4 Homeowners Insurance Terms Everyone Should know
Owning your own home can be a rewarding experience, but it can also be expensive. Not only do you have to constantly maintain your home, but there are risks you can't control, such as flooding and fire. For this reason, if you own a home, you need homeowners insurance, which will cover some or all costs of covered disasters. To better protect your home, check out these four insurance terms you need to know.
A peril is anything that could risk damage to your home, and it's one of the main reasons to have homeowners insurance because the insurance company may pay some or all repairmen/replacement costs. Not all perils are included in most homeowners insurance policies. In general, however, they cover the most common types of perils, such as theft or fire.
If you live in an area with frequent flooding, you may be able to purchase additional insurance to protect against flood damage. Most general policies exclude flood damage unless the damage was sudden and unexpected, such as a new washing machine that fails and floods your laundry room.
Flood insurance is actually a type of catastrophe insurance. A catastrophe is a disaster (man-made or natural) that causes significant damage. It can be one major event or a handful of events that devastate your property. Catastrophes are not usually covered under your standard insurance policy, but they may be necessary if you live in an area with lots of earthquakes, flooding, tornadoes or hurricanes.
Catastrophe insurance comes in many forms. If you really want to protect everything you own from flooding or terrorist attacks, you can get a policy that will cover the property and everything inside. For a cheaper premium, however, you can also choose a policy that only covers the house and nothing inside.
3) Actual Cash Value
When your insurance carrier reimburses you, they may give you the actual cash value (sometimes referred to as market value). This will provide money to repair or replace the damage after considering depreciation. For example, if your deck is destroyed, but it was getting old anyway, the insurance carrier will take the age into account. In other words, they may not give you enough to actually cover the total replacement.
If the deck was brand new, however, there is less depreciation, so you may not have to pay any out-of-pocket expenses. In this case, the insurance carrier would give you the replacement value. Regardless of what type of coverage you have, however, they will only provide money for similar materials and quality. You can't have the insurance carrier replace your damaged asphalt roof with a tile shingle roof.
Every insurance policy has exclusions. Exclusions are disasters and instances when the insurance carrier will not reimburse you. Exclusions usually include any damage that was related to maintenance issues or damage that was easy to control. Even if you take great care of your home, parts need to be replaced. Insurance will not cover these routine repairs.
In most cases, the policy will have an actual section detailing all the exclusions (all-risk policies), so you can immediacy know what is and what is not covered. A peril-specific policy, which only covers a handful of disasters, will list what is covered. Anything else is considered an exclusion.
Don't gamble with your property by neglecting to purchase or have enough homeowners insurance. It can be the difference between losing your home and repairing it after a disaster.
How to Prevent Further Damage After a Disaster
Disasters can happen at any time, and they can cause a lot of damage to your home or business. If you're unfortunate enough to experience a disaster, it's important to act quickly to prevent further damage.
Here are some tips on how to prevent further damage after a disaster:
- Turn off the utilities. This will help to prevent further damage from water, gas, or electricity.
- Secure your property. This includes boarding up windows and doors, and removing any loose debris.
- Remove any standing water. This will help to prevent mold and mildew growth.
- Ventilate the area. This will help to remove moisture and prevent mold and mildew growth.
- Clean and disinfect any affected areas. This will help to prevent the spread of bacteria and other contaminants.
- Contact a professional restoration company. If the damage is extensive, you may need to hire a professional restoration company to help you get your home or business back to normal.
SERVPRO of Northwest Genesee County is a trusted leader in damage restoration. We have over 20 years of experience and a proven track record of success. We're committed to providing our customers with the best possible service, and we'll do everything we can to get your property back to normal as quickly as possible.
If you've experienced a disaster, don't wait. Call SERVPRO of Northwest Genesee County today at 810-732-3298 to get started with the prevention process. We'll be there quickly to help you keep your property safe and prevent further damage.
Here are some additional tips for preventing further damage after a disaster:
- Take pictures of the damage before you start cleaning up. This will help you document the damage and file an insurance claim.
- Keep receipts for all of your expenses related to the disaster. This will help you get reimbursed by your insurance company.
- Be patient. It may take some time to get your property back to normal.
