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It is often rightly said that one of the trickiest parts of property insurance claims is the contents portion of the claims. Even if you, the insured, save receipts to prove the age and cost of your personal property, those receipts are probably stored in the same general place as your personal property and thus will suffer the same fate in the event of a catastrophe. This should not be. Plan ahead. Store all pertinent receipts of your valuables in a fire proof safe.
Additionally, policy holders are often left to estimate the age and costs of your personal property. This leads to a great deal of disagreement and possible litigation between policyholders and their insurance carrier. The bottom line is this: When presenting a claim for contents damage or theft, it is absolutely imperative that the claim be accurate and verifiable. And it is far better to leave questionable items OUT of a claim than to face an allegation of fraud. Be honest, thorough, detailed, and forthright.
If the damage to your home is not properly mitigated with approved industry standard techniques and practices, additional property damage and subsequent charges could result from this neglect. Individuals who are not properly certified to repair your home simply lack the necessary skills that are needed to do what’s right. It’s easy to overlook the small details, but quite costly.
It’s really that simple. If you call on us, you won’t have this problem. Along with providing a complete turn-key service from start to finish, we also offer professional advice and guidance all along the way. It is our goal to not only engage you with the highest level of professionalism but also to handle your job requirements with the utmost care and attention to detail. Call us now at 770-591-7083. Or if it’s an after-hours emergency call 1-888-YOUR-911, which is our 24/7 hotline.
There are unexpected effects of smoke damage after any size fire, and this is the main reason that a professional technician needs to identify the affected areas immediately. Our trained and experienced experts know that just because an area of your property was not touched by the fire, it can still have long-term problems from the smoke if it’s not treated properly.
Our work has only just begun. You will find that sifting through the aftermath of a fire is a difficult, time-consuming, and personally daunting ordeal. What makes this particularly challenging is that it is often quite difficult to determine what is salvageable and what is not. There are, of course, limitations on what you can and should do, and it is proper to receive professional guidance through this process.
Smoke and soot damage takes a toll. It damages not just your contents, but also the structure as well. Keeping in mind the fact that there is never an unlimited amount of insurance money to work with, you want to be thoughtful in how it is spent. Once again, this is where professional, personalized guidance is quite valuable. We can help you in every aspect of your loss, just ask.
Did you know that over 60 million mold spores can be found in an area the size of a postage stamp? Don’t worry, as a General Contractor well versed with the importance of mold removal, we can always call in our Indoor Environmental Hygienist specialists if the need presents itself. We can also have mold samples tested to determine the exact nature of the fungi.
If you experience fire, smoke, or water damage of any kind (no matter if big or small), you need someone to offer you a balanced perspective on the rebuild process. This is what we try and offer, a different set of eyes. Do not expect the Preferred Contractor that accompanies your Insurance Adjuster to have your highest and best interests in mind. You need someone on your side. Sometimes having someone in your home court gives you the win.
As far as the Insurance Company’s Preferred Contractor versus us, we will most likely never agree on the value of reconstruction costs or the inherent danger in allowing Insurance Companies a monopoly on restoration construction through managed repair, direct repair, right to repair, and preferred vendors.
Well what does all this mean to you the Homeowner? It means everything. It can make all the difference in the world. There is much we CAN do for you. So try us out. It’s a new day. And we are ready to do whatever we can that is right, fair, and advantageous for you the Homeowner.
Most people do not realize that not every natural disaster is covered by your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy. The typical Homeowner’s Insurance Policy offers coverage for fires, lightning strikes, windstorms, and hail. Earthquakes and flooding are not typically covered.
As a Homeowner, you should discuss your options with your Insurance Agent. If you want to purchase earthquake or flood insurance and your Policy does not provide the coverage you need, you can inquire about a separate insurance policy that will cover your home and belongings.
