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Insurance Claims: How to Prepare for an Adjuster's Visit

11/22/2021 (Permalink)

Bottom of a door with water damage The absorption of water can cause irreversible damage.

How to Prepare for an Adjuster's Visit

While it is part of the claims process, a home adjuster visit can feel oddly intrusive and even judgmental, but they don’t have to. When viewed as only a process, a visit from an adjuster can be systematic and judgment-free, especially when you plan and prepare for their visit with the four steps below.

1. Prepare a Loss Inventory

Any insurance claim will likely require a loss inventory, which is an itemized record of any of your belongings too damaged to repair or restore. In addition to cataloging the information, it is a good idea to photograph any losses to show the adjuster as proof of loss.

2. Identify Structural Damage

Locate any structural damage before the home adjuster visit to ensure efficiency. You will want to look for cracks in walls or foundational separation. Additionally, you can check for sagging of the roofline or weeping/sweating around basement walls. Any structural concerns should be discussed with the adjuster to ensure they have the complete picture.

3. Collect Contractor Bids

Before the adjuster’s visit, you can begin the process of collecting cleanup and restoration bids. Professionals in the Town and Country, MO, area will likely be better suited to your specific needs because they will be more familiar with local building codes. Receiving bids from a minimum of three contractors is standard and may be expected by your insurer.

4. Make Copies of Important Documents

As adjusters are busy, typically having more than one client and claim at a time, it is beneficial for you to maintain copies of any relevant documents and correspondence between you and your insurer to substantiate your claims. The adjuster will likely have all this information, but in the off chance that there is a discrepancy, it is better to have proof and validation.

While it may be easy to see a home adjuster as the enemy, someone who is trying to cheat you out of your hard-earned dollars, the truth is that adjusters want to make sure you get what you’ve earned. You can help make that happen by following the steps above, making the process as efficient as possible.

Getting Your Family’s Emergency Escape Plan Right

11/17/2021 (Permalink)

Map of a house and escape routes By developing a reliable fire escape plan, you increase your odds of achieving peace of mind.

How To Keep Your Family Safe During a Fire

Even small fires in Chesterfield, MO, can be deadly. To keep your family safe during a fire, you must be certain everyone in your group knows what to do in an emergency. By developing a reliable fire escape plan, you increase your odds of achieving peace of mind. Here are four tips for drafting your family’s emergency escape plan.

1. Use Online Resources
The fire safety experts at the American Red Cross have extensive knowledge about preparing an emergency preparedness plan. In fact, the organization has a checklist of tasks that anyone can use to be certain a plan is effective.

2. Walk Around Your Home
Before creating your family’s fire escape plan, walk around the outside of your home and thoroughly examine it. Be sure the following are clearly visible or accessible:

  • Your house’s street number or address
  • Front and rear entry doors
  • Emergency release latches for security bars

3. Find an Outside Meeting Place
Taking family attendance during an emergency is essential to making sure everyone is safe. As such, you need to find a safe outside meeting place. Be sure it is in a well-lit area. During everyday conversation, routinely remind your children of the location of your meeting place.

4. Give Everyone a Stake
Ask your kids to help you create your family’s emergency plan. Give the young ones a piece of paper and ask them to draw their bedrooms. Then, have them identify two ways out of the rooms where they spend the most time. Don’t forget to routinely test your escape plan. When the smoke detector sounds, it is time for everyone to evacuate.
If your home goes through a fire, you can contract with a professional restoration service to return your Chesterfield, MO, house to its pre-fire condition. Remember, things are replaceable, while people are not. By formulating and routinely drilling a fire escape plan, you can rest assured your family knows what to do in the unlikely event of a fire or other emergency.

Protect Your Business’s Roof With 3 Simple Tips

11/8/2021 (Permalink)

Construction engineer wear safety uniform inspection metal roofing work for roof industrial concept with copy space Schedule routine inspections.

Roof Damage Containment

If you are like most business owners, you probably think very little about the roof that covers your building. Nonetheless, if your roofing system springs a leak or otherwise fails, the damage to your company’s inventory and equipment can be significant. To avoid a catastrophe, you must work to contain roof damage.

