Educational Corner

The Insurance F-Bomb: Flood

  • 02/15/2021
  • 6:24:38

“My house is flooded,” seems like a logical thing to yell frantically through the phone to your insurance agent as water is pouring from the pipe under your sink and spilling across the floor of your kitchen.  Clearly, your kitchen is flooding.  Or is it?  The fact is, “flood” is an extremely specific insurance term and can dictate whether the water damage in your home will be covered by your policy or not. 

Flood Definition

Flood is the F word of the insurance world.  The definition of flooding in a home as it pertains to insurance coverage is very specific and dependent on the source of the water and how it entered the home.  The act of flooding is when water outside the home flows across the top of the ground and into the home through an opening such as a door or window.  Water coming from below the surface of the ground is not considered flood water.  If that water enters the home, it’s considered a backup or seepage (which also have their own technicalities as far as insurance is concerned).  If the water is flood water, the loss is automatically considered a category 3 loss.  This means that the water is considered contaminated.  If the water is from seepage or the sump pump or a drain not connected to the sewer line, it’s considered a category 2 loss, which means that it’s not sanitary but not considered dangerous.  When you experience water intrusion on your property, it’s important to be specific and accurate when telling your insurance agent and adjuster the source of the water to ensure your damage is properly covered.  The last thing you’ll want to deal with when you’ve had water damage is your insurance telling you that you don’t have coverage for the damage because you didn’t use the correct verbiage.

Flood Coverage

Flooding can occur anywhere, and it is the number one natural disaster in the United States.  While most water damage is covered, true flood damage is not covered under a standard insurance policy.  In order for your insurance to cover damage caused by a flood, you’ll need to purchase a specific flood policy.  As a matter of fact, federally backed mortgages in high-risk areas require flood coverage.  Lenders can even require flood coverage if you’re in a moderate to low-risk area if they want.  If you experience damage due to flooding and do not have this coverage, you’ll be on the hook to pay for all the damages out of pocket.  A little water can cause a lot of damage in a short amount of time, so this can very quickly become a massive cost because a flooding event rarely means a little water.  Even if you don’t have a federally backed loan, paying for flood coverage in a high-risk area is imperative.  While it will obviously cost more in insurance premiums, it will be beyond worth the cost if you ever experience flood damage to your home. 

Understanding the definition of flooding according to insurance standards and having the proper flood coverage on your home or business can save you time, money, and heartache when dealing with water damages both from flooding and other sources.  Stay informed and educated on your policies, so you know you’re getting the exact coverage you need.  Better yet, a professional restoration company might be the wisest "first call" because they are experienced in assessing the cause of water damage. A considerable part of their job is to know how to advocate on your behalf to an insurance company.

How to Choose a Restoration Professional

  • 01/15/2021
  • 4:18:34

When you purchase a home, the last thing on your mind is all of the different damage types that it can incur.  When water enters a home, whether from weather, burst pipes, or broken appliances the damage is often extensive and overwhelming.  Water damage left unaddressed can cause a complete loss to your structure and contents.  Fire damages, even small ones, can cause devastating damage.  Mold in a home is unsightly, damaging to the structures, and a health concern.  No matter the damage to your home, calling a professional restoration company is imperative to getting the home back to its pre-loss condition.  But how do you decide who to call?  There are several different things to consider when choosing a restoration company to handle the damage to your home. 

Certification

The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification, or IICRC, is the non-profit certifying and standard-setting body for the restoration and cleaning industry.  The IICRC maintains strict standards for member companies and their employees in regards to on-going training in order to re-certify year by year. For water damage restoration, the "Water Restoration Technician" certification is obviously required, but other certifications are helpful as well, like Applied Microbial Remediation and Applied Structural Drying.   

Insurance Compatible

Any restoration company worth its salt will be able to work directly with your insurance.  If the company you’re interviewing says otherwise, that should set up red flags.  The project manager for your job will be able to work directly with your insurance adjuster to streamline the restoration process for you, and excellent managers will help ensure that you’re getting the industry standard of care within the confines of your insurance limitations.  Communicating directly with your insurance adjuster allows your restoration team to expedite the process and get your job done as quickly as possible. 

Reputation and Business Rating

When researching restoration companies, ask around and look at online reviews.  A restoration company that’s been around for a while should have good online reviews for a variety of the services they offer.  Even if they have a few negative reviews, take time to read the company's response. How a bad review is handled shows a lot about the attitude and professionalism of the company. Additionally, word of mouth is a big deal in the restoration industry.  Whether a company did a good job or a bad job, someone is likely to tell you all about it if you ask.  In addition to online reviews and an overall good reputation, the company should be in good standing with the Better Business Bureau. 

Response Time

A good restoration professional understands that time is of the essence when dealing with water or fire damage.  Because of this, most restoration companies offer 24/7 emergency service and are committed to quick response times.  If a company is taking too long to respond, barring extenuating circumstances like an overload of calls during a bad storm, they aren’t showing professionalism or consideration for the emergency at hand.  Even in overloaded situations, many companies will create a waitlist and even offer the number of other reputable companies to ensure your emergency is addressed as quickly as possible. 

Damage to your home can be exceedingly stressful to deal with, but knowing what to look for in a restoration company can take a lot of the guesswork out of it.  The right company will be able to calmly and professionally guide you through the entire process leaving you with peace of mind you didn’t think was possible in a crisis.

Preparing For Possible Winter Damage

  • 10/16/2020
  • 12:55:02

Whether you’re a massive Game of Thrones fan or you’ve never heard the name Stark in your life, one thing is certain: winter is coming.  With colder weather comes increased chances of fire and water damages from various sources.  The last thing you want to do is be caught unprepared.  Fortunately, there are a few, simple things you can do to help prevent and prepare for any possible damages.

  • Before the negative temperatures hit, take the time to clean your air ducts, furnaces, and fireplaces to prevent any fire, soot, and smoke damage.
  • Take a minute to check all of your plumbing to ensure it’s not currently leaking and that your pipes are good to go for the subzero temperatures that are on their way.
  • Pull out the paperwork and glance over your insurance policy so you know what coverage you have and who you should contact if damage does occur.  Update your policy if you need to.
  • Take a general inventory and/or pictures of your property to help streamline the process if damage occurs.

Cold weather has an unfortunate propensity for causing damage to the home.  Scott and the restoration crew at Master Clean is on standby all winter long to help if a fire or water damage strikes your home this winter.  Keep our number close by and call us for 24/7 emergency service all year long.