Understanding homeowners insurance
First-time homeowners are faced with many realities of being “an adult,” and one of the things that comes with owning a new home is making sure you have proper insurance. But not all insurances are the same.
Just because you have insurance on your home doesn’t mean you’re protected from everything that could happen. In fact, often with homeowner policies, there are some very common occurrences that might not be covered.
Homeowners insurance differs from state to state, so to avoid making costly assumptions, it’s important to understand what’s included with your policy.
Typically, a policy will cover the actual dwelling and some of the other structures on the property, such as a fence, garage, patio or driveway. Personal property is usually covered as well. This includes the contents inside the home, although you may need to pay a bit more in premiums for high-value items like jewelry or paintings. You’ll want to make sure this is covered in your policy.
Homeowners insurance policies typically include coverage for injuries sustained on your property where you are liable. So, if someone slips on your driveway or falls while doing repairs to the roof, you’re covered. However, this coverage is usually limited to a certain dollar value, so you need to know how much coverage you have and exactly what’s included.
Natural disasters are the one area that can cause some problems, as not everything is covered and you often have to buy separate flood, hurricane or earthquake insurance—especially if you are in an area that is highly susceptible to these disasters. You also may be able to lower premiums by better protecting yourself against damage, such as adding storm shutters, reinforcing your roof or buying stronger roofing materials.
If items are stolen from your vehicle while it sits on your property, that may or may not be covered by your insurance. Normally, this is covered by auto insurance but there are some homeowner policies that will include these items, so it’s good to know if yours will.
Many first-time buyers think they need insurance to cover the entire cost of the house, but the land under your house isn’t at risk from theft, windstorm, fire or other perils covered in your homeowners policy, so it’s not necessary to include these when deciding how much insurance you should buy. Talk with your REALTOR® and determine the best number so you have enough coverage but not too much, and that you’re not paying premiums for what you don’t need.
Effects of long term water damage
Water is so powerful that it can form mountains. But, when water is left sitting in your property it can become hazardous to your health. SERVPRO of Culpeper & Fauquier Counties restored a house where a basement leak left standing water in a home for 3 weeks untreated.
Standing water is a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and parasites that can be harmful to your health. While contaminated water poses a bigger health risk, bacteria will even grow in clean water. Mold can begin to grow and spread in as little as 48 hours.
In Warrenton, a home sustained a basement water intrusion that went undetected for 3 weeks while the homeowners were overseas. The homeowner contacted our office when he witnessed the amount of stagnant water as well as mold in the property. The complete basement and first level of the home, up to the ceiling, was covered in mold. Our team provided water extraction, drying, de-humidification, as well as mold mitigation. They use a variety of cleaning techniques to clean and sanitize your belongings.
SERVPRO of Culpeper & Fauquier Counties is highly qualified to handle stagnant water. Our team members are certified and well-trained in water damage and mold mitigation. When standing water is found in your property, remember the team that is faster to any sized disaster, SERVPRO of Culpeper & Fauquier Counties.
Commercial Mold Damage Tips to Remember After a Flood
If your home or commercial building recently flooded due to storm damage or some sort of plumbing issues, you're probably unsure of the next step. Not only are you worried about property damage from the water, but you also have to worry about mold in your home or business. Mold can affect indoor air quality, can cause significant property damage and can cause a foul smell that even the best deodorization techniques can't get rid of! Follow these tips if you're dealing with residential or commercial mold in Virginia!
Get Rid of Moisture
This is the very first step! Before the mold can be properly addressed, as much moisture as possible needs to be removed. If there is standing water, it can be dangerous to walk into your home or commercial property, so please make sure you can safely enter the building or structure.
You just never really know what can be floating around in standing water that can hurt you. For example, electrical wiring. You don't want to endure an electrical shock. Once you know you can safely enter, PROTECT YOURSELF by wearing protective clothing, such as gloves and a face mask.
