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Pretesting and Water Classification: Making the Claims Process More Accurate

2/18/2019 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Pretesting and Water Classification: Making the Claims Process More Accurate Black water is contaminated and dangerous.

Pretesting And Water Classification

As an insurance agent in the Brooklyn, NY area, it is your job to move the claims process forward. However, it is also necessary that claims are accurate assessments of the damage sustained to a property. Pretesting water damage can help you deliver an accurate insurance claim.

1. Water Categorization

Water categorization refers to the type of water and its level of contamination. There are three categories.

  • Category 1 – White Water

White water is considered clean water. It comes from a sanitary source, but prolonged standing could lead to contamination from other sources.

  • Category 2 – Gray Water

Gray water is contaminated water. This water presents as a darker color and likely has unsafe levels of chemical and biological matter. Avoid contact with the skin and do not consume as it may make you ill.

  • Category 3 – Black Water

Black water is contaminated and dangerous. This water is likely contaminated with sewage and other toxic chemicals. Contact or consumption could cause serious illness or disease.

2. Category Classification

Pretesting will also provide a classification to the damage. Each category and level require different restoration and mitigation practices which effects price. There are four classifications.

  • Class 1

Class 1 water damage means minimal exposure. This means that water is affecting a small area of a room and that there is minimal absorption into the surrounding materials.

  • Class 2

Class 2 water damage involves an entire room and a lot of water absorption into surrounding materials. This level also involves affected structural materials.

  • Class 3

Class 3 water damage involves the highest level of water absorption. This level of damage typically requires significant repair or replacement of all materials in the space.

  • Class 4

Class 4 is more related to drying times than water damage. This level involves specialty drying equipment and times due to deep pockets of saturation.

Pretesting provides an overview of the damage inflicted on a property. The higher the category and classification level the more extensive the repair. Therefore, testing the water before a restoration provides an accurate picture and price point for the claim being made.

Does Your Business Need Commercial Flood Insurance?

2/11/2019 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Does Your Business Need Commercial Flood Insurance? Ask your insurance agent if you are covered

Your businesses in Park Slope, NY, is not covered under a standard commercial insurance policy if it is affected by flooding. However, you can purchase special coverage for flooding in case your company ever does withstand any flood damage. Here’s some basic information on flood insurance and whether or not you will need to purchase it for your business.

Flood Insurance Coverage

If flooding in your area causes damage to your business, you will likely need to contact a water damage cleanup company to restore the damaged building and get you back in business. Without flood insurance, the cost to fix all the damages and replace any lost items will rest on your shoulders. By protecting your business with coverage in the case of a flood, the costs up to $500,000 will be taken care of in almost all situations including

  • Heavy rain
  • Overflowing rivers
  • Snow melt
  • Storm surge
  • Broken dams
  • Blocked storm drains

Your business will also be covered for any mold damage that occurs as a result of the flooding. Any property outside your company’s business will not be covered, and you will not be compensated for money loss due to time lost during the restoration process.

Insurance Requirements in High-Risk Areas

If you don’t live in a high-risk flood area, it will be up to you to determine the risk of flooding in your area. While areas close to flood zones would be smart to look into adding flooding to their insurance policy, businesses located in areas identified as high-risk flood areas with a mortgage from an insured or federally regulated lender are the only locations required by law to purchase an extra flood insurance policy.

Flood insurance is very useful for covering the costs of damage that occurs to your business as a result of a flood. Although it is only required for businesses in high-risk areas, you should evaluate whether your building could be at risk.

What To Do If You Suspect Natural Gas

2/4/2019 (Permalink)

Fire Damage What To Do If You Suspect Natural Gas Avoid a gas fire or explosion in your Park Slope, NY , home

4 Signs Of Gas Leak

They're sometimes hard to recognize, but it doesn't take much of a leak to cause a gas fire. These home disasters are all too common. Fortunately, you can avoid a fire or worse by recognizing signs of a leak:

  •  A hissing or whistling sound near the line
  •  The smell of rotten eggs or sulfur
  •  Bubbles in the water
  •  Dead houseplants
  •  Visible dust near the gas line
  •  Damage to the gas pipe

Family members or pets may show signs of a natural gas leak, as well. These may include nosebleeds, reduced appetites, nausea, mood changes, irritation to the eyes and throats, disorientation, and breathing difficulties.

