if not treated properly.
A chemical sponge is used to clean soot from walls. Commonly a chemical sponge may also reveal soot you did not notice was there.
When treating textiles, a heavy duty vacuum must be used before trying to clean them. Do not try to wash these in regular dry-cleaning or wash. Professional cleaners will need to use counteractants to break up smoke molecules and eliminate odors.
It is highly recommended to hire a professional to properly handle clean-up and restoration to eliminate chances of staining and odor.
Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – (201) 445-5588
How to Prevent Mold Growth After a Water Damage
Mold growing behind wainscoting in home theater.
Mold spores are everywhere! It only wrecks havoc on our life when it starts to grow in our home.
Mold requires a few circumstances in order to grow.
1. Warmth: Ideal temperature is 70 degrees Fahrenheit or above. Mold does not flourish in cold temperatures.
2. Food: Organic matter found in sporous materials like carpet, carpet pad, drywall, wallpaper, wood materials, paper products and ceiling tiles.
3. Moisture: Humid environments with poor circulation.
Typically when mold has these conditions present it can begin to grow within 24-48 hours.
To prevent mold from reaching these conditions we must:
First, eliminate water ASAP.
Second, remove any saturated porous materials like carpet padding, insulation and ceiling tiles. Upholstered furniture should be removed as well since it can be a nesting ground for mold and difficult to clean. Lift carpeting to allow flooring underneath to dry out.
Third, dry out any wet materials with fans. Keep area ventilated by opening windows and doors.
Fourth, dry out the moisture in the air with a dehumidifier.
Fifth, sanitize walls, flooring and baseboards. Any baseboards not made of true wood should be discarded. If so made of wood detach from wall to allow drying to occur behind.
In most cases a professional like SERVPRO of Paramus is recommended to perform proper water mitigation and drying. In the event mold does grow on these materials mold remediation will need to be done safely and effectively to ensure no health risks are present.
Do You Live In a Flood Zone?
Unfortunately, there are some homes that are just more prone to floods that it is almost inevitable. Of course, the first option to fix the problem is to just pick your house up and move (literally), but not everyone has the ability to do so.
Here are some tips to help you prevent the damages resulting from a flood to your home.
1. Consider replacing building materials with water-resistant materials such as:
- Galvanized nails - will not rust in a flood
- Indoor/Outdoor carpet w/ synthetic pad
- Synthetic baseboards instead of wood
- Marine plywood-most water-resistant plywood
- Metal doors & frames- will not warp, only rust which can be later sanded & painted
2. Have your washer/dryer in the basement? You may want to relocate them to the 1st floor or even just elevate them from the floor. (12" above 100-year flood level recommended). This can also be done with your hot water heater.
3. Raise all sockets, circuits breakers, switches and wiring to at least a foot above your expected flood level.
4. Install a sump pump. Sump pumps are the first line of defense in preventing water from seeping into basements. Also recommended to install a battery powered backup in case of a power outage.
5. Although expensive, raising your home with piers or columns so that the lowest level sits above flood level may be the drastic option needed if you live in a high risk flood zone.
6. Review your homeowners insurance policy. Did you know that most homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover flood damage? Flood insurance is a supplemental policy you can purchase through an insurance agent or company.
7. Lastly, be prepared with a company you can trust like SERVPRO of Paramus that can help a devastating disaster like a flood become "Like it never even happened."
Smoke, Soot and Odor Removal
Dry Sponges or Chem Sponges used to remove soot from hard surfaces
Smoke and soot is very invasive and can penetrate various cavities within your home, causing hidden damage and odor. Our smoke damage expertise and experience allows us to inspect and accurately assess the extent of the damage to develop a comprehensive plan of action.
Smoke and soot facts:
- Hot smoke migrates to cooler areas and upper levels of a structure.
- Smoke flows around plumbing systems, seeping through the holes used by pipes to go from floor to floor.
- The type of smoke may greatly affect the restoration process.
Different Types of Smoke
There are two different types of smoke–wet and dry. As a result, there are different types of soot residue after a fire. Before restoration begins, SERVPRO of Paramus will test the soot to determine which type of smoke damage occurred. The cleaning procedures will then be based on the information identified during pretesting. Here is some additional information:
Wet Smoke – Plastic and Rubber
- Low heat, smoldering, pungent odor, sticky, smeary. Smoke webs are more difficult to clean.