Hire a Professional
The best thing you can do is leave it to the experts. Rely on a team of professionals to help get your home or business back in tip-top shape. Experts can come in and assess the true extent of the damage and help ensure all of the molds is properly remediated. We promise it could save you a lot of time, money and headaches in the future. Visit www.SERVPROculpeperfauquiercounties.com for more information on mold removal.
Join your community in preparing for emergencies and disasters of all types, and leading efforts to encourage the community as a whole to become more prepared. “Disasters happen” and not only devastate individuals and neighborhoods, but entire communities. Learn how to be prepared.
Make and Practice Your Plan
Do you have an evacuation and shelter-in-place plan? Do you have a plan to communicate with your family before, during and after an incident? Do you have an emergency supply kit? Make sure your family is informed and practiced in your emergency plan. Be sure to sign up for alerts and warnings for your area, and download other necessary apps to stay informed, such as the FEMA app.
Learn Life Saving Skills
Do you or someone in your family know CPR? Could you turn off your natural gas if necessary? Do you know how to take cover in an earthquake? Knowing these life saving skills could mean life or death in an emergency situation for you, your family or your neighbors.
What to do until help arrives:
A fire can leave behind soot, smoke damage and a host of other problems. Ceilings, walls, woodwork, carpeting, and floors will often need a thorough professional cleaning. If your home or business suffers a fire, it is important to take the appropriate steps to prevent further damage until your local SERVPRO of Culpeper & Fauquier Counties arrives. The following tips may help reduce damage and increase chances of a successful restoration.
-Limit movement in the home to prevent soot particles from being embedded into upholstery and carpet.
-Keep hands clean. Soot on hands can further soil upholstery, walls and woodwork. n Place dry, colorfast towels or old linens on rugs, upholstery and carpet traffic areas.
-If electricity is off, empty freezer/ refrigerator completely and prop doors open to help prevent odor.
-Wipe soot from chrome kitchen/ bathroom faucets, trim and appliances, then protect these surfaces with a light coating of lubricant.
-If heat is off during winter, pour RV antifreeze in sinks, toilet bowls, holding tanks and tubs to avoid freezing pipes and fixtures.
-Tape double layers of cheesecloth over air registers to stop particles of soot from getting in or out of the HVAC system.
American Red Cross Home Fire Campaign
Each year, the Red Cross responds to nearly 64,000 disasters, the vast majority of which are home fires. So we set a goal to reduce fire-related deaths and injuries in the US by 25%.
- 7 people die every day from a home fire, most impacting children and the elderly
- 36 people suffer injuries as a result of home fires every day
- Over $7 billion in property damage occurs every year
Every day, seven people die in home fires, most in homes that lack working smoke alarms. Sadly, children and the elderly disproportionately lose their lives. The American Red Cross wants to improve the odds and save lives- that’s why we launched our Home Fire Campaign in 2014.
A critical part of the campaign is Sound the Alarm, a series of home fire safety and smoke alarm installation events across the country. Together with fire departments and other community partners, Red Cross volunteers:
- Canvass at-risk neighborhoods
- Install free smoke alarms
- Replace batteries in existing alarms
- Provide fire prevention and safety education
In just three years, our home visits have accomplished so much, including the installation of more than 1 million smoke alarms and preparing more than 1 million people against home fires.
Join us April 28 through May 13 on a Sound the Alarm home visit in your community, where teams of volunteers will be installing 100,000 free smoke alarms in more than 100 cities across the U.S. Together, we can save lives!
Check out www.redcross.org/sound-the-alarm for more information and how to help in YOUR community!!
Be careful with the deep fryers
SERVPRO of Culpeper & Fauquier Counties recently took on the clean up and restoration of a fire damaged kitchen. What was the cause of the fire? None other than a deep fryer. Splattering oil caught a kitchen towel on fire. In a panic, the homeowner knocked over the deep fryer causing the fire to engulf the kitchen. Luckily, injuries were avoided and the fire was soon contained by the fire department.
SERVPRO of Culpeper & Fauquier Counties was able to restore the kitchen to it's former condition and a lesson was learned on the appropriate use of deep frying appliances.
Should you need fire restoration services at your home or business, contact SERVPRO of Culpeper & