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Insurance Claims and Rate Hikes: Should You File?

12/27/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Insurance Claims and Rate Hikes: Should You File? Drying a flooded home in Seattle, Wa

When something happens on your property, you likely wonder whether or not it is worth filing an insurance claim. The general understanding is that filing creates a rate hike, and sometimes that hike may price you out of your policy. However, is every claim created equal, and are there ever times that you shouldn’t file?

Determine Responsibility

While a rate hike is likely part of any claims process, a lot of weight is put on the idea of responsibility. For example, if something happens that is entirely out of your control, then the hikes associated with the claim may be minimal. On the other hand, if it is proven that you were negligent, then rate increases will likely be severe because they are associated with the risk you present to your insurer.

Type of Claim

Beyond responsibility, the effect on rates is dependent on the type of insurance claim. For example, there are varying degrees of water damage. A home flood caused by sustained pipe damage is going to cause a higher increase than a sudden burst pipe.

The Cost of Filing

It is important that you consider the cost of filing a claim. Most claims can result in a 20 to 40 percent increase and, depending on your insurer, may stay in effect for two to four years. Also, if the claim is considered high risk, your insurer may drop your coverage, requiring you to acquire high-risk policies.

Should You File

Whether or not you file is entirely up to you. If the damage is your responsibility, meaning you are at fault, then filing could result in the loss of coverage. Therefore, it may be better to resolve the issue on your own by hiring an emergency restoration company in the Seattle,WA, area. However, if the incident is an unforeseen event, then a claim is possibly your best option.

The insurance claim process often causes anxiety because homeowners are concerned with the effect it will have on their policy. However, the crucial thing to understand is that your insurance is there to protect you from unforeseen expenses and disasters, so use it when you need it.

How Do House Fires Typically Start?

12/27/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage How Do House Fires Typically Start? Plugging in too many cords in one outlet can cause fire damage

It’s a nightmare scenario that no homeowner wants to think about: a house fire causing major damage or harm. The effects of a home fire can be devastating and even deadly. Fortunately, there are ways you can help prevent these awful situations in your Mercer Island,WA, house. When you understand some of the leading residential fire causes, you can take appropriate measures to keep you and your family safe.

Electrical Fires

You rely on electricity in your house every day of your life. It powers your appliances, your computers and forms of entertainment. It’s hard to imagine living without this convenience. However, electrical issues can also start fires. Here are some typical ways this occurs:

  • Plugging in too many cords in one outlet
  • Faulty wiring or faulty fuse boxes
  • Old, outdated appliances
  • Overheated space heaters

Smoking

If you smoke, take great care to dispose of cigarettes or cigars properly. Better yet, smoke outdoors away from your home and away from brush. Cigarette butts and ash can easily fall onto carpet, furniture, paper and other items. Once a home fire starts, it can spread quickly. If you choose to smoke indoors, use an ashtray and never leave a lit cigarette unattended.

Cooking

Many fires begin in the kitchen over a hot stove or in an oven. Not only can these issues lead to expensive fire cleaning, but they can cause extensive damage. Often, people will let pans get too hot or may even leave a stove or oven on. Keep a close eye on cookware when you’re baking or cooking, especially if grease is involved.

Candles

People love scented and other types of candles for the ambiance they can create. Regrettably, they’re also culprits for fires at home. If you light candles, keep them away from flammable materials.

Any of these problems could arise in your house and cause a home fire. While a restoration team can help clean up the damage, it’s better to know the causes of fires and avoid them altogether.

Cleaning Up After Sewer Damage

12/27/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Cleaning Up After Sewer Damage Drying and dehumidifying damaged area in a Harbor Island, WA commercial building

Cleaning Up After Sewer Damage

A flood in your Harbor Island,WA, building can leave your business in awful shape. If you've had damage due to a sewer backup or flooded toilet, it's possible that your furniture, business equipment or important documents have become saturated, and that areas have been exposed to dangerous viruses or bacteria. It's important to enlist the help of a professional water damage restoration company to effect emergency repairs and do the sewer cleanup. Following the steps outlined below, their team of experts can use specialized skills and equipment to get your building back to its original condition.

1. Inspect and Assess

The sewer cleanup process begins with the water mitigation experts making a thorough inspection and assessing the damage. The water is tested to check for contaminants, and the exact nature of the damage determined. Based on these results, the water professionals determine the best techniques and equipment to employ.

