When Home Fire Is Not Covered by Insurance
When fire damage is proof of arson, you will not get coverage for your losses
Fire Situations That Are Not Covered By Insurance
Experiencing a home fire can be incredibly devastating emotionally and especially financially. To mitigate risk in Iselin, PA, most homeowners purchase home insurance. That way, if disaster strikes, your bank account is not completely wiped out during your restoration process.
Many insurance policies cover the property, your belongings kept inside, and living expenses if it’s necessary to move during any required renovations. It is important to understand your policy, however, because there are a few different fire situations which are not covered under typical insurance policies.
Arson can be used as a form of insurance fraud when the owner intentionally sets the home on fire for the purpose of collecting insurance funds. If you make a home fire claim, the insurance company will send someone out to investigate, both to assess the damage and determine the cause. If they find proof of arson, you will not get coverage for your losses.
If you own property which has not been occupied for 30 days, usually a vacant home fire is not covered under homeowner policies. Check for specifics with your individual policy as there are some variations between insurance companies regarding this situation. It is still possible to insure vacant homes, such as those that are only occupied part of the year. Some companies offer specific “vacant home insurance,” and others offer endorsements to add on to your current policy. This will cover basic damage including:
Protecting Your Property
Understanding your homeowner’s insurance policy is important when it comes to mitigating risks of a home fire or other potential disasters. Most types of fires are covered, including lightning, gas leaks, and various kinds of accidents, but an intentional home fire will be a complete loss as well as a fire in a vacation home or otherwise vacant home if you do not prepare with the correct type of coverage.
Why You Should Add Hurricane Shutters to Your Home
There are several types of storm shutters
Several Types of Storm Shutters for Your Home
If you live in an area prone to hurricanes, you need to be prepared for major storms and high winds. A company that provides emergency restoration services can help you repair your Canoe Ridge, PA, home following a disaster. Yet you can also mitigate your damage ahead of time by installing hurricane shutters.
There are several types of storm shutters. Each one fits different aesthetic and budgetary requirements:
- Roll-Down or Roll-Up
- Colonial Security
- Storm Panel
Read on for more details on these various types of shutters. You can then decide which ones are right for you.
This permanent shutter is usually made of polycarbonate or quality metal, making it quite strong and effective. Each shutter is attached to the side of a window and is unfolded and locked in place by the homeowner. The average cost is $15 to $25 per square foot.
The roll-down or roll-up option is ideal for those who want a permanent change to the outside of their house. They also typically feature polycarbonate or quality metal. Besides protecting the home from high winds, they also add privacy and insulation. The typical cost is between $20 and $30 per square foot.
The colonial security shutter looks similar to a regular decorative shutter. However, you can bolt a colonial security shutter to keep it in place during a storm. The price varies from $200 to $500 per window.
Unlike the other options on this list, storm panels are temporary and are only put in place when a storm is coming. They are made of steel, polycarbonate or aluminum and cost just $7 to $15 each.
Bahama awnings are ideal for those living in hot, sunny climates. Besides protecting homes from debris, they also provide necessary shade. They usually cost $15 to $20 per square foot.
Each of the above options provides protection from high winds. Your home will be more secure, and you and your loved ones will feel safer.
If a Fire Didn't Cause Much Damage, Should You Fix It Yourself?
Fire damage in a commercial building
A fire on your commercial property, even if there wasn't much fire loss, can put your business at a bit of a standstill. If the fire was small and caused minimal damage, you may be tempted to make the repairs yourself or ignore it for awhile for the sake of your company. There are some reasons you should consider not doing this.
You Should Not DIY
Repairing fire and smoke damage can become dangerous without the proper PPE or protocols. You could even end up doing more harm than good. If you don't know exactly what you are doing, it may not get done properly and damage will persist. Although it may seem like a big deal, you should trust a professional fire remediation service.
- water damage from fire-fighting efforts can
- eventually turn to mold
- smoke damage can degrade electronics
- specific techniques are required to remove
- soot from upholstery and documents
- air quality is something that needs to be
- tested with specialized tools
You Are Probably Covered
Most insurance policies that protect against fire also include coverage for partial fire loss. Before you move anything, be sure to document everything you can with pictures and written lists. Partial losses are sometimes low on the priority list of insurance adjusters, so be sure to follow up frequently if you do not hear from them right away.