By following these tips, you can help to prevent further damage after a disaster and get your home or business back to normal as quickly as possible.
Contact SERVPRO of Northwest Genesee County today at 810-732-3298 to learn more about our prevention services.
5 Things to Do After Basement Flooding
Few things are more stressful and disgusting than basement flooding. Whether it’s one inch or one foot of water, the effects can be detrimental to your home. And while damage to things like carpet, drywall, and furniture are immediately noticeable, something more serious could be lurking underneath your floors.
Five Things to Do After Basement Flooding
Whether it’s just a couple of inches of water or a few feet, you must respond quickly to basement flooding. Here are a few things you’ll need to do:
- Kill the Power
If there’s standing water in your basement, then you shouldn’t attempt to walk or wade through until you’ve shut off the power and made sure that open circuits aren’t covered by water. This can obviously be an electrocution hazard and isn’t something you want to mess with.
If you’re unsure of whether the electricity is cut off, can’t get to the circuit board, or simply don’t feel comfortable with the situation, then don’t attempt to go anywhere near the water.
- Get Rid of the Standing Water
The next order of business is to get rid of the water. The longer the water sits in your basement, the more damage it will cause. Make sure you put on a pair of sturdy shoes or boots and pants that cover your legs. You never know what’s lurking underneath the water and don’t want to risk hurting yourself.
If the standing water is high, your first step is to get a bucket and start manually removing the water (be sure to dump far away from the home’s foundation). Once you extract most of the water, you can use a wet vacuum to suck up the moisture from the floor.
- Call in the Professionals - Like SERVPRO of Eaton County
Once the standing water is removed, you should call in the professionals to take a look. Depending on the extent of the damage and how meticulous you want to be, this may include calls to an electrician, a flood cleanup crew, and a general contractor. Fortunately, a single call to our office at 517-541-1170 can handle all of those repairs
Any carpeting or absorbent materials that were affected will need to be ripped up or replaced. If appliances spent any time sitting in the water, they should be looked at by a professional before being used.
- Call Your Insurance Provider
Once all of the time-sensitive issues have been handled, take a few minutes to call your insurance provider to let them know about the problem. If the flooding happened as a result of one of your home’s plumbing systems, then your home insurance policy may cover some or all of the damage. However, if the flooding was the result of a natural disaster, then you’ll most likely need flood insurance. Regardless, place a couple of phone calls to see what can be done.
- Protect Your Home
As soon as everything gets repaired and restored, you should begin taking proactive steps to protect your home from similar issues in the future. The ground next to your basement and foundation should slope away from the home. Gutters and downspouts should slope away too while discharging water a minimum of five feet away from the home. All windows and vents should be sealed and your basement walls should be waterproofed with an appropriate product. If flooding is common, consider installing special French drains or even a sump-pump.
Top Three Causes of Fires
Did you know that the top three causes of residential fires include cooking, heating and electric systems/equipment. Let’s discuss each cause in more depth so you are able to determine how each can be avoided.
- Cooking: Causing nearly half of home fires, cooking-related fires are also, unfortunately, the second leading cause for residential fire deaths. These fires peak during the holidays, first Thanksgiving, followed by Christmas. Unattended cooking plays a large role in how fires begin. Other factors include grease and oil. Heating oil too quickly can cause fires. Leaving grease on the stovetop can also create fires. Leaving common kitchen items such as over mitts and food wrappers on or near the stove can also start fires.
- Heating: Spiking during the cold winter months of December, January and February, heating fires typically stem from space heaters, fireplaces and wood stoves. While it may be tempting to keep your portable heater right near you on the chilliest of days, fires can easily be created if furnishing or personal belongings, such as mattresses and blankets, are within 3 feet of the space heater. Fires also start when heating sources such as space heaters or fireplaces are left unattended.
- Electric: Wiring, cords (including extension cords), lighting, and plugs all fall under the umbrella of electric distribution. Malfunction and damage, such as fraying, are a couple reasons as to why fires begin from electric distribution. Faulty electrical outlets cause fires, as do worn out sockets. Using an unqualified electrician to install or update wiring, lighting, etc. is another reason why fires may begin in your home. Additionally, the exposure of water to electricity can create fire.