2. Remove Contents

Any items, including office equipment, furniture and appliances, are removed from the water-damaged area. Using a variety of specialized methods, salvageable items are completely dried, cleansed and disinfected, and electronic items are restored.

3. Removal of Water

After all items have been removed from the affected areas of the building, water removal can begin. Various pieces of high-efficiency equipment, including trash pumps, sump pumps and truck-mounted extractors, are used to take any excess water out of the building. All remaining contaminated materials, such as drywall and carpeting, are removed. Specially formulated cleaners are used to eliminate any remaining contaminants.

4. Dehumidifying and Drying

After all excess water is removed and the area disinfected, the technicians then completely remove any moisture that remains. Heavy-duty dehumidifiers and air movers are brought in to do the job.

5. Final Restoration

Once everything has been thoroughly cleaned, disinfected and dried, the process of restoring the damaged areas can begin. This process can vary considerably depending on the extent of the damage, ranging from some drywall or carpet replacement to reconstruction of entire sections of the building.

Following the procedures outlined above, a sewer cleanup company can get your business back to normal, safely, quickly and efficiently.

Does My Commercial Insurance Cover Mold Damage?

11/28/2018 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Does My Commercial Insurance Cover Mold Damage? Ceiling mold damage in Seahurst,WA

Hurricanes, flash floods and even severe thunder storms can leave your Seahurst,WA, business struggling with water damage and mold. One of the first things that comes to mind is whether your commercial insurance policy will cover all or part of the damage. Here’s a primer to help you understand just what you may face when trying to get coverage following mold damage.

There are thousands of types of mold, which is defined as a fungus that thrives in continually moist environments. Most types don’t cause trouble. But some forms can create problems including

  • Discomfort among those who have mold allergies
  • Damage to wood, drywall, furniture and other materials
  • A musky, unpleasant smell

These are just a few of the things that make mold such a pain that business owners typically want to remove it immediately. Unfortunately, mold removal can be costly, so insurance help with the bill is ideal.

What Does Insurance Cover

Starting in the 1990s, many commercial insurance providers started adding mold exclusions. Before you sign up for a policy, or before you face mold damage, take a look at their approach to mold. Check for exclusions that refer to fungus. Fungus exclusions are common and apply to loss or damage caused by the presence, growth or spread of fungus, wet or dry rot or bacteria. This typically includes mold or mildew as well as their toxins, spores and even scents.

Fortunately, there are still limited coverage commercial insurance policies out there. If you have one, be aware that while they may cover fungus, they often require that it be the result of a specified cause of loss. Other times they may only provide reimbursement if flood coverage is specified.

Mold remediation can be costly, but with the right mold insurance coverage, you can keep more of your money in your pocket. Do your research when choosing or changing your insurance to lessen the expense.

Creating an Office Fire Escape Strategy: 3 Factors To Consider

11/20/2018 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Creating an Office Fire Escape Strategy: 3 Factors To Consider Create a fire escape plan for your Seahurst,WA business

Creating a Fire Escape Plan

Imagining the possibility of a fire breaking out at your Seahurst,WA, business is not very pleasant. However, preparing for such an emergency can reduce the risk of injury to your employees and customers, and one way to do so is to create a fire escape plan. Before you draw up your map, there are a few factors to consider that can make it more efficient and reduce the time it takes for everyone to evacuate the building.

1. What Are the Fire Risk Factors?

Understanding your office building’s fire risks can help you create a viable escape plan. For example, if your company occupies one floor and there are others either above or below you, consider where a fire might be most likely to start. Restaurants and manufacturing businesses both carry a considerable fire risk, so it is a good idea to keep the environment in mind when creating your evacuation plan.

2. How Many Exits Are There?

During a fire, the route to the main exit may be blocked by smoke or flames. To ensure everyone can leave the building by an alternate route, note all the available exits when you draw up an emergency escape plan and detail how they can be reached during a fire. Have smoke and fire damage cleanup service technicians tour the building with you and ask whether there are enough exits to accommodate the building’s maximum occupancy.

3. What Kind of Protocol Can Be Used?

When you create a fire escape plan, consider how to put it into action if a blaze should break out. For instance, if you have employees on different floors, then invest in fire protocol training across the board to ensure all employees knows how to react if the fire alarm goes off and that they know how to reach the nearest exit.

