Does Filing an Insurance Claim Automatically Raise Rates?
Talk to your insurance agent to get a sense of what type of damage you should make claims for
Your first thought after a disaster happens to your home may be about filing an insurance claim in Miami Shores, FL. It’s a reasonable thought! However, before you do, you should consider several factors, including
- The cause of damage
- The amount of damage
- The size of your deductible
Why Does the Cause of the Damage Matter?
Many reasons! First off, the nature of the claim is extremely important to insurance actuaries. They combine quite a few factors to make a judgment about how many claims you’re likely to have, as well as how much damage is typical.
If you file an insurance claim for a dog bite on your property, that’s a perfect example of a claim that scares insurance companies. A dog that bites a human once is much more likely to bite again, according to statistics, so it’s highly likely to raise your rates. Other red flags can include
- Slip-and-fall claims
- Water damage
- Black mold
Another example is a home flood. Standard homeowner’s insurance does not cover damage from a flood that enters your home from outside. Yet even though the damage isn’t covered, trying to make a claim could still potentially raise your rates if insurers believe you’re in a high-risk zone.
What About the Deductible and Amount of Damage?
Filing a claim for small amounts of damage is usually a bad idea. Often, your damage deductible will be higher than small claims anyway, so before you even consider doing it, read your policy to determine where the reimbursement kicks in.
The number of claims made on a policy is a major determiner of rate increases. It often doesn’t pay to have a low deductible, since the commensurate rate hike can eliminate any advantage you gain. Ideally, instead of a low deductible, put a couple of thousand dollars in an interest-bearing savings account and use it to pay an affordable, local restoration company to repair the damage.
Once covered damage types exceed around $2,000, an insurance claim may be worth it. Ideally, talk to your insurance agent before anything happens to get a sense of what types of damage you should make claims for.
4 Steps To Take After a Fire
Board up services in Biscayne Park, FL
Four Steps To Help You Get Back To "Like it never even happened."
A fire of any size in your Biscayne Park, FL, business can be devastating. While dealing with the loss may be overwhelming, taking quick action is essential to getting the fire restoration process going.
1. File a Claim
It is vital to make a fire insurance claim as soon as possible. The faster you make that call, the sooner an adjuster will come out to inspect the damage and get the process in motion. During the call, it is important to ask the agent questions regarding what can and can’t be done while you wait.
2. Document the Damage
To help ensure a smoother insurance process, take photos and videos of all affected areas. That includes any equipment, documents, personal belongings and structural damage. If possible, locate any receipts for damaged items and retain those for expenses you incur associated with the cleanup. Along with maximizing your claim, it provides needed proof to cover fire restoration costs.
3. Prevent Further Damage
If the fire was large enough, the water needed to put it out means standing water and drenched belongings, as well as potentially broken windows and doors. Most insurance companies require protecting damage from further destruction. That may require tarping or boarding up windows and doors and move water-logged items to a dry, secure location.
4. Call a Restoration Professional
The next step is to contact a fire damage and restoration company. Available 24/7, a certified professional will quickly respond to do make complete an inspection and assessment of your restoration needs. They will also work closely with your insurer to ease the process. Along with tearing out and replacing damaged structural components, they also offer smoke cleaning and other services to salvage as much as possible.
While going through a fire restoration isn’t on anyone’s to-do list, taking immediate action can help your business get back to normal.
3 Flood Safety Tips for First Responders
When responding to an emergency, you may have a required uniform
You volunteered as a first responder in Sunny Isles, FL, because you believe in giving back to your community. If you are responding to a flood event in your community, there are a few safety tips that you should keep in mind so that you can help as many people as possible.
When responding to an emergency, you may have a required uniform. Additionally, be sure to choose eye protection, face masks, gloves, and boots that will keep you safe from chemicals and other dangers that may be present in floodwaters. Always change your clothes before getting into a vehicle, as whatever contaminants that are on your clothes will leech into the fabric covers of that vehicle. If possible, shower and clean your clothing before you go home to minimize the spread of any potential dangers.