Dry Smoke – Paper and Wood
- Fast burning, high temperatures, heat rises therefore smoke rises.
Protein Fire Residue – Produced by evaporation of material rather than from a fire
- Virtually invisible, discolors paints and varnishes, extreme pungent odor.
Our Fire Damage Restoration Services
Since each smoke and fire damage situation is a little different, each one requires a unique solution tailored for the specific conditions. We have the equipment, expertise, and experience to restore your fire and smoke damage. We will also treat your family with empathy and respect and your property with care.
Have Questions about Fire, Smoke, or Soot Damage?
Call Us Today – 201-445-5588
Why Your Roof May Not Be Covered
Its common for many homeowners to look at their homeowners insurance as an extended warranty for their roof. However, insurance companies expect you to maintain your roof like you would your car. (oil change, tune up, new tires, etc.) When you fail to keep up with the maintenance of your roof, insurance companies will deem damage caused to your home due to your neglect resulting in possible claim denial.
One of the more common claims to get denied is "wind drive rain". If heavy wind causes rainwater to get pushed under shingles yet you have an old roof that needed repairs or even a replacement don't expect your insurance be on the hook.
Usually around 15-20 years your roof is on its last legs needing a replacement. However, keep in mind if your roof experiences its fair share of beatings like hail or catastrophic storms your need for a new roof may be much sooner than that.
Try to have your roof inspected annually during the warmer months to make sure you are prepared. Maintenance is key to the longevity of your roof.
Flooded Basement? Call SERVPRO of Paramus
Water Heaters can go without warning and the damage can be extensive
SERVPRO of Paramus is available 24 hours a day for water emergencies, large or small. When you are dealing with water damage, immediate action is crucial. A delay of just a few hours can greatly increase the severity of the water damage.
We Answer the Phone Ready to Help
Call Today - (201) 445-5588
We understand that when you call us, you may be feeling confused, stressed, and vulnerable. You need an expert to guide you through this crisis. SERVPRO of Paramus has the specific water damage training and experience to help you through this tough time. We specialize in water damage restoration—in fact, it's the cornerstone of our business.
What to Expect
When you call, we will ask several questions regarding your water damage emergency. These questions will help us determine what equipment and resources to bring, including how many trained SERVPRO Professionals may be needed.
Our SERVPRO Representative will ask several questions:
- Your name and contact information
- Your insurance information (if applicable)
- The street address of the water-damaged home or business
- When did the flooding or water damage occur?
- What caused the water damage (if known)?
- Is there electricity available (on-site)?
About SERVPRO of Paramus
SERVPRO of Paramus specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property after a fire, smoke or water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.
When Clean-up Demands A Professional
Your basement? Don't pick up a mop, pick up the phone
When That Sewer Back-up Is Too Much To Handle On Your Own.
At SERVPRO of Paramus, we know that sometimes sewer back-ups can be bad... very bad. Our IICRC certified technicians know the safest way to clean up the mess. Sewer back-ups can cause illness if not properly remediated. Let our trained technicians get the job done right for you and your family.
We'll work directly with you and in most cases, your insurance company to assure that your home is properly cleaned, deodorized and sanitized. We'll make it safe again for your family, we'll make it "Like it never even happened."
Call us, SERVPRO of Paramus, your clean-up professionals.
We're here for you: 24/7 (201) 445-5588
Title: Restoring Your Bergen County Commercial Property After A Water Damage Event
Commercial Water Damage Events Present Unique Challenges. The time between a flood and your business getting back is critical.
Flooding and water damage events at Bergen County commercial properties are often complex with numerous issues that require a knowledgeable and flexible response. Whether we’re dealing with a relatively small water cleanup scenario or a large scale event, we work quickly to assess each unique situation and isolate the damaged area. In many instances, normal operations can continue in a temporary space while we restore your facility.
Restoring Commercial Properties Presents Unique Challenges
Our professionals are trained to be mindful of legal and environmental concerns and strive to fully restore the damaged area while working within your budgetary constraints. We understand that every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. So when an emergency situation arises in your business, give us a call and we’ll be there fast with the help you need.
About SERVPRO of Paramus/Northeast Bergen County
SERVPRO of Paramus/Northeast Bergen County specializes in the cleanup and restoration of commercial and residential property after a water damage event. Our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.
Call us, 24/7 201-445-5588