Remember to give yourself plenty of time to creating a viable fire escape plan for your Seahurst,WA, business. Careful planning can reduce chaos and panic during such an emergency.

4 Ways To Prevent Mold Damage After Flooding

11/13/2018 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO 4 Ways To Prevent Mold Damage After Flooding 24 hour standing water in a Seahurst,WA residence means that mold may already started to grow

Prevent Mold From Becoming A Serious Problem

Flooding frequently leads to mold growth, as fungus requires moisture in order to grow and multiply. Homeowners should take immediate action to mitigate primary water damage and prevent secondary damage after a flood occurs in Seahurst,WA. Here are four ways to prevent mold from becoming a serious problem.

1. Drain Water As Soon As Possible

Standing water can lead to extensive damage in your home and significantly increase the risk of mold. Homeowners can start this process using simple equipment such as buckets, but flood mitigation professionals usually rely on pumps to drain water.

2. Start the Cleanup Process

Flood water is considered Category Three water or black water, which means that it contains potentially dangerous contaminants and even sewage. After all of this water has been removed, the affected area should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Remove debris and kill off bacteria that can facilitate the mold growth or pose additional risks to occupants.

3. Remove Porous Building Materials

Porous materials such as carpet or drywall will probably need to be torn out and replaced during the mitigation process to prevent mold from starting to grow. Restoration experts can help homeowners determine whether it is worth the time and money to attempt to clean or repair damaged contents or materials. More often than not, replacement is the best option.

4. Completely Dry the Area

Mold cannot flourish in a dry environment. Professionals may use commercial- or industrial-grade equipment such as air movers and dehumidifiers to speed drying and draw moisture out of semi-porous surfaces.

These four measures may reduce the extent of mold growth following a flood in Seahurst,WA. If a residence has been exposed to standing water for 24 hours or longer, mold may already have started to grow. A water damage mitigation and restoration company can ensure that conditions do not remain conducive to mold.

Ruined to Rescued: Three Steps To Save a Wet Carpet

11/1/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage Ruined to Rescued: Three Steps To Save a Wet Carpet Wet carpet can be saved. Learn how!

If you’ve ever had a pipe break in your home, you know that the aftermath can be as costly as it is messy. Before you get out your credit cards, you should know in most cases it’s possible to rescue a waterlogged carpet!

As long as the source of your flood is clean, following a few simple steps can save you a lot of money.

Stem the Flow

The first step to rescuing your rugs after a pipe break is to make sure the water has stopped flowing as soon as possible. The less water that comes in contact with your floor, the easier your floor will be to save. Locate the source of the leak and turn off the water as soon as you can.

Start Blotting

Once you’ve stopped the flow of the water, it’s time to start drying your floors. Gather as many towels as you can find and start blotting! Lay the dry towels over the wet area and apply pressure to soak up as much water as you can. Once the towel is saturated, replace it with a dry one and keep going. If your carpet is white or light in color, just be careful not to use brightly colored towels that may bleed dye and cause staining.

Crank the Air

While you are blotting, get dry air flowing through the room. If it’s not humid outside, open doors and windows to create a cross breeze through the room. You can also crank up your air conditioner or turn on your central heating system. If you have a dehumidifier in your home, using it will also help.

Taking these three easy steps can put you and your rugs well on the way to restoration. In the event of a serious flood, you may want to contact an expert remediation specialist in Seattle, Washington who can help prevent odors or mold. When you have a pipe break, the key is to move quickly to avoid lasting damage to your carpets and floors.

The 4 Don’ts of Water Damage

10/26/2018 (Permalink)

Water Damage The 4 Don’ts of Water Damage Water damage is caused by broken pipes

List of Don’ts of Water Damage

A broken pipe creates many concerns for homeowners, and while it is instinctual to protect your belongings, that instinct can lead to injury or further damage. The list of don’ts below may help you minimize health risks while mitigating concerns over your belongings.

1. Do Not Use Electronics

While most people are preoccupied with the immediate risks to property, they may ignore the dangers of submerged outlets and water-soaked wiring. Plugging in or trying to use electrical appliances and tools may come with the threat of shock and electrocution. If you are uncertain of the safety of your home, you can seek help from a disaster specialist in the Seattle,WA, area who can assess your property for any potential hazards.

