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Understanding Home Fires and Insurance

7/22/2021 (Permalink)

Home garage burned, content covered with soot When a fire damages your home SERVPRO of can help you.

A home fire at your dwelling in Terrace Park, OH is devastating. There is soot damage, smoke damage and water damage from the firefighters putting out the flames. Many of your personal belongings are lost or in need of proper cleaning. Most residential fires are covered by insurance, but some are not. The cause is crucial to determining coverage. Read below to know what is typically covered and what is not. Each individual policy is different, so be sure to confirm with your agent.

What Causes Are Usually Covered?

For most homeowner’s insurance, almost all fire types are covered under the policy, including, but not limited to the following

  • Kitchen fires are one of the main causes of residential fires. This type of fire spreads quickly and leads to significant damage.
  • Failing electrical systems or appliances, especially those that are old or poorly maintained, pose a fire risk.
  • The HVAC system, space heater or wood stove may ignite a house fire.
  • Even though smoking rates have decreased over the past few decades, it remains a common reason for residential fires.
    • External causes, such as lightning strikes and wildfires, are rare but can be a fire hazard.

When Is a Home Fire Not Covered?

There are two main causes of house fires not covered by homeowner’s insurance: 

  • Arson is never covered if the fire is set by the homeowner or someone acting on the homeowner’s behalf. If investigators find evidence of a fire set by the owner to collect insurance money, no damage is covered and criminal charges may be filed.
  • A vacant home fire is not typically covered if it is unoccupied at the time of the fire. However, this is covered if the homeowner has an added endorsement to the policy.

When you have a home fire in Terrace Park, OH insurance coverage for fire and water damage is key to an affordable recovery. Work with your insurance adjustor and a fire restoration specialist to rebuild, replace and restore your home to pre-fire condition.

The Value of Mold Inspections

7/22/2021 (Permalink)

Mold remediation specialist inspects walls Should you spend money on a mold inspection?

Mold Inspections Are Important

Buying property in Amberly Village, OH, can be an expensive and risky venture. Added to those costs are the many tests and inspections involved in the process. As you consider whether to add a mold inspection to your list, carefully weigh the cost of the test with the potential costs of serious mold damage and remediation. If you purchase a property where visible mold is a problem, you'll pay for:

  • Labor
  • Specialized materials
  • Use of specialized equipment
  • Removal and replacement of home materials (such as drywall and carpeting)

If you're found liable for anything related to a mold problem, you may also end up paying financial damages to the people using your building. Many property owners have found that it is more cost-effective to catch trouble before it has the chance to escalate into much larger problems.

What Good Comes From a Mold Inspection?

Should you pay for an expensive mold inspection? Maybe you already know there's a lot of mold. Visible signs are an obvious indication that there's a problem. However, mold testing may also reveal areas where water is getting into the framing of the building. This allows you to tackle the source of mold trouble, sometimes before mold has the chance to grow. If mold has to lead to structural weaknesses, the inspection and resulting remediation efforts could also prevent much more expensive repairs. Finally, if the building was once affected by water damage and has been remediated, the inspection could provide confidence in those results.

Better Safe Than Sorry

The best advice is to err on the side of safety. An investment in a thorough mold inspection upfront could potentially save you a lot of money in the end. It's also worth noting that mold is notorious for returning to areas that have once been affected by it. So, your efforts to protect yourself from mold damage in any of your Amberly Village, OH, properties is a very good idea.

Important Steps You Should Take if Your Basement Floods

7/12/2021 (Permalink)

Completely flooded basement. It is visible line showing maximum water level higher than 7 feet. Flooded basement in Madeira, OH.

Wise homeowners do everything possible to keep their homes safe from disasters such as flooding. However, there may be times when, despite your best efforts, water still finds its way into your basement. There are many causes of house floods, but there are also some effective ways you can get rid of water once it infiltrates your Madeira, OH, property.

How can a Flood Occur in Your Home?

No one wants to think about a basement flood. Unfortunately, this is a harsh reality for many people. Flooding can happen in a number of different ways.

  • Broken sump pump in the basement
  • Poor drainage around the house, including insufficient rain gutters
  • Pipe leak, pipe break or other plumbing issues
  • Heavy rain

Get Someone on the Job

A flood in your house calls for immediate action. As soon as you notice water getting into your home, contact a professional restoration company without delay. When you enlist the help of an experienced team, you can have peace of mind and confidence that these experts will bring the right skills and equipment to not only get rid of the water but clean up in a timely and effective manner.

Remove the Water

The pros will start by removing the water from your home. They will use extraction machines to suck up standing water from your floor. During this process, it’s also important to speak to a qualified professional about pipe repair or about fixing any issues that caused the flooding.

Tear-Out

A team will also tear out carpet, hardwood, drywall or other materials that you can no longer use. This may also include furniture and personal items.