Keep Your Family and Home Safe

Avoid a gas fire or explosion in your Park Slope, NY , home by following these top tips:

1. Check Gas Stoves

If you have a gas stove, the dials may have been turned on or left on accidentally. If you're confident it's safe to remain in your home, move to the stove and turn off any flames.

2. Do Not Flip Switches

Simply flipping the light switch to on or off could make a spark that causes a gas explosion. Instead, use a flashlight for any other actions you take in the house. Don't use the phone inside the house, either. In fact, don't use lighters, candles, or anything else that could ignite.

3. Ventilate the Home

Open all the windows and doors, so fresh air can come in and gas will move out of the house. Don't worry about taking any steps further than this. Instead, wait to contact emergency or fire remediation professionals when you and your family are safely outside.

4. Go Outside

Get everyone outside and go across the street. From this safe distance, call 911 or the appropriate authorities.

Learn as much as you can about what may cause a gas fire and how to avoid them to keep your family safe. Teach your family about natural gas and how to stay safe if they suspect a gas leak.

What To Know About Mold Damage and Your Insurance

1/22/2019 (Permalink)

Mold Remediation What To Know About Mold Damage and Your Insurance Call your agent to find out if you are covered

Mold Damage And Your Insurance

If you’ve discovered mold damage in your rented Brooklyn, NY, home, you may be wondering if your rental insurance policy will cover the damage and remediation. The answer to this depends both on your policy and the damage type.

1. How Insurance for Renters Works

Renters insurance policies typically cover the personal property of the renter, while the landlord’s insurance covers the structure. Most policies include coverage for damages caused by an emergency situation, such as fire or flood, and any damage resulting from those situations. They may also cover damages caused by accident or nature up to the point when the resident has had reasonable time to discover and fix the problem. Most insurance policies will not cover damages resulting from neglect.

2. What Mold Damages May Be Covered

Your rental insurance may have provisions for mold removal and remediation if the mold growth is caused by an emergency, such as water from a fire hose, nature, or an accidental pipe break, among similar situations. In many cases, they may also cover the costs for hiring a mold remediation professional.

3. What Renters Are Responsible For

In most cases, renters are responsible for reporting any mold removal needs as soon as they realize there’s a problem. Mold damage to a renter's personal property also falls to them, while damage to the actual property may be covered by the landlord’s policy. In many cases, renters insurance may require the renter to do everything they reasonably can in order to report and remedy the mold problem. The renter is also responsible for having insurance and knowing what the policy contains.

In most cases, a rental insurance policy will cover damage up to the point where the renter could have prevented it from getting any worse. This means that as soon as damage is found, appropriate steps should be taken to stop the infestation and prevent further spread. In some cases, your policy may even cover the cost of professional cleaning.

What to Know About Water Damage and Your Insurance Policy

1/16/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage What to Know About Water Damage and Your Insurance Policy Call your agent in Park Slope, NY to find out if you are covered

Common Questions When You Fill Out a Claim for Water Damage

When the cold hits, your Park Slope, NY, home could be facing issues with bursting pipes. Fortunately, your insurance policy can help. Here are a few of the common questions people have with filing a claim for water damage.

1. What Damage is Covered?

When it comes to damage caused by water in your home, several causes may be covered by your insurance. Sudden damages such as sewer back up, an accidental break in the plumbing, storm caused damage, or flooding are all instances insurance companies usually cover. Gradual damage which occurs over time is usually considered neglect on the part of the homeowner and will most likely not be covered. This is why it’s important to conduct any repairs as soon as water caused damage is found.

2. What Other Services May Be Covered?

Your insurance provider may also include coverage for the cost of hiring a professional cleanup and restoration service to help restore your home. These professionals can assess the damage and formulate a plan for repair and restoration. Your insurance company may also be able to help you contact a plumbing professional who can help fix broken pipe issues in your home to help prevent further problems with bursting pipes.

3. What Things Can You Do?

Aside from fixing any damage you find as soon as you can, there are a few things a homeowner can do to help the insurance process. The first is to understand your policy, and what it covers and does not cover. It may also be helpful to conduct a home maintenance check regularly and maintain a record of all your home repairs.