It’s important to know that your Homeowners Insurance Policy doesn’t just cover damage to your house (or dwelling) and other structures, but typically it also provides coverage for the personal belongings you have within it. Keep in mind that it’s your responsibility to maintain a track record of the monetary value associated with all your belongings. And don’t wait until AFTER the fact to start good record-keeping.
Don’t panic, this doesn’t mean you have to make a list of every single item you own per sey, but it’s a great idea to create a home inventory, giving particular attention to items of high monetary or personal value. You should be prepared to report to your insurance agent the approximate value of any expensive belongings, jewelry, or valuable artwork (for example) that you own. Depending on the value of those particular belongings, your insurance premiums may rise or fall, but at least you WILL have coverage available to you if this property gets stolen, damaged, or lost. And starting a Home Inventory Worksheet is really easy (many blank forms available online for free) and can even be as simple as a spreadsheet.
- 80% of fire and smoke fatalities occur in homes without working smoke detectors. One of the most important things you can do is to make sure that smoke detectors are placed near bedrooms on every level and at the top of every stairway. This alone will reduce the chance of you becoming a fire victim by 50%.
- Test your smoke detectors’ batteries regularly and never, ever borrow one of their batteries.
- Have both a primary and a secondary escape plan predetermined from each room. Have a predetermined place outside for all family members to meet if there is a fire. People have died trying to rescue someone who had already safely escaped.
- Rehearse both escape plans regularly, especially with smaller children. Why not rehearse your plans in the presence of your children’s friends and cousins? Encourage their friends and cousins to initiate fire safety techniques in their homes too. Fire safety is a great topic for a child’s school report.
- Escape doors, hallways, and windows must be clear of obstructions and easy to open.
- If fire or smoke is noticed, all members must vacate the house immediately. Call for help from a neighbor’s house or use a portable or cellular phone outside. Many fatalities have occurred because of the delay to immediately evacuate in order to call 911. Fire produces poisonous gases which can make you quickly impaired. ONCE YOU ARE OUT, STAY OUT!
- Obviously, upstairs bedrooms should have rope ladders, and the windows must be easy to open (including the storm window).
- If a basement is used for sleeping or recreation, an over-sized knock-out window should be installed.
- It is wise not to use extension cords, but if absolutely necessary, make sure they are UL approved and heavy duty.
- Never used frayed or cracked electrical cords.
- Never put a cord under rugs, over nails, or in high-traffic areas.
- Never overload electrical outlets or extension cords.
- Make sure all fuses in the fuse box are the correct size. Please don’t use jumpers.
- Make sure all electrical outlets and switches have cover plates and no exposed wiring.
- If a space heater is ever used, make sure the cord does not get hot (a sign of a possible overload).
- If a space heater must be used, make sure it is in a location where it cannot be knocked over and is a safe distance away from curtains, bedding, furniture, and anything else which it can easily ignite. Some fires even occur when someone dries wet towels or socks by hanging them over the space heater. It is dangerous to use an extension cord for a space heater.
- Many fires occur in the kitchen around the stove. Do not put small pans on large burners or large pans on small burners. Do not use dish towels as pot holders, and always turn pot handles away from the front of the stove. People that cook with baggy clothes often find them ignited by brushing against the hot burner.
- Try not to store anything over the stove. Many people get burned reaching, and again, loose fitting garments can catch fire.
- Flammable materials should not be stored inside your home, but if they are, they should be stored in a cool, isolated place, preferably in a heavy-duty metal cabinet. Fumes from flammable materials are often ignited by pilot lights or the lighting of a cigarette.
- If smoking is allowed in the house, use large ash trays. If guests are over, make sure they have large ash trays available. Always soak cigarette butts before discarding them.
- Consider designating a specific area in a house where smoking can take place. It is very easy for the smoker who is a little careless to cause a fire. Sometimes they need to be watched. Animals can also knock over ash trays onto sofas and other ignitable items.
- Allow plenty of air space around the TV and stereo to prevent overheating.