In the United States, the CDC requires a tetanus shot and a hepatitis B vaccine series if you work as a first responder. They also list other possible immunizations, but as long as you work domestically, they shouldn't be necessary. If you plan to be part of an international flood response team, find out what immunizations are required and recommended so that you can get them before you go.
When you're responding to a flood at a residence, be aware of potential hazards such as mold and mildew, chemicals, and electricity that could make your job more difficult. Know the limits of your training. If all people are safe and you're helping to clean and restore a home, know the number of a local water damage mitigation company that can help with assessing the extent of the damage at the residence so that you know if you can safely proceed with cleanup.
As a first responder in your town, it is important to keep your own health and safety at the forefront of your mind so that you can continue to help with all of the flood mitigation efforts.
What To Do if Your Furnace Floods
Furnace flood in North Miami Beach, FL
What To Do if Your Furnace Floods
A furnace flood presents a serious risk to your North Miami Beach, FL, business. Understanding what to do if this occurs can help you minimize the damage. The following steps outline what to do if your business has a flooded furnace.
1. Disconnect the power. Water and electricity are a dangerous combination. Whenever flooding occurs, the first step is to cut the power to the affected area. If you cannot do this safely yourself, call an electrician to do it for you.
2. Dry the area. After the power has been disconnected, dry out the area as quickly as possible to prevent mold growth and structural damage. A certified restoration company can help you do this, or you can use pumps or buckets to extract the standing water. Fans and dehumidifiers can dry out the moisture remaining in most porous items.
3. Have the furnace assessed. After all the water is dried, the furnace may look okay. However, most business owners do not have the necessary expertise to examine the unit after a furnace flood and determine if it is safe to use. Your HVAC technician can let you know if it needs to be repaired or replaced. Do not operate the furnace until you have been told that it is safe to do so.
4. Clean air ducts. Lastly, when HVAC systems are affected by flood waters, the air ducts should be professionally cleaned. Mold and bacteria may be growing within the system, and running the unit without proper air duct cleaning can spread the toxins into the air.
Although a furnace flood can be a major nuisance, acting quickly and cautiously can save your business from further damage. Do not be shy about talking to experts after a flood. Only a professional can tell you whether or not the furnace is safe to use and if it will need to be replaced.
4 Actions You Should Take If You Smell Natural Gas
Call the fire department
4 Actions You Should Take If You Smell Natural Gas
There are a few warning you should take seriously in your home. A tornado warning is something that should never be ignored. The presence of leaking water demands immediate attention. If you smell the signature odor of gas (which is actually the added substance mercaptan), you should take quick action. A gas leak puts you and your home in Bal Harbour, FL, at a greater risk of a gas fire. If the leak is significant, a small flame or spark could result in a catastrophic explosion. Not only should you take action, but the action should be with a purpose.
1. Try to locate the leak - A number of possible sources exist for a natural gas leak. Any appliances that operate through gas power should be looked at. This includes washers and dryers, water heaters, furnaces, fireplaces and ovens. A quick look at these items could solve the problem once and for all. Once the leak is stopped, the risk of a home gas fire goes way down.
2. Tell the people in your home - It is important to alert those in the home that you have identified a potential problem. Anyone who is not actively looking for a leak should vacate the premises. They should retreat far enough away that if a gas explosion does occur, they will be safe.
3. Call the fire department or gas company - If the leak cannot be found, it is time to call in the experts. Either the gas company or the fire department will dispatch someone to your home. These professionals will have added knowledge and equipment to find the source of the leak and stop it.
4. Contact fire restoration professionals - If a gas fire does ensue, you will need the services of a local fire mitigation franchise. Technicians will arrive to your home quickly and get to work on the fire restoration process. A SERVPRO franchise will be able to clean up soot and smoke damage "Like it never even happened."
How to Know What Sort of Mold Damage Is Covered by Your Insurance
Mold damage in North Miami Beach, FL
What Does It Take To Clean Up Mold And How Your Policy Covers
Mold damage can occur wherever there has been standing water or high humidity, whether caused by a burst pipe or a flood. If you've discovered mold in your place of business in North Miami Beach, FL, you've probably had two thoughts: (1) how do you clean up mold, and (2) what does your commercial insurance cover? While each policy is different, there are generally some standards for businesses as it relates to mold cleanup.