1. Trim Overhanging Branches
You can’t control the weather. When a thunderstorm or tornado rolls through, wind damage can be extensive. While you can’t keep shingles from blowing off the roof of your business, you can keep overhanging branches from falling onto your building. By regularly trimming trees and removing other debris, you decrease the chances that a falling limb may crash through your company’s roof.

2. Schedule Routine Inspections
Roofs are funny things. Often, roof damage takes years to reveal itself. When it does, it may be too late to repair the roofing system. If you are worried about the condition of the roof over your business, schedule regular inspections. For new roofs, having a technician take a look every three or four years is likely sufficient. For older ones, ask someone to crawl on the roof every year or so.

3. Replace Old, Damaged, or Ineffective Roofs
Damaged roofs are dangerous. As such, scheduling a roof rebuild is simply something you can’t afford to delay. Replacing your company’s roof with a modern one is an effective way to protect the equipment and inventory inside your buildings. It is also a good way to safeguard your employees and customers.
Even with your best efforts, you may not be able to completely avoid roof damage. If your building’s roof springs a leak, the contents of your buildings may sustain considerable damage. Fortunately, a reputable restoration service in Creve Coeur, MO, can likely help you with clean-up. Still, to increase your odds of avoiding disaster, you must spend a bit of time thinking about your business’s roof.

3 Simple Steps to House Fire Preparation

10/27/2021 (Permalink)

Fire escape plan Have an escape plan.

3 Easy Steps for Preparing for a House Fire

If you have ever seen a home fire, you know how fast it happens. Such an event leaves a lasting impression, so you've taken steps to prevent this disaster from happening to your family in Maryland Heights, MO. You practice good fire safety such as using flashlights instead of candles, keeping lighters and matches where kids can't reach them, keeping space heaters three feet away from anything, and taking fire safety precautions around the stove. You've made all this effort to prevent a fire, but have you prepared your family in the event a fire actually happens? Here are three simple steps for fire preparation:

Have an escape plan. You actually need to have two paths planned for each room in the house and make sure everyone knows them. Keep escape ladders in upstairs bedrooms, and have drills to practice the plan.

Have a communication plan. In your fire preparation plan, designate an obvious location to meet. The place should be just far enough from the house to be safe, but so you can all account for everyone. Also, always have a designated contact for communication. The person should live far away so that she or he is unlikely to be in the disaster area.

Use fire alarms. You should have a fire alarm on every floor, outside each bedroom and inside each bedroom. Make sure children know what they sound like and what to do when they hear the alarm. Replace batteries every year for best fire safety practices.

The American Red Cross advises that you only have two minutes to escape once a fire starts in your home. It's especially important to discuss and practice the plan with kids regularly. During fire preparation drills, teach them to stay low while leaving the house during a fire because the smoke is dangerous. Using fire alarms and having an exit plan paves the way for a better chance of getting your family out safely during a fire.

Why Do I Keep Finding More Mold?

10/15/2021 (Permalink)

Black mold growth on wall Black mold damage in Chesterfied, MO.

Time and time again, you scrub the mold from your Chesterfield, MO home. Yet every time you think you’ve eradicated it from your home, you find another spot of black mold in a new place – or even worse, it shows up right where you scrubbed before. You’ve tried airing out the house, you’ve searched for leaks and water damage, and you’ve even fallen back on chemical cleaners. So why does the mold keep coming back?

Mold Is Everywhere

It may be disappointing to hear, but it’s impossible to remove 100 percent of mold from your home. Mold is a prevalent part of your environment even when you can’t see it. The reasons you can’t eliminate all your black mold problems are:

• You can’t always see it. Mold may be hidden in nooks and crevices you can’t see, or even inside the walls. This makes it almost impossible to get rid of it entirely without professional help.

• Mold spores are prevalent in the air. You’re constantly surrounded by mold spores. You breathe them every day, but in such small concentrations that generally your immune system processes and rejects them. Those spores can easily take root at any time and start to grow into mold on surfaces in your home.

• Mold can be immensely resistant to cleaners. Most of the methods you use to clean and kill mold only kill what’s on the surface. Mold can resist chemicals and only responds to certain special treatments.

So What Can You Do About Mold?

The instant you find black mold, the first step is to begin mold cleanup and remediation. Mold remediation involves doing everything you can to eliminate the source, such as leaky roofs or appliances. You may require professional assistance if the mold is inside your walls or in other inaccessible areas of your home where only a mold test will be able to point to its existence.