- Keep lighters and matches away from small children. Children are naturally curious of fire, and in many cities, over 50% of all fires are caused by young children. They are easily tempted to play with matches and lighters. Even worse is when they start a fire and often get scared. Then instead of yelling for help, they run and hide underneath a bed or in a closet.
- If you have a fire place, be sure to use a metal screen.
- Have your chimney checked and cleaned regularly. Look for birds’ nests also.
- Never smoke in bed. Hundreds of people die every year because they fall asleep with a cigarette in bed, on the sofa, or in a chair.
- If a fuse blows, find the cause.
- Don’t store things close to your furnace or hot water heater.
- Because it is so important, we repeat it again. If a fire occurs, GET OUT IMMEDIATELY! Don’t try to grab your possessions. Don’t call 911 from your house unless everyone is out and you can call from an exterior doorway. It is best to go to the nearest neighbor’s house to call.
- If your clothes catch fire, don’t run! Stop where you are, cover your face with your hands, drop to the ground, and roll over to smother the flames. This is called “stop, drop, and roll.”
- Do not use butter or margarine on a minor burn. Cool water is better. Obviously though, any large or deep burn must have medical attention immediately.
- Smoke inhalation claims more lives than the fire or heat. When evacuating a burning building, try to avoid smoky ways out. If you have no choice, get down and crawl as low as you can to find the best remaining air as you escape. The smoke and toxic gases will rise leaving any good air low to the floor.
- If the fire occurs in the same room you are in, try to close the door behind you on your way out. Also close all other doors behind you. This will give it less oxygen and delay the fire’s spreading.
- If you believe there’s a fire but don’t know where it is, before opening a closed door, use the back of your hand to touch it. Don’t open it if it feels warm. Not only will smoke instantly fill the room you are in, but by supplying the fire with a whole room of oxygen, the sudden back draft of flames may consume you almost instantly. Even if it doesn’t feel warm, open it very slowly with your shoulder against it. If any smoke or heat comes in, slam it shut and use your alternate escape route.
- If you find that your exit is cut off by the fire, it won’t be easy, but try to remain calm. Try to conserve your energy to help yourself survive. Close the door nearest to the fire, and if available, use towels or sheets to block any smoke and toxic gases. This will help keep smoke from spreading into the room. If the room becomes smoky, get down to the floor level. It’s easier to breathe because the smoke will rise upward. Go to the window if you are on an upper floor, open the window, and if you do not have your rope ladder, try to attract the attention of others who can alert the fire department. If you are in immediate danger, you will have no choice but to jump. If available, drop cushions or bedding or any other soft items to the ground to break your fall. Then, crawl out of the window feet first and lower yourself to the full length of your arms before dropping.
- Print a copy of this list and refer to it regularly. Why not print a couple for your friends and relatives?
- Candles are very, very dangerous. They are often forgotten and can easily be tipped over by children or pets.
- Curling irons cause many fires. They are placed on surfaces that are easily ignited and/or are not turned off before leaving the room. Many models have an automatic turn off feature which is highly recommended for your safety’s sake.
- Never leave oily rags lying around. Those with linseed oil are the most dangerous. Store them in sealed cans only.
- Consider a sprinkler system, especially if a family member would not be able to escape unassisted.
- Make sure everyone can clearly hear the sound of your smoke detectors from their bedrooms.
- Once again…test and maintain your smoke detectors as if your life depends on them. IT DOES!
- Remember, 4000 people die every year from fire or smoke inhalation, and 20,000 are injured. Fires can start so easily, and it only takes an unguarded or careless moment to start one. A fire loss is a devastating experience, even when all family members and occupants escape without injury. Should you, a friend, or relative sustain a fire loss, do not hesitate to contact us our office at 770-591-7083, or if it’s an emergency call 911 first, then call our emergency construction services hotline at 1-888-YOUR-911 (888-968-7911).