Commercial insurance generally excludes coverage of damage caused from fungus. It doesn't matter how the mold got there, for the most part. If there's fungus, it's probably not covered. Don't panic, though! Read on...
2. Limited Coverage
There are a few instances in which mold damage is covered in your policy. If you have a specific cause of loss that results from a fungus, you are covered. For example, if you realize that a section of drywall is moldy, you call a mold remediation specialist to come and assess the damage, and they discover a leaking pipe, the cost of removing and replacing the drywall will be covered. Similarly, if you uncover additional damage as the inspection occurs, that will be covered, as well as testing to ensure that the mold is, in fact, cleaned up.
3. Other Riders
The specific cause language around mold insurance is a little bit hazy, so if you're unsure, call your insurance agent to walk you through your policy. Mold damage is often more fully covered under a flood coverage addendum to your policy. It's also worth looking into additional liability insurance that can cover other problems related to mold exposure at your business.
It is unfortunately common practice that commercial insurance policies are so exclusionary when it comes to covering damage caused by mold. Avoid problems in the future by understanding what it takes to clean up mold and how your policy covers you in the event that you discover mold at your business.
Prevent Mold and Mildew in the Bathroom
Mold growth in bathroom
One of the most difficult household chores in homes throughout Golden Glades, FL, is scrubbing the grout between tiles in the shower. This is particularly true when there are signs of bathroom mildew because mildew is hard to prevent and is even more difficult to clean away.
How To Prevent Mold and Mildew
It's usually necessary to hire a professional to get rid of mold once it's established, but it is possible to prevent mold from growing in your bathroom with the following steps:
- Reduce humidity
- Increase ventilation
- Clean up excess moisture
- Watch for leaks and make repairs immediately
When you are consistent in practicing these habits, you can prevent most bathroom mold issues.
In many situations, a humidity problem is the cause of a mold problem. Hot, steamy showers often leave bathrooms dripping with condensation. As the moisture seeps into the walls, hidden pockets of mold colonies are free to grow and spread. The first step in preventing bathroom mildew is decreasing the humidity in air.
The second step is adding ventilation. Consider installing a bathroom fan that directs moisture out of the home when family members shower. A dehumidifier may also help reduce humidity. One of the simplest ways to reduce moisture is opening windows and doors. However, this may not be enough ventilation if there's a lot of humidity in the air.
Clean Up Excess Moisture
It's very important that any wet footprints, damp towels, or other soggy items are dried up as quickly as possible. Mold could establish itself within one or two days. Once mold spores find an inviting environment, it is difficult to thoroughly remove them. For example, if a mildewy towel is removed from the bathroom, spores may float into the air and re-establish themselves on another surface.
Repair Leaks Immediately
Finally, as soon as you notice water seeping from under the toilet or condensation on the window or a pipe, contact water damage cleanup and repair professionals. Remember, it doesn't take long for a small, damp surface to become a home to mold. Bathroom mildew should quickly prompt cleanup and remediation.
What Flooded Basement Causes Are Generally Covered by Home Insurance?
A basement flood isn't a pleasant experience
Causes Of Floods That Many Policies Tend To Cover Or Not Cover
Undergoing a basement flood in North Miami Beach, FL, isn't a pleasant experience. A large amount of damage can potentially occur, especially if the water isn't properly disposed of. Because of this, turning to insurance for flood damage restoration coverage is natural. While most every home insurance policy is different, the following are the causes of floods that many policies tend to cover or not cover.
If your flood was caused by an unexpected and sudden structural issue in your house, you're likely to receive help from your home insurance coverage. These are some examples of such issues:
- Burst pipe
- Ruptured water heater
- Broken hose
In order to receive any type of compensation, the damage usually has to be quick and unanticipated. This generally occurs when a structural problem develops out of nowhere. It also needs to be accidental, meaning that you had no part in knowingly creating it.