Soot and Smell: Cleaning Up After a Fire

10/10/2021 (Permalink)

Blue house damaged by fire House damaged fire in Creve Coeur, MO.

Cleaning Up After a Fire

If your home in Creve Coeur, MO, catches fire and undergoes the extensive damage that typically follows, one of your first calls should be to your local fire restoration specialists. While the main problems you see may be the soot and smoke damage that permeates your home, there are many steps that come before taking care of those particular issues.

Preparing for Cleanup

The professional technicians that you hire to restore your home start by addressing the dire circumstances that could cause further damage. Before getting to the soot damage, these specialists complete a number of tasks:

  • Inspect the property and assess the damage
  • Secure home from outside with boards and tarps
  • Extract water caused by sprinkler system, busted pipes or broken sewer lines

Only after these steps have been taken can the restoration experts begin the smoke cleaning process.

Cleaning the Grime

Ridding your home of smoke damage may take some time. After all, there is a lot of surface area to clean, and all of it is probably covered in soot. Technicians will probably start with walls and ceilings. Countertops, hardware and appliances that survived the fire must also be cleaned. Through the use of special techniques and equipment, every surface must be cleaned and sanitized.

Deodorizing the House

After all surfaces and items remaining in your home have been thoroughly cleaned, and every item that could not be salvaged has been removed, the experts move on to removing the smell. Cleaning the soot damage off every inch of the house may help reduce the odor slightly, but additional measures are necessary for full restoration. Technicians may have to bring in fogging equipment or industrial air scrubbers to remove the smell of smoke from the air.

Having your home in Creve Coeur, MO, cleaned and restored thoroughly may take a long time, but the results are worth the wait. It is a good idea to discuss the process and the timeline when you hire restoration specialists.

Water Losses: What Doesn’t Your Commercial Policy Cover?

9/27/2021 (Permalink)

Burst pipe. Damaged pipes and any resulting issues are most likely considered casualties of failed routine maintenance.

Most commercial businesses are required to have some form of a commercial insurance policy; however, many plans do not cover all types of damage. For instance, leaking or damaged pipes or flooding may not be covered under your current policy. As many water problems can be quite expensive to remedy, you may be interested to know the most common issues that possibly require a special or additional plan to protect both you and your business.

1. Frozen Pipes

As a property owner, you have a responsibility to maintain the facility as best you can, and part of that responsibility is ensuring that the temperature of the building is warm enough to prevent freezing. While there are instances of freezing that are out of your control and likely covered by your policy, most cases of freezing pipes or water lines will require special coverage, as maintenance falls under your purview.

2. Consistent Leaks

Damaged pipes may be another area that most insurance companies feel is the responsibility of the business owner, as the maintenance of pipes and other plumbing is considered routine; therefore, when a building has been exposed to slow and persistent leaking pipes, many insurance companies will deem the expense the owner’s responsibility.

3. Mold Growth

Mold growth and mold damage are also examples of routine maintenance. Most insurance companies believe that an apparent mold problem, persisting for months, should have been noticed by the owner of the property before reaching the point of extensive damage. While it is possible to recoup some of the cost of mold remediation, you will likely need it in addition to your current policy.

Damaged pipes and any resulting issues are most likely considered casualties of failed routine maintenance; however, you can check with either your insurer or with another insurer located in the Bridgeton, MO, area to find out more specifics.

Is My Home Covered by Mold Insurance?

9/9/2021 (Permalink)

Mold growth on wall. If your home has been affected by fungus or mold, work with a Chesterfield, MO, mold remediation representative, like our SERVPRO team!

Unfortunately, most homeowners' insurance policies in Chesterfield, MO, do not provide mold coverage. There are some exceptions to this, however. Your policy may cover fungus growth if it was the result of situations that are covered, such as

• Fire or lightning
• Overflow of water or steam from home systems, such as the plumbing or air conditioner
• Frozen pipes
• Vandalism or theft
• Damage caused by vehicles
• Falling objects or damage due to heavy snow or ice

Examples of Mold Coverage

When your insurance policy covers accidents, it will generally cover fungus growth that was a direct result of the accident. Check out some situations when your insurance would probably cover you:

A pipe in your home bursts while you're at work and floods the basement, soaking into carpeting, drywall, and furnishings. Mold growth begins before you call the insurance company.