Be sure to be mindful if you smoke, light candles, use a grill, or have children and/or pets, as these are a few other leading causes of residential fires. Taking caution and remaining vigilant can greatly help keep you, your family and home safe!
If you suffer fire damage to your home or business, SERVPRO of Eaton County is Here to Help! Call us 24/7 at 517-541-1170
Smoke and Soot Damage
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 Eaton County 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 –517-541-1170
Critters in The Attic
SERVPRO of Eaton County responds to dozens of calls each year for home damage caused by a small critter. Raccoons, rats, and birds are all small animals that can set up camp on or even in your roof. This may seem like a small issue but in fact can lead to major issues.
These small animals can claw and chew there way through the layers of your roof until they eventually make there way through. This leads to massive roof underlayment damages followed by costly repairs. Once they are established, it is very difficult to keep them away permanently. An exterminator will need to come in and remove any scent of the animal and often that is just the beginning of the repair efforts needed.
If these animals do make it through the layers of your roof, water can seep through into your attic and make its way inside your home. That water can cause damage to your ceilings, walls, and floors.
Heavier animals can knock the soffit right off your home, giving them access to your attic.
If you find yourself in need of repairs after damage to your roof call SERVPRO of Eaton County today!
The Dangers of Mold in Your Office
A mold problem can present serious health risks for you and your employees. Mold growth can be caused by the smallest water intrusions, like faulty plumbing or a leaky roof.
Every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. If you suspect your property has a mold problem, call a SERVPRO Franchise Professional, who will respond quickly and work fast to manage the situation.
Have a Mold Problem? Call Us Today
Commercial Mold Remediation Presents Unique Challenges
Mold can spread quickly through a property if left untreated. SERVPRO Franchise Professionals can respond quickly, working to first contain the infestation to help prevent its spread to other parts of the building. Next, they will begin the remediation process, working safely and effectively to manage the situation. They have the training, experience, and equipment to contain the mold infestation and remediate it to preloss condition. Learn more about SERVPRO Franchise Professional training and certifications.
Lightning Safety Tips
Although lightning can strike anytime, the chance for lightning increases in the summer months. Stay safe with these basic tips:
- Have a safety plan, and cancel or postpone outdoor activities if thunderstorms are expected.
- If you do get caught outside, avoid high ground, open spaces, and all metal objects (this includes electric wires, fences, etc). Seek shelter in a substantial building, or a fully enclosed vehicle.
- If you are indoors, stay away from doors and windows. Do not use the telephone, and consider unplugging computers, power tools, and television sets. Lighting may strike exterior electric or phone lines, and send jolts of electricity to inside equipment.
If a storm has damaged your house and you need help cleaning or repairing the interior or exterior of your home, don't hesitate to give us a call. You can reach SERVPRO of Eaton County 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 517-541-1170.
What SERVPRO Can Do For You After A Fire
What does SERVPRO of Eaton County do for you when your home and family are affected?
1. Within one hour a SERVPRO Franchise Professional will call to arrange for service.
2. Within 4 short hours a professional will arrive on-site prepared to begin emergency mitigation services, if so needed.
3. A Project Manager of SERVPRO will review your home with you and address any questions or concerns.
4. The SERVPRO Project Manager will then go through your home starting from the fire and working his way outward to see what is restorable or salvageable.
5. Next SERVPRO will present to you and your insurance adjuster a plan of action, also known as a "Scope of Work".
6. Your home will be cleaned and restored by SERVPRO Franchise Professionals.
7. After all of the work is completed, a final walk-through will be conducted with you to help ensure your satisfaction
Water Under Ceramic Tile
Tile can withstand small quantities of water but if your home has been flooded and you are thinking of leaving the affected tile untouched, there are a few important things you should know. Water that has found its way under ceramic tile can cause mold growth. If that mold is not taken care of it can become very dangerous. Mold spores can lead to health effects and will eventually compromise the structure of the tile itself.
This is where your insurance company steps in and tells you to call SERVPRO of Eaton County. Our trained professionals will come in, asses all damage and identify potential future problems that you may not have even known to check for. Our Project Manager will work directly with you and your insurance adjuster to repair or replace all damaged areas.
With 24/7 on-call technicians, we are faster to any size disaster.