The Decision to File an Insurance Claim
SERVPRO - Coeur d' Alene has encountered many types and sizes of water losses. The first step in the process of experiencing a water loss in your home is to ensure all family and guests are safe and their location is established.
The next step in the process is to turn-off the source of the water intrusion into the home, if possible. Always know the location of the main water line shut-off valve. If the water is coming from a toilet, sink, and other water lines they may have a separate shut-off valve for that specific water appliance. If possible, one person may call SERVPRO - CDA while another person is shutting appropriate water valves.
It is appropriate that the homeowner inform their insurance company of the event. However, prior to the actual submission of a formal claim to your insurance company, review your insurance policy and find out the amount of your deductible for the water loss. Next, ask SERVPRO - Coeur d Alene to provide you with an estimate for the mitigation of the water loss. Next, request a couple of estimates to repair the damage to your home due to the water damage.
This information is important for the homeowner to determine as soon as possible. If your water loss deductible is $1,500.00, and your water mitigation/repair costs total $1,800.00, be sure and review this information with your insurance agent. Ask your agent to help you understand if this water loss will result in higher insurance premiums in the future. Ask how much, if any, your home insurance premium will rise.
On the other hand, if your water loss/repairs are $30,000.00 you will more than likely be encouraged to file an insurance claim. Your insurance agent most likely will be of great service in helping you make loss decisions.
When To Report a Water/Fire Loss to Your Home
Many SERVPRO - Coeur d Alene customers had never been through a water and/or other losses to their home. This is very useful information should you ever find yourself in the middle of a water loss and/or other similar loss to your home. I’ve personally heard many of our first-time customers state something like; (1) “I never thought this would ever happen to me”; (2) “I have no idea what is the next step”; (3) “How does all of this work?”; (4) “Can you help me through each step?”
SERVPRO – Coeur d Alene has gone through these scenarios hundreds of times. SERVPRO – Coeur d Alene water mitigation personnel have all gone through training and/or been mentored on the effects of any size loss our customer experiences. SERVPRO – Coeur d Alene technicians know that the first couple of hours after a water/fire loss are critical. We specialize in not only putting our customer at ease but also demonstrating the skills necessary to promptly start mitigating the loss.
Time is always one of the most determining factors there is when considering the final restoration. Waiting too long to report any loss may result in numerous problems. 1) Your insurance may question your claim that occurred previous to your filing a claim; 2) The damage to your home may increase as a result of waiting to mitigate the loss (example: Mold begins growing within 48 hours of a water loss). 3) Any water loss effecting carpet, vinyl, and wood flooring can increase damage due to moisture that enters the sub-flooring. 4) Damage to your homes contents may also increase due to a delayed notification.
SERVPRO – Coeur d Alene will post another blog soon that will address the common question of “When Do I Call My Insurance Company?” The next blog will address the factors to consider when determining if you want to file a Loss Claim to your insurance company.
Water Mitigation Requires Understanding the Science of Drying – Part 1
SERVPRO – Coeur d’ Alene have Technicians who have been certified to properly remove moisture from a home that has sustained water damage. Fully understanding the drying process results in ensuring the proper amount of time required for water mitigation. If the process does not follow Industry Standards (IICRC) it is likely to take much longer to adequately mitigate the moisture in your home. Extra time drying means extra costs. SERVPRO – Coeur d’ Alene is committed to conducting our work in accordance with the Industry Standard referenced above.
Is it really that complex to follow Industry Standards? It is if you have not been trained.
It may seem, to the untrained eye, like we just randomly place air movers and dehumidifiers throughout the home. However, there are calculations to be made to ensure proper drying times.
For example, consider two (2) separate rooms that have the same square feet of flooring. One (1) has a ten (10) foot ceiling and the other has a seven (7) foot ceiling. It would take more drying equipment to dry the room with higher ceilings than the room with lower ceilings. The reason is the cubic feet of air volume in the lower ceiling is much smaller than the air volume with the higher ceiling. The cubic feet of air volume for a twenty (20) foot by twenty (20) foot room with the lower ceiling is 2,800 cubic feet. The cubic feet for the room with higher ceilings is 4,000 cubic feet. That is a 30% increase in cubic feet of air volume in the higher ceiling than the lower ceiling.
The cost for installing a new hardwood floor is approximately $18.00-$20.00 per square foot. To replace 1,000 square feet of hardwood flooring could cost up to $18,000.00. That is one good reason for being very attentive to any potential water leaks onto your hardwood floor.
There are many other factors to consider when planning the configuration of our drying strategy. SERVPRO – Coeur d’ Alene will address the additional factors to consider in an upcoming blog.
Saving Hardwood Floors From Water Damage
If you are experiencing a water loss to your home call SERVPRO Coeur d’ Alene for a rapid response to your emergency. Your primary enemy during a water loss is “time.” This is especially true if you have hardwood floors.
The longer the hardwood floor is exposed to water the less chance there is to successfully restore your hardwood flooring. In addition, mold can begin to grow within 48 hours adding another challenge.
The longer the hardwood flooring is subjected to standing water the greater the chances of damage to the sub-flooring (the structure beneath the actual hardwood floor). The sub-flooring is integral to your floor structure. If the sub-flooring is damaged it must be repaired to ensure the integrity of your floor structure.
SERVPRO Coeur d’ Alene has special equipment for hardwood flooring. SERVPRO’S Hardwood Floor Drying System is designed especially for drying hardwood floors. This system is designed to use suction to extract the moisture from the hardwood floor. It typically takes between 3 to 4 days to dry depending upon how much moisture the hardwood floor is retaining. However, in cases where the moisture has been in the hardwood floor for an extended period the time to dry may take longer.
The cost to install a new hardwood floor is approximately $18.00/sf. The price may vary as there are many factors to consider when installing a new hardwood floor.
Remember: The faster you call SERVPRO – Coeur d’ Alene the better the chances are your hardwood flooring can be restored.
Call SERVPRO - Coeur d' Alene When Disaster Strikes
SERVPRO Coeur d Alene will respond promptly to your emergency. SERVPRO Coeur d Alene is available 24 hours/Day.
Many of our satisfied customers have experienced world class quality service with SERVPRO Coeur d' Alene. Our Team constantly prepares for ways to improve our quality of service. World class quality service does not typically "just happen." Our Team consists of members who intentionally seek to exceed our customer’s expectations.
SERVPRO Coeur d' Alene employees know many of our customers have never experienced a flood or fire. Our customers reactions to a flood and/or fire vary greatly. We treat every customer with courtesy, respect, and respect for their home. It is SERVPRO - Coeur d Alene's responsibility to listen carefully to our customer’s specific preferences and conduct our work in accordance with those preferences.
Our employees are trained to provide our customers with a brief overview of the clean-up process and the corresponding timeline. Customers have shared their appreciation to SERVPRO – Coeur d’ Alene for ensuring our customer have a good understanding of all of the steps of the process.
Recently, we responded to a flooded home. It was clear one (1) customer was angry with the events leading up to the flooding. The customer had much anxiety. SERVPRO - Coeur d' Alene responded with sincere words such as, "we are very sorry you are having to go through this experience" and, “we will do our best to ensure they were able to attend an event later that evening.” SERVPRO – Coeur d’ Alene employees worked hard and assisted our customer in any we could to expedite the process.
Our SERVPRO employees discovered some options that would allow for a more rapid removal of the water. It worked! Within 3 1/2 hours of the initial notice the home was well on its way to drying. The tension was relieved and the family was overjoyed with our prompt and efficient service.
Few things at work are better than being a part of a successful project and having an elated customer.
Little-Known Problem with Water Spigots
How can a outside water spigot that is designed to be "frost-free" freeze during the winter?
SERVPRO - Coeur d' Alene has served many customers who did not know that a little outdoor water spigot can cause so much damage in the interior of their home. SERVPRO - Coeur d' Alene has responded to many "frost-free" water spigot failures.
To make matters worse a homeowner rarely discovers the broken water spigot until they wash their car for the first time in the spring. Some have set-up their water spigot attached sprinklers to run in mid-spring and then leave the home for a few hours. They often arrive home to find that there is a foot of water in their basement.
If installed properly and the homeowner removes the hose from the water spigot there is little chance that the water spigot will fail. While most homeowners remove the hose from the water spigot for the winter season most do not know how a "frost-free" water spigot is to be installed or maintained.
The "frost-free" water spigot is designed to have a long valve stem so that the water spigot valve is typically located in an inconspicuous location in the home. This keeps the water spigot valve from freezing.
There are some climates that will allow the placement of the water spigot valve in the crawl space of the home. Remember! During the winter months the homes crawl space will be close to the outside temperature. This was the case in the Coeur d' Alene area during last winter.
A plumber can determine if your water spigots need to be updated. This will be relatively inexpensive compared to after the fact water mitigation costs that can reach the $10,000.00 range.
Please remember that if your water spigots were improperly installed it could impact your insurance claim for the water loss.
Prompt Reporting of Water Damage
Over the years SERVPRO of Coeur d' Alene, ID has responded to reports of water damage between 2 to 3 weeks after the water damaged occurred.
Postponing water damage mitigation can lead to additional damage. For example, if carpet is not promptly dried the carpet can become brittle and delaminate the carpet. Postponing the prompt drying of all water can lead to removing much more drywall. If water is not promptly removed and dried the water can wick up the walls and lead to the removal of much more drywall.