If you’ve had issues with bursting pipes, it’s important to know what type of water damage your policy covers. Your policy may also offer coverage for the costs of hiring professionals to help restore your home after the damage occurs. Remember, it’s important to know what's in your policy when filing a claim.

Security Fencing: Keeping Your Property Safe After a Fire

1/9/2019 (Permalink)

Security Fencing

Many property owners may wonder why a security fence is put up after a disaster, especially when so much of the property has already been damaged or destroyed. The simple answer is to mitigate further loss and to comply with most insurer requirements. However, fencing also helps to reduce liability risks and ensure a safe and controlled environment for the restoration process.

1. Looting and Vandalism

The main concerns after a commercial property fire are looting and vandalism. This type of disaster can create several access points for potential criminals, and without the proper preventative measures, an insurer can dismiss the losses as owner neglect.

2. Squatting or Trespassing

Additionally, a security fence not only prevents criminal activity, but it also minimizes the risk of any type of trespassing, even squatting. When your business has been shut down, the last thing you want is rebuilding to be slowed down because of people attempting to live in your building.

3. Wildlife

Beyond people, both criminal and destitute, a fence can reduce the chances of wildlife trampling through your property and causing more damage. Granted, the safety perimeter may not keep birds out, but it may keep larger animals at bay while your property is cleaned and restored.

4. Further Damage

Fencing in combination with a full-scale board-up is meant to mitigate further damage and reduce liability concerns for insurers. Damage can be caused by people, animals and Mother Nature, which is why you should contact a disaster restoration specialist in the Brooklyn, NY, area to perform both of these services and keep your property safe.

A security fence is only part of the fire mitigation and restoration puzzle, but it is necessary. Without a secure perimeter, you risk criminal trespass, squatting and even wildlife intruders. Keep your building safe and fence off the boundary or hire a skilled and experienced professional to help you.

Small Business Claims: Knowing Your Coverage

12/31/2018 (Permalink)

Your commercial property in Bay Ridge,NY, must be insured for many reasons. The building could sustain damage, or someone could get hurt when they visit. Something as simple as a pipe break could become a major expense without the right coverage. It’s important to understand your insurance package so that you know when you have the right to file a business claim.

Exclusions

One thing you want to pay particular attention to is what your property insurance doesn’t cover. Water damage can happen as the result of many different situations:

• Leaky pipes
• Inclement weather
• Flooding
• Sewer damage

The problems caused by some of these incidents and the water remediation services required to fix them are likely to be covered by your standard property policy. However, flooding or secondary damage such as mold may need a separate add-on to keep you fully insured. Your business claim may also be denied if the damage is the result of neglect or improper maintenance.

Maintenance

Avoiding water damage in your building often comes down to how well you take care of your property. You can minimize your risk of leaks due to weather by keeping gutters and downspouts clean throughout the year. Don’t put off roof repairs. Have your roof inspected regularly so that you can fix problems that lead to leaks. As the weather gets colder, make sure your pipes are well-insulated, particularly if they are near exterior walls. Keep your building’s temperature at 55 degrees or higher to keep pipes in the walls and under sinks from freezing and cracking. Keeping up with these tasks allows you to safeguard against damage due to broken pipes or heavy rains.

Your commercial insurance is there just in case you need it. If you take preventative measures and keep up with your maintenance schedule, however, you are less likely to need to file a business claim.

Staten Island Fire Damage

12/28/2018 (Permalink)

Commercial Staten Island Fire Damage Kitchen Fire Damage in Staten Island

Fire Damage in Staten Island home leaving behind extensive soot and smoke damage.

Fire Cleanup Process

After commercial fire damage, take immediate action. The longer you wait, the more the commercial fire damage. The best way forward is to call the fire disaster restoration company. The professional will restore the damaged home or place of business to habitable conditions. Here's the general process followed by the restoration company:

Assessment.

Upon arrival to the scene of the fire, the first thing fire restoration professionals will do is to assess the fire damage. This step mostly involves looking at how far soot damage and smoke damage extends as well the extent of damage to the walls and furniture.

Prevent further damage.

The more the property is exposed to the smoke, the more the fire damage extends. One of the key steps in fire damage restoration is keeping the damage from getting worse. The property will need to be secured or boarded up. Boarding up the property will keep looters or vandals at bay and prevent more damage.