Not Covered Damage
Unfortunately, basement flood damage is more often uncovered than covered. This is most prevalent when a weather issue occurs. If your basement takes on water after a storm, it's unlikely that your policy will cover it. There are usually separate storm policies for homeowners, which are wise to invest in if you live near a coast.
The flood damage may also not be covered if it occurred gradually. Even if you only discovered the damage now, an inspection will probably be held to determine when it started.
Lastly, a flooded basement likely won't be covered if it's a result of lacking proper maintenance. You may not be a mechanic, but your insurance won't assist you if faulty maintenance caused the issue. Letting a toilet leak, for instance, is almost certain to result in uncovered damage.
As a homeowner, understanding your insurance policy is essential. If you experience a basement flood, knowing how to use your insurance can minimize your financial losses. By staying informed, you're one step closer to maintaining a safe home.
Enjoy These Advantages by Choosing a Fire Mitigation Company
Commercial fire in Golden Glades, FL
Enjoy These Advantages by Choosing a Fire Mitigation Company
After a fire inside your Golden Glades, FL, business is extinguished, you will have to deal with the resulting fire damage. Your insurance adjuster can determine how much you can claim, but you still need to handle the repairs. While it is tempting to confront the situation yourself, there is another option. A fire mitigation company provides several advantages that can make the overall process faster and easier.
The leftover damage is a major threat to the rest of the building. If it is left alone for too long, it can destroy everything else. Additionally, if you close the business, you might lose significant revenue from costumer visits. These reasons are why a fast response is important in fire remediation. Most companies in this field have a 24/7 response team that asks detailed questions about the current situation and sends the right personnel immediately.
Another advantage of having mitigation specialists assist you with your fire damage case is their "one-stop-shop" approach. They offer a wide range of services such as:
- Inspections and assessments
- Window board-up and roof tarp
- Smoke and soot removal
- Disinfection and cleaning
If non-professionals handle the process, it might require multiple individuals and a greater amount of time and money. Emergency repair companies provide these services under one project, making the process more efficient and affordable.
Most restoration companies are made of licensed and certified employees with years of experience. They use the best techniques and equipment to deal with situations like yours. Leaving the project to them not only guarantees high-quality fire mitigation, but it also keeps you and others safe. You can rely on other people to handle this part of the situation while you spend your time on other business matters.
A commercial building with fire damage requires special care that you and most people may not easily provide. Work with mitigation technicians to enjoy these benefits.
3 Necessary Steps in Leaky Roof Cleanup
Roof damaged in North Miami, FL
Steps To Take After A Roof Leak
The slow but steady drip of a leaking roof is a dreaded but often unnoticed occurrence. A roof leak is capable of causing severe damage to the ceiling, floors, walls, inventory and other building contents if left undiscovered for a long period of time. It may also result in mold and mildew development and damage to electrical equipment, both of which constitute safety and health hazards. The leak may originate from missing shingles blown off in a storm or from some other structural problem in the damaged roof; it is best to contact a professional restoration service in North Miami, FL, for help identifying and handling the issue. There are three general steps that need to be taken after finding a roof leak. Here is what they are.
1. Initial Cleanup
One of your first actions upon finding out the roof is leaking should be to clean and protect the area directly under the leak. This involves:
- Drying up any existing puddles of water
- Disinfection in the case that mold has begun to grow
- Moving electronics, furniture and other items you do not want to get wet away from the area
- Placing a bucket or other collection bin beneath the leak
2. Damage Assessment
The next step, after any rain has ceased, is a damage assessment. This includes checking for missing, worn or broken shingles, holes, improperly sealed seams or other possible reasons. While this may be performed by the business owner, for safety purposes it is often best to leave it to a professional. Professional services are also more likely to correctly diagnose the cause, and many will provide an initial inspection/assessment for free as part of the repair.
3. Professional Repair
Finally, the roof needs to be repaired. This might be simple shingle replacement, or it may be resealing seams with caulk. Repair services will usually repair any storm damage, though tearing out and replacing parts of the roof may also be required.
A roof leak can quickly grow into a major disaster if not handled correctly. It is important to take immediate steps to clean up and consult a professional after a leak is found.