If you report water damage quickly there is a much better chance of reducing water damage mitigation costs. Reporting water damage promptly will also prevent the chance of mold to grow.
Remember! Report Water Damage as soon as possible to SERVPRO - Coeur d' Alene. Our customers in the Coeur d' Alene area have rated our Customer Service to be excellent!
Just last week SERVPRO of Coeur d"Alene received a call from Mrs. homeowner who had a dishwasher malfunction on the main level. She was told to by her insurance provider to call us to inspect the damage. The water proceeded to obey the laws of gravity and went into the basement below affecting the drywall ceiling and a small amount of flooring. She had laminate flooring in the kitchen on the main level. SERVPRO arranged to come by after 5:00 PM when she was home from work. Enter Mr. homeowner on stage left. The following conversation followed the lines of "well I don't really see that much damage," and "I don"t want to pay a deductible". SERVPRO stressed that our visit, even on after hours time, was FREE of charge. In the end, SERVPRO was not allowed to look at the loss. So what next? It is a fact that before the sub floor under the laminate in the kitchen dries, there will be mold growth. It is highly likely that there will be mold growth on the back side of the ceiling drywall in the basement and walls behind the main level kitchen cabinets before it dries. At this point, any material removed by a mitigation company would result in full replacement. If we had to pull any laminate flooring in the kitchen, all the corresponding laminate in the kitchen/dining room, and living room would be replaced to match. Any drywall removal would result in new drywall, texture, and painting of all the affected area. All affected materials left in place would be dried to eliminate the chance for mold growth. So, two weeks down the road, maybe something starts to smell. If SERVPRO is called back, the loss then is considered not sudden and catastrophic as the homeowners decided not to take action. There is a very high probability of absolutely no coverage at all at this point and the homeowner is stuck with paying out of pocket, or permanent home damage. In addition, SERVPRO documents the drying process, keeps all photos and drying logs in a file, and leaves the homeowner with drying documentation. Now, when the home is sold and water damage has to be disclosed, the potential buyers can see it was handled professionally and the sale can proceed. Remember, free is free, let SERVPRO at least help you determine your best options.
What is dry?
It is amazing how many people become "drying experts" when a water loss happens. Contractors will tell a water mitigation company what is wet and dry, home owners will let a mitigation company know that there is no water in this room, and commercial building owners afraid to infringe on a tenant will inform the mitigation company that the water definitely did not affect the space on the other side of the wet wall. Fortunately, mitigation companies like SERVPRO have a variety of gauges and tools at their disposal. As a SERVPRO owner, I have had employees tell me "that looks dry", or this "seemed to be dry." There is no "looks' or "seems" when it comes to being dry. Dry is dry. Now, the actual dry standard may be different in various places of the home, say like a basement vs. an upstairs area, but dry is still dry.
"Mrs. Smith, would you please allow me to check the closet on the other side of this wall just in case?". This scenario happens quite a bit and it is amazing how many times a homeowner is shocked as to how far the water ran. Failure to be thorough in the initial investigation can result in many long term issues.
A healthy sense of curiosity needs to be in every water mitigation person. Permission to find the "edge" of the water migration needs to be given to mitigation team. It is not a matter of making the job bigger than it is, it is protecting the property owner and mitigation company from future issues.
SERVPRO personnel will have multiple tools including invasive and non-invasive meters, hydro-sensors, hygrometers, and FLIR cameras to help determine the extent of the loss and monitor the progress of drying to get the property back to "dry". Just remember, "dry" can be proved, don't leave it up to chance.
A few years back SERVPRO of Coeur d'Alene was called out to a fire here in town. Upon our arrival, we discovered that the fire started in the garage and burned up into the master bathroom, master closet, and master bedroom. Gone also were two Cadillacs and everything in the garage. There was extensive smoke damage throughout the home. The husband was in the room by the garage entry door watching TV when he heard crackling noises. Upon discovering the source of the noised, he proceed to wake up his wife and they both exited safely.
The fire investigation revealed that the home owner had a refrigerator in the garage. Since it was to far away from the outlet, the homeowner proceeded to find one of those small two wire extension cords that one would use to power Christmas lights or a small lamp. The cord was to long, so the homeowner rolled it into a neat bundle an put a twist tie on it. Over time as the cord heated up, the wire from the twist tie melted into the cord insulation and well, the rest is history. Fortunately, insurance usually covers those kind of honest mistakes.
It was fortunate that the homeowners were home to discover the fire. SERVPRO was able to clean and restore most of their contents, as well as some valuable Native American artifacts. Remember to always use proper grounded and sized cords for plugging in appliances. When in doubt, bigger gauge wire is always better.