Fire clean up.

After they seal important items and board up the property, the fire restoration professionals will commence on fire cleanup process and get rid of the smoke smell.

Repairs.

After all the residue has been removed, the smoke smell has been taken care of, and the next step is to fix the damages.

Home or commercial fire damage can be disastrous. To minimize the commercial fire damage, take immediate action as soon as the fire truck leaves. Call a fire disaster restoration company to restore the property to its original state.

SERVPRO of Northwest Brooklyn was called in to clean up and restore the kitchen "Like it never even happened."

Bedford Stuyvesant Fire Damage

12/28/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Bedford Stuyvesant Fire Damage Garage Fire in Bedford

A fire started in the carport of this fully attached home in Bedford Stuyvesant. 3 homes to the right were also heavily damaged. SERVPRO of Northwest Brooklyn responded immediately to the homeowners call. We began the clean up once the fire Marshals cleared the scene. Our homeowner was very thankful that we were able to help her get her life and home back on track.

Fires can have devastating effects, whether it is a fire in a home or fire in a business premise. They have a way of consuming everything on their way, leaving property owners dealing with massive losses. However, the damages caused by fire can be restored thus giving home and business owners a chance to board up and get back to their normal lives.

It's hard to imagine the pain a person feels after a fire, be it fire in a business or fire in a home. It's important to assess the extent of fire damage before calling the fire damage restoration company. Fire damage can be in the form of soot damage, smoke damage, and soot damage. Most of the damages resulting from fire in a home or fire in a business come from smoke and soot as opposed to the actual flames as most people would expect.

What to Do After a Fire

There are certain things property owners can do after a fire in a home or fire in a business to minimize the smoke damage and smoke smell. One of them is calling fire cleanup professionals to perform the fire cleanup process and restore the home or place of business to its previous state. It's critical that the fire damage restoration process is conducted sooner rather than later to effectively clear the effects of soot damage, fire damage, smoke damage, and smoke smell.

Depending on where the house or business is located, the professional fire cleanup technicians may take some time to arrive. Property owners are advised not to do any cleaning before the commercial fire damage restoration company arrives. Here are a few tips on what not to do before the technicians arrive:

  • Do not turn on electrical appliances — stereos, TVs, computers, etc. — before the professional fire cleanup technicians assess them properly.
  • Do not consume canned foods or any other food items exposed to heat during the fire.
    Stay away from the upholstered furniture or heavy carpeting affected by debris or heavy smoke residue.
  • Do not attempt to wipe or wash smoke or soot from absorbent surfaces such as ceilings and walls.

After the fire truck leaves, the reality of the situation settles in. Property owners may be tempted to rush in and try to salvage some of their property. Let the professional fire restoration company do what they do best.

Know the Difference Between Storm Terminology

12/28/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Know the Difference Between Storm Terminology Storm Damage in Brooklyn, NY

Winter storms can range from a moderate snow over a few hours to a blizzard with blinding, wind-driven snow that lasts for several days. Some winter storms are large enough to affect several states, while others affect only a single community. Many winter storms are accompanied by dangerously low temperatures and sometimes by strong winds, icing, sleet and freezing rain.

KNOW THE DIFFERENCE

  • WINTER STORM OUTLOOK - Winter storm conditions are possible in the next 2 to 5 days.
  • WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY – Winter weather conditions are expected to cause significant inconveniences and may be hazardous. When caution is used, these situations should not be life threatening.
  • WINTER STORM WATCH – Winter storm conditions are possible within the next 36-48 hours. People in a watch area should review their winter storm plans and stay informed about weather conditions.
  • WINTER STORM WARNING – Life-threatening, severe winter conditions have begun or will begin with 24 hours. People in a warning area should take precautions immediately.

Regardless of the severity of a winter storm, you should be prepared in order to remain safe during these events. SERVPRO of Northwest Brooklyn encourages everyone to learn about the hazards they may face during a winter storm and prepare for all types of emergencies by writing an emergency plan, choosing a meeting place, gathering supplies for their home, and preparing a Go Bag in case they need to leave their home in a hurry. Make a disaster plan with your household members to prepare for what to do, how to find each other, and how to communicate in an emergency. Make a plan that best suits your needs and the needs of your household.