2. Do Not Ignore Damp Fabrics

While a broken pipe can be overwhelming, you shouldn’t let it distract you from other threats to your property. Ignoring damp fabrics, for instance, can lead to mold growth, and it may also cause irreversible damage to hardwood floors and other surfaces. It is essential to remove wet materials and hang them somewhere to dry.

3. Do Not Leave Wet Dyed Items on Floors

Items like books and magazines may also stain and distress floors, countertops and furniture. Their colorful bindings and pictures can bleed deep into porous surfaces if left to soak and dry on their own. Also, as paper is a porous substance, it can be a source of mold and mildew growth.

4. Do Not Handle Items without Protection

The buildup of water in home can also lead to contamination, depending on the origin of the pipes. For instance, flooding from sewer lines can fill a house with black water, which is water conducive to bacteria growth. Unless you know the water classification, assume that water is contaminated and that you must wear protective clothing to handle any affected items.

A broken pipe presents many potential hazards for homeowners, and while it is easy to know what you should do, like removing excess water, it is less obvious what you should avoid. The above list of don’ts may help you avoid risks while mitigating your home repair.

3 Power Backup Options for Businesses

10/26/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial 3 Power Backup Options for Businesses Commercial generator in Mercer Island,WA

Power Backup Options

A power outage may slow down business, but it does not mean a commercial property must completely shut down. Power backup equipment can protect and sustain the core systems of a company. These three power backup options can provide electricity and prevent damage to computers and servers in offices in Mercer Island,WA.

1. Power Generator and Fuel Supply

Most business owners should consider a commercial standby generator. Three-phase designs have fortified components that provide more power than manual consumer-grade generators. Smaller businesses may be able to use a single-phase generator. Calculate your power needs over various periods of time to choose the right equipment.

Standby generators can be powered by diesel, natural gas, or propane. A smaller portable generator may run on gasoline. Operate a consumer-grade manual gas generator outside to prevent carbon monoxide from accumulating in a building.

2. Automatic Transfer Switch

An ATS monitors the supply of power and will automatically activate a standby generator in the event of a power outage. The ATS will also transfer the power source back to the utility and shut down the generator as soon as the power turns back on.

3. Uninterruptable Power Supply

A UPS is a useful solution for preserving data and functionality for computer systems and servers. This component sustains power to systems for a short period to cover the transfer between utility power to generator power and back again.

Regardless of which type of generator and backup equipment you choose, you can safely operate electrical equipment and core systems during a power outage. Make sure that you have enough fuel to meet your needs for at least several days in case of a severe storm or prolonged outage. Keep in mind that most fuel types have a limited shelf life. Contact a commercial damage restoration company if a property sustains damage during a storm in Mercer Island,WA.

The 3 Best Candle Alternatives

10/26/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage The 3 Best Candle Alternatives Candles can cause a large number of fire to your Harbor Island,WA home

Candle Alternatives

Candles cause a large number of house fires. Children or pets can accidentally overturn a candle and ignite nearby combustible materials. These fires also frequently start when open flames are left unattended in a bedroom after the person who lit the candle falls asleep. Here are three flameless candle alternatives that you should consider to produce similar mood lighting effects or scents.

1. Electric Candles

Battery-operated candles are perfect for safer use for decorative purposes or as nightlights in the bedroom. These candles may be designed to flicker or disperse a scent. You can find an electric alternative for most colors, styles, and fragrances of candles, whether you desire a pillar, taper, or tea light look. You can place electric candles almost anywhere without worrying about starting a fire.

2. Christmas or Fairy Lights

Strings of lights are a safe way to add a magical touch indoors or outdoors with a lower fire risk. Use these candle alternatives to create a low-light look when decorating a room or for a holiday. You can select single- or multi-colored strings of lights and choose from standard bulbs or models with ultra-efficient LED bulbs. It is affordable to replace individual bulbs or an entire strand.

3. Candle Warmers

If you have standard scented candles that you would like to enjoy more safely, try pairing them with a candle warmer. These devices are available as low-profile bases or lamp-style designs. You can also spread a scent using oil or wax warmers or reed diffusers for a different look.

These candle alternatives allow you to create lighting looks you love or enjoy the scent of standard wax candles. All of these options also significantly reduce the risk of starting a candle fire. If a fire does break out at your home in Harbor Island,WA, schedule a consultation with a residential fire and smoke restoration service.