Heavy snowfall leads to an ice dam in the roof gutter and this allows water to seep under your shingles. That water and ice combination continues to grow until it has soaked your attic floor and insulation. A mold colony develops.

Examples of Non-Coverage

The old roof on your aging home becomes saturated with water and gives in to the heavy weight of snow during the winter. That saturation and damage lead to mold growth.

The pipes in your basement burst at the end of the winter. You don't realize that there's a problem for a couple of weeks. Fungus growth develops because of the standing water.

Get the Facts From Your Insurance Provider

Basically, your insurance provider expects that you'll provide routine maintenance on your home, addressing small problems before they develop into much larger issues. However, you can contact your insurance provider to ask about specific mold insurance. Be aware that even in this case, there may be a mold cap. If your home has been affected by fungus or mold, work with a Chesterfield, MO, mold remediation representative or your insurance adjuster for more information on how to proceed.

Storm Water Damage Requires Immediate Attention

9/9/2021 (Permalink)

Ceiling water damage. From tear-out to completion, storm restoration can be performed quickly and completely with the help of local restoration specialists.

The storm may have ended in Bridgeton, MO, but the water-damage estimate continues to grow. If the original damage is left unaddressed, your otherwise repairable home could become a total loss due to mold or other problems. However, before you begin to tear out damaged areas, you should check with your insurance agent and take pictures of the damage.

Everything that is wet and non-structural water damage needs to leave the home one way or another.

1. Send important damaged items out to be restored. Dispose of all items that will cost less to replace than to restore.

2. Remove all furniture, appliances, electronics, pictures, and other items that are not firmly attached to the house. Leaving them in place might make them the source of a future mold problem.

3. Tear out all material that has been damaged by the flood including wallboard, woodwork, flooring, and possibly ceilings. Remove all the damaged surface material below the waterline, including the flooring. Do not remove any structural components of your home.

Next, Remove Moisture from Your Home
Once the damaged material is removed and your home's structural components are exposed, it’s time to remove the remaining moisture. If there is standing water, removal will involve pumps and wet/dry vacuums. Afterward, you will use fans and other equipment to move the air and dry things out. This continues until the home is completely dry.

Finally, Put Things Back in Order
It’s time to start the restoration. This means repairing or replacing the walls, floors, and ceilings, as needed. New furniture will be delivered, and restored items will be returned. Before you bring anything back from storage, look closely to make sure that you won’t be bringing any problems back into your newly restored home.

Things Are Finally Back to Normal
From tear-out to completion, storm restoration can be performed quickly and completely with the help of local restoration specialists. This keeps the restoration costs down and minimizes the interruption and inconvenience. You couldn’t ask for more.

How to Stop Mildew Growth on Plants

8/19/2021 (Permalink)

black mold growth on a plants leaf Plant mildew damage.

How to Prevent Plant Mildew Growth

Mildew on plants is often white or light gray in color and may be present on either the surface or underside of leaves. Whether your plants are suffering from powdery or downy mildew, there are ways to stop the growth of plant mildew. Follow these three steps as soon as you notice indications of mildew growth.

Step One: Identify the Mildew

Start by identifying whether you are dealing with powdery mildew or downy mildew. Powdery mildew usually looks like white splotches that spread across the surface of the leaves on a plant. Powdery mildew is not necessarily fatal to plants, but it is still a good idea to try to restrict the spread of this parasitic fungus. Downy mildew typically grows on the underside of leaves and is either white or light gray in color and may have small black flecks.

Step Two: Prune the Plants

Remove infected portions of the plant and destroy them to limit the spread of plant mildew. This is also a good way to improve air circulation. It is a good idea not to fertilize plants that are suffering from mildew, and avoid watering these plants from above.

Step Three: Use a Fungicide

If you are dealing with stubborn powdery or downy mildew, you may want to rely on a fungicide to take care of the problem. Be sure to use the right type and strength of fungicide for the affected plant. Most fungicides must be reapplied every one to two weeks to prevent mildew from returning.

If you still struggle with plant mildew after following all of these steps, you should assess the environment in which your plants are growing. You may want to seek the professional opinion of mold and mildew experts in Creve Coeur, MO. High levels of humidity and insufficient air circulation are two major culprits when it comes to mildew growth.