You Might Have More Damage Than You Think
Not all damage is immediately visible. Areas like the walls, siding, roof, windows, plumbing, wiring and heating system need a thorough inspection from an expert to truly assess any deterioration. Once damage is found, a professional fire restoration company can help you claim these damages on your insurance, as well.
Even in small doses, fire loss should be taken seriously to avoid bigger problems down the road. Attempting to patch it yourself could be a bad idea for both you and your commercial property. Don't be afraid to reach out to the right people when the time comes.
What Business Owners Should Understand About Clean Water Damage
Broken pipe in Willet, PA
It's Helpful to Learn About Clean Water, Also Known as Category 1 Water Damage
It can be easy to feel stressed your business in Willet, PA, floods. Many business owners and managers are unsure of the category of water damage that has affected their properties. The type of water present can majorly affect the cleanup and restoration process, and it can be helpful to learn about clean water, also known as category 1 water damage.
What Are Sources of Category 1 Water?
The category of water damage is determined by the source of the floodwater. Category 1 water is water that is not contaminated with hazardous materials. Common sources of this category of water include:
- A broken or damaged supply line
- A broken pipe
- A tub or sink that has overflowed
- Damaged appliances
Why Does the Category of Water Matter?
The category of water damage can drastically affect the cost and time spent on removal and restoration. In general, the process of removing clean water is less involved than removing category 2 or category 3 water, since the source of the water is clean and the water itself does not contain potentially harmful materials. In order to prevent the same issue from causing a flood again, it can also be helpful to know what category of water damage has affected your building.
How Are Businesses Affected by Category 1 Water Damaged Restored?
The restoration process can vary depending on how long the water remained in the building and the amount of water present in the building. When large amounts of water have affected a building, it can be useful to employ emergency restoration services who can ensure restoration is performed in an efficient manner. If category 1 water is quickly removed and only a small amount of water was present in the building, restoration could be minimal.
Understanding what category 1 water damage is can help business owners prepare for the restoration process. Though any type of water damage can devastate a business, clean water is often much easier to remove. As a result, the restoration process is often less costly and less time-consuming.
How To Handle Water Dripping From Your Light Fixture
Water in light fixtures can be a scary sight
How To Handle Water Dripping From Your Light Fixture
If you’ve ever seen water in light fixtures on your ceiling, you know it can set off a panic. Everyone knows electricity and water do not mix, so it requires immediate action. The following steps can guide you through the process and keep everyone safe in your Two Lick, PA, home.
1. Turn Off the Electricity and Water
Do not touch the light fixture; instead, the first step is to turn off your electricity. Water conducts electricity, and there is a real risk of shock or even a fire when water surrounds electric wiring. Assuming water is coming from an unknown or external source (such as rain from a leaky roof), turn off your home’s water supply. This will help you contain the leak and prevent further ceiling damage.
2. Call the Professionals
It can be tempting to try a do-it-yourself approach when you notice water in light fixtures, but it’s really a job for professional water and restoration specialists. You of course will need someone to address the plumbing issue or leaking roof; however, you also must make sure to fully dry the area to prevent mold damage. A ceiling is a difficult place to dry out yourself, and it can appear dry while still hiding moisture.
3. Prevent Future Problems
If you’ve had ceiling damage from a burst pipe, your focus after cleanup should be on how to prevent it from happening in the future. If the leak was caused by pipes freezing and bursting, you can avoid this by keeping one or two faucets slowly dripping in extremely cold temperatures. Try to keep the home the same temperature at night as it is during the day, and open kitchen or bathroom cabinets to allow warm air in. Professionals can also help reduce water pressure and soften water, which both help relieve stress on pipes.
Water in light fixtures can be a scary sight. Make sure to shut off electricity and water and call professionals to help clean it up. You also can take several steps to prevent future problems to help make the situation more manageable.
How To Care for Mold-Covered Paintings
Painting covered with mold
It doesn't take much time for mold to settle in and develop into a colony as long as it has some moisture and a safe place. Consider some old paintings stored in a basement; after a couple of rotations through humid summers and frozen winters, those paintings could have become a cozy home for many types of molds. Fortunately, if the homeowner decides to hang those paintings, it is possible for mold cleaning to restore the art to its previous good condition.
Follow These Steps
For the best results, you should contact a conservator to treat the paintings. (More about this later.) However, there are a couple of things you need to do first:
- Move the paintings into a dry, warm location. You could put the art in a sunny spot, but too much sunlight could lead to fading.
- Find out which type of paint was used in the artwork. Art remediation professionals will use methods specific to oils, acrylics, or watercolors.
- Identify if the art is on canvas, hardboard, or paper. Again, the methods used for treating each of these vary.
Depending on the preferences of the professional, you may need to remove frames or packaging.
Once the professionals get your painting for mold cleaning, they will begin by assessing the extent of mold damage. After determining whether it's possible to save the artwork, conservators will try to verify the type of paint and background. If the artist used acrylics on canvas, for instance, the cleaning method is very different from the method used to treat watercolors on paper. Finally, professionals have access to chemical treatments, specifically for artwork.
Avoid New Mold Growth
After mold remediation is complete, be aware of the risk for repeated mold contamination. If you put your newly cleaned art back into a damp basement, new growth won't be far away. Instead, identify the safest room in your home and store your artwork there.
Don't hurry into mistakes in a moment of panic. Follow the first few steps given above and then contact a Black Lick, PA, professional to tackle the mold cleaning appropriately.
What Your Fire Insurance Doesn't Cover
Fire in a vacant home in Homer City, PA
If you have a standard home fire insurance policy in Homer City, PA, you can usually count on that to cover several types of damage:
- Blazes started by lightning
- Damage caused by the flames and smoke
- Losses due to theft and vandalism
- Your property inside the building
- Costs of living away from home
You can generally count on coverage for the costs of hiring fire damage and remediation professionals. Liability coverage extends the protection to people who suffer injuries while on your property, as well as coverage if you or a member of your household is legally responsible. There are, however, some circumstances that your standard insurance won't cover.
Deliberately Set Fires
Fires set deliberately by a homeowner are not covered by an insurance policy. Arson, purposely setting the fire, is a crime. Sometimes, homeowners set these fires, so they can collect insurance money. Insurance companies know this happens, so they will send investigators to the site of the home fire. If professionals find evidence to suggest the fire was set deliberately, there won't be any coverage. Additionally, this action is "arson insurance fraud," and the homeowner may face criminal charges.
Fires in Vacant Homes
Homes that haven't been occupied for more than 30 consecutive days may be defined as vacant. (It's important to note that the terms of vacancy are defined differently from one provider to another.) If the insurance company is able to prove that a home hasn't been lived in for that set amount of time, there won't be any coverage for the vacant home fire.
If you have a vacation home, you may want to check with your insurance provider about an endorsement to your policy to cover the dangers of leaving your home vacant. Those risks include vandalism, damage from storms, and theft.
Protection for Your Home
You can feel confident about your insurance coverage for most home fire losses, except for cases of deliberate fires and damages to vacant homes. If you're not sure what your insurance covers, contact your insurance agent for specific answers.
3 Tips for Conducting Workplace Emergency Drills
The International Fire Code recommends having a fire drill every 90 days
3 Tips for Conducting Workplace Emergency Drills
You probably participated in a fire drill when you were in school. Well, disaster drills are just as important for businesses in Indiana, PA. An unexpected event, such as a fire, severe storm or flood can stir up a lot of fear, panic and chaos. Conducting drills conditions your workers to react properly under these stressful conditions. Below are a few tips to keep your plan running smoothly.
1. Implement a Schedule
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends regular drill sessions because it's the best way to prepare employees for an unexpected event. The number of drills your company needs to conduct can vary based on the following factors:
- Employee turnover rates
- Employee schedules
- Workplace risk factors
- State laws
- Local municipality laws or codes
- Industry-specific guidelines
For example, there are recommendations for fire drills. The International Fire Code recommends having a fire drill every 90 days.
2. Keep the Drill Unpredictable
There are two types of crisis drills: planned and unplanned. The former is less disruptive to employee workflow and productivity. While it's more convenient, it's not the most effective approach. Often employees don't take planned drills seriously. On the other hand, an unannounced drill keeps staff on its toes. With this approach, employees are more likely to find the best and safest building exits during a real-life catastrophe.
3. Evaluate Each Drill
You can learn a lot from conducting post-drill evaluations. You can see what worked. You can identify problem areas. From there, you can devise an effective solution. Ongoing testing provides valuable feedback that helps employees remain safe during and after a crisis.
A workplace fire drill (or another disaster drill) enhances employee safety. Practicing evacuations on a regular basis helps them remain calm when seeking safety in the midst of an unexpected disaster. Whether it’s a crisis ranging from a fire to a flood, you want to restore daily business operations as quickly as possible. You can do that with emergency restoration services in Indiana, PA.
Dealing with a Furnace Puff Back
Soot webs in the upstairs stairwell due to a furnace puff back in the basement.
Is Your Furnace Ready for Winter?
It doesn't get much worse than finally giving into turning on your furnace for the next few months and having it blow a whole bunch of soot back out through your entire home.
What is a Puff Back?
The term "Puff Back" refers to the sudden explosion of soot into your home or business caused by a malfunction in the heating system. This soot is usually a sticky, greasy, grimy mess that can present a sever health hazard. All of those minuscule, oil based particles embed themselves in your curtains, carpets, and clothing while contaminating the air with known carcinogens.
How Can I Know if I had a Puff Back?
Puff Backs are characterized by the oily black soot left behind, often appearing like spider webs. The soot and other debris from the explosion can easily be carried throughout your home by the exhaust and heating systems meaning that every room in your home has the potential to be damaged.
You might be tempted to try and clean up this mess by yourself, but running a vacuum over the soot only grinds it deeper and creates stains that will never come out. Wiping the soot from walls and ceilings creates a place where paint will no longer stick, and unless the soot is quickly and professionally removed, it can cause corrosion of metal on doorknobs, faucets, and even electronic equipment in the home. Because every inch of the home is affected, a puff back is an overwhelming job to clean properly.
About SERVPRO of Indiana County
As a trusted leader in the restoration industry, SERVPRO of Indiana County has highly trained technicians that are dedicated to responding to any size disaster with 24-hour emergency response. Contact us today, at (724) 717-4098, to see what SERVPRO of Indiana County can do to help you!
3 Tips for Protecting Your Home From a Flood
Employ a sump pump to prevent standing water and damage when basement floodings occur.
Flood Safety Tips To Protect Your Home
Flooding can cause serious damage to your Iselin, PA, home. Standing water, mold and other types of problems are likely to result in both lost time and money. While it can be difficult to predict floods, especially those caused by violent weather, there are a few flood safety tips you can keep in mind when attempting to protect your home from such an event.
1. Keep Sandbags on Hand
If you live in an area that floods often, it is wise to keep items on hand that can help you protect your home. For example, keeping sandbags on hand might prevent water levels from rising and entering your property. You can either make these bags yourself or obtain them through a few local government offices during flood season. Place sandbags around your home’s foundation and in low-lying areas to keep flood waters at bay.
2. Install a Sump Pump in Your Basement
When it comes to flooding safety tips, few are more important than being prepared for basement flooding. When floods occur, the lower levels of your home are likely to be affected first, and a sump pump can prevent standing water and damage to the items you might have stored in your basement. There are many different types of pumps available, including portable models that you can employ in other areas of your home during a flood.
3. Have Your Sewer System Inspected
While it might be difficult to completely flood proof your home, calling in a storm damage and flood mitigation service to inspect and service your sewage system may lower the risk. Flood technicians may be able to either install or advise you on the installation of devices that prevent sewage backflow during heavy flooding. This flood safety tip can help prevent dangerous or contaminated water from entering your home.
When floods occur in Iselin, PA, the outcome can be dangerous. Learning a few flood safety tips and practicing prevention may be useful when it comes to protecting your home, family and property.