Clean-Up

The pros will also use heavy-duty cleaning agents to sanitize the affected area. This will help reduce the risk of mold growth.

If you’ve had flooding in your home, call a qualified professional right away. The faster you do this, the faster you’ll be safe and sound at home.

Stages of Commercial Storm Preparedness

7/12/2021 (Permalink)

Floodwaters in commercial building Flood damage to a commercial property in Mariemount, OH.

Know What To Do Before, During, And After A Storm

 High winds, rain and lightning in Mariemount, OH, may threaten your business and employees. When a rain storm or other severe weather hits, be prepared. Know what to do before, during and after the thunderstorm to protect your staff and commercial property. Before the Storm

As someone who understands the commerce industry, you know that preparedness and prevention are important elements of a business plan. Be ready for a thunderstorm by doing the following:

  • Communicate with managers and employees about a severe weather plan. When a rain storm threatens the area, everyone should already know what to do. This includes knowing where to shelter in place, away from skylights and windows. Post visible reminders about procedures.
  • Keep an emergency preparedness kit that includes water, flashlights and first aid equipment.
  • Trim trees and bushes near the building and maintain lightning rods, if present. Before installing lightning rods, seek assistance from the local fire department.

During the Storm

When the sky turns dark, high winds start and the local emergency warning system sounds, now is the time to put your preparedness plan in place:

  • Have employees seek shelter in the designated place. Stay away from electrical equipment, such as computers, that could surge if lightning strikes. Landline phones should not be used, but cellular devices are safe.
  • Do not allow staff to leave the building, unless you suspect a lightning strike to the property. Then promptly evacuate staff and call 911.

After the Storm

After the thunderstorm, maintain precautions for about a half hour. Troubleshoot any damage that may have occurred:

  • Listen to the radio for safety bulletins regarding damage to the area.
  • Do not allow employees to go near power lines that have fallen. Contact the fire department immediately.
  • Check your property for damage. If you suspect water, wind or hail damage, call a storm restoration professional and your commercial insurance agent as soon as possible.

A rain storm does not have to mean bad news for your business in Mariemount, OH, when you are prepared. Know what to do before, during and after a storm to protect your personnel and property.

Situations When Your Insurance Won’t Cover a House Fire

7/6/2021 (Permalink)

Outdoor structure of a home burned by fire Fire damage in Indian Hill, OH.

Do you ever get frustrated making that monthly insurance premium payment? You may spend a fair amount of money on homeowner’s insurance, but if the time comes when you need to use it, you’re grateful for the coverage it provides. Insurance can give you peace of mind and save you from financial ruin. Take a home fire, for example. Your homeowner’s insurance will cover the cost of loss in a fire in most cases. There are only a few situations in which you’ll be out of luck.

Unusual Circumstances

Let’s get the most uncommon issues out of the way first. There are a few events where your policy wouldn’t cover a fire at your Indian Hill, OH, home, but the chances of these are extremely small. Still, it’s helpful to know that you are on the rare and unfortunate end of these situations that you’ll have to seek help in some other way.

  • Nuclear Blast. If this happens at our near your home, there are more widespread things to worry about. But your policy won’t cover it.
  • Act of war. If a home fire starts as a result of an invading army, you can’t rely on your insurance for help.

Intentional Fires

Under no conditions will any insurance company ever cover a fire that started from arson. People sometimes try this method to get money from their insurance. This act won’t just leave you with damage or potentially no home, but it’s punishable with prison time.

Vacant Building

Your homeowner’s policy won’t cover fire damage if it occurs when your home was vacant. Usually, this means you haven’t occupied it for more than 30 consecutive days. You can purchase additional insurance in these cases in the event a vacant home fire causes damage or destroys the structure.

If you need further information about cleaning up after a fire, contact an expert restoration specialist. You should also become familiar with your insurance policy and understand to what extent it will cover a home fire.

Everything You Need To Know About Mold Testing

6/17/2021 (Permalink)

air mover on the floor, flood cut performed on drywall and mold found behind drywall Mold damage on Indian Hill, OH

As a residential homeowner or renter in Indian Hill, OH, you are constantly cleaning and maintaining your living space. This requires frequent cleaning, occasional maintenance and personal inspections. But what do you do when you suspect mold growth? Many people don't know what to do when this happens, and they may ignore it, which leads to more mold growth and potential structural problems. Here is everything you need to know about mold testing and what the best course of action may be for your situation.

How To Look for Signs of Mold

How do you recognize possible signs of mold? Before you even consider testing for mold, here are a few key signs that there may be mold colonies in your home:

  • Warped walls or ceilings
  • Discoloration
  • Musty smell
  • Areas that have water damage

If during your routine inspections and cleaning you find some of these signs, you may be dealing with a mold problem. Keep in mind that mold thrives in wet, humid places.

What Mold Testing Is
There are different kinds of testing, but some are better than others. One of these is a DIY mold inspection called a mold kit. However, the fact of the matter is this: mold is everywhere. Mold spores float through your house all the time, so it's often likely that these mold kits will test positive for mold.
The best type of testing is the kind you get from licensed hygienists. They will visually inspect suspicious areas, check for hidden water damage and sample for mold. This thorough inspection is much more accurate and can lead to a better understanding of what's going on in your house.
If you have any inclination that mold is growing in your house, it may be best to talk to a mold inspection company. They have the expertise needed to understand the mold situation, which can be much more accurate than a DIY mold inspection.

Q2 2021 Franchise Teammate One Team MVP Finalist Dylan Riddle

6/11/2021 (Permalink)

a man We are more than proud to have Dylan as a part of our SERVPRO family.

Dylan Riddle has been the job file coordinator with SERVPRO of East Central Cincinnati and West Hamilton/Oxford for more than three years. There he has taken his work ethic, knowledge, and positive attitude to help improve his franchise's job cycle times and audit scores. While he rarely works in the field, customers often compliment the customer service when working with Dylan. His help was even on display during the recent Winter Storm in Texas and Oklahoma as he provided help managing the influx of work during the event.

Dylan has been absolutely critical in the turnaround of our franchise. Approx. three years ago we realized we were one of the worst franchises in regard to upload scores and job cycle times. After spending the majority of the year in a "red light" status, we had to take action to correct these deficiencies. We made a significant amount of internal changes, however, we still struggled with our audit scores. Despite our efforts, we could not seem to grasp the process. Fortunately, Dylan came along and was able to quickly help us turn things around and surpass the very lofty goals I had set.

In June of 2019, he informed me we had reduced our office cycle time from 8+ days to 1.5 days, which surpassed our previously set goal of 2 days, all while raising our average audit score into the 90% range. On that same phone call, I had informed Dylan that our new goal was to get our office cycle times down to a point where it started with a decimal point (example .75 days). Without reservation he accepted this challenge and simply replied with, "yes sir, I will have some ideas emailed to you by tomorrow morning with some ways we can make it happen." He followed through with his commitment, and for 2020 our current office cycle times are .12 days with a 100% job audit score. I could honestly go on and on and name scenario after scenario where Dylan has met/exceeded established goals time after time. Dylan is a true team player and I could not think of anyone more deserving of the MVP award.

Do the right thing: Dylan seems to be intolerant of shortcuts or anything short of his best effort. It is reflected in his audit scores, as well as the positive feedback we receive from customers on a regular basis, which is impressive considering he rarely steps foot on many of our mitigation projects.  

Serve others: I have personally made some pretty insane requests at all hours and I have never heard any hesitation on his behalf. He is a true team player who is all about providing the best experience for the customer and taking actions to improve those around him.  

Stay positive: Anyone who spends five minutes on the phone with Dylan would immediately identify how incredibly positive he is. When Dylan first started with us, I reviewed all of his job files to ensure they were to our franchise's new standard. This is something we do with all employees, and usually after a week, each requested revision is usually met with some form of hesitation/frustration. However, I never experienced that with Dylan. This is very atypical, so when I asked him about it he responded with, "Boss I figured you were just trying to push me out of my comfort zone, so I have just turned it into a game to see if I can write an Xactimate where you can't find anything to add, and if I can't do that, I will at least make you work really hard to find something."

Hustle/Grind: Since Dylan is part of the administrative team, he is not expected to regularly perform his duties after hours or on the weekends, but that has not stopped him from working countless hours outside of his "normal hours." When we really started gaining traction and seeing the fruits of our focus on cycle times, we challenged Dylan to get our office time down to a metric that started with a decimal point, and that the goal was to get the number so low that when people read our numbers, they were equal parts confused and suspicious. Dylan took that request to heart, and to this day, if the production staff pulls equipment on a Saturday, he is in the office placing the finishing touches on the job file and submitting for billing. 

Collaborate: Dylan is a true believer of the ONE TEAM mentality and has helped or provided pointers to quite a few other franchises. During the most recent freeze event in Texas and Oklahoma, Dylan became a resource for Storm Team Wilson during the weekly admin webinars. He noticed the high volume of questions that seemed to be heading towards the unmanageable levels and quickly jumped to action and started fielding questions so that the members of Storm Team Wilson could address the more complex or dynamic questions.  

– Brandon Johnson, general manager, SERVPRO of East Central Cincinnati

What Should a Business Do During a Thunderstorm?

5/19/2021 (Permalink)

Lightning bolt strike from a thunderstorm over a city Thunderstorm in Cincinnati, OH.

How Thunderstorms Can Affect Your Business

When a strong thunderstorm strikes Cincinnati, OH, there are some immediate steps you should take to protect life and property. A heavy rain storm can cause flash flooding and lightning is extremely dangerous; it can strike from miles away and hit anywhere – even inside.
The statistics for lightning hits in the U.S. are alarming:

  • Around 40 fatalities per year.
  • At least 9 times as many injuries.
  • A high rate of permanent disabilities.

Fortunately, there are proactive steps you can take to prevent injuries and reduce property damage. In some cases, you may be expected to take reasonable precautions; for instance, if a customer is injured by high winds or other storm damage on your property, you may be liable if you’re shown to be negligent.

When Should You Begin Preparations?
Right now! Make a list of steps to take to mitigate damage to your property. Start by taking care of trees outside; dead branches should be removed and live ones should be trimmed to be at least two feet away from the building.
Now is also a great time to look at your landscaping. During a rain storm, where does the water flow? If the rain is extremely heavy, will it collect in your building? With terracing and drainage planned, you can prevent all but the most extreme storms from flooding your business.
You should also make a READY profile with your local storm damage restoration experts. This will put all the info you need in a secure cloud account so you can access it with a free app.

How About During a Thunderstorm?
There’s always a risk of lightning during convective storms. However, some really stand out for their cloud-to-ground lightning strikes. When you see lots of lightning, you should move employees and customers away from windows and access a weather report either on television, the radio or your smartphone. If severe weather or a tornado is approaching, you need to get everyone to shelter immediately.
If you’re well prepared for a big rain storm, you should have no worries about flooding. Heavy lightning storms and severe weather should be considered an emergency, so being ready to act quickly could save lives.

3 Things You Should Know About Flood Water

5/4/2021 (Permalink)

Deep Flood Water in Residential Area Flood water in a residential area in Amberly Village, OH

Three Things To Remember About Flood Water

If your Amberly Village, OH, home has experienced water damage from a storm or flooding you may be wondering how to go about cleanup and repairs. However, there are a few things you should understand about the water in your home to help ensure that the restoration process is done correctly. Here are three things to remember about flood water.

1. It’s Categorized as Black Water

It’s important to note that any storm caused flooding is categorized as black water. It’s is due to the fact that it’s impossible to know where exactly this water has been, and there’s a risk it could have come in contact with sewage material. This means that there are a number of safety standards that should be met during the restoration process to ensure that your home isn’t contaminated by bacteria.

2. A Professional Should Be Called

When dealing with damage from storm flooding it’s important to follow safety procedures to avoid contamination. For this reason, it’s highly recommended to contact a local water damage restoration service to help with clean up and repairs. These professionals can not only remove the water and restore you home but can offer a variety of cleaning services as well to help ensure that any possible bacteria carried by the flood water are removed.

3. The Affected Area Will Need To Be Cleaned

Because Flood water is potentially contaminated, the affected area will need to be properly cleaned and sanitized. This is another thing a restoration service can help you with. It’s important to remember that any items in the flooded rooms will need to be cleaned as well.

It’s important to remember that storm flooding is classified as black water. This means that and water damage should be cleaned up by a professional restoration service to help ensure that the affected area is properly cleaned and sanitized. If you have any questions these professionals should be able to help.

Understanding Business Interruption Insurance

5/4/2021 (Permalink)

burned drywall, wooden structure burned, insulation burned Fire damage in Terrace Park, OH

A fire or other devastating weather-related has the potential to make a business in Terrace Park, OH, go under. For businesses with physical locations and assets, adding business interruption insurance can be a lifesaver. Along with helping to cover restoration costs by a fire cleaning and restoration professional, it provides financial relief needed to keep your business going even during unexpected downtime.

What Does It Cover?

If a business fire happens, the damage goes far beyond the physical environment. If you are forced to temporarily shut the doors, you still have bills to pay and other expenses that may not be able to be met with money not flowing in. A business interruption policy typical provides the following:

  • Reimbursement for revenue lost during shutdown, which usually is provided for up to a year.
  • Payroll costs to maintain your workforce.
  • Costs associated with rent or lease payments.
  • Funds to continue paying loans to avoid missed payments.
  • If temporarily relocating, it will aid with moving costs.
  • Money will be available for any tax obligations.

Filing a Claim
There are certain requirements that must be met to file a claim:

  • Income loss forces a suspension of business operations.
  • That loss is directly related to physical damages.
  • An income limit is required to be set.

There is also a period of restoration, which typically includes a 72-hour waiting period. That means income lost during those days will not be covered. This period ends once all repairs or completed or if the business moves to a new location. It’s also important to remember that there is a coverage limit, which will be dependent on how much coverage you get. If the damage is severe, there may be some out-of-pocket expenses.
A business has a lot of components that make it thrive. Adding business interruption provides peace of mind that even a massive physical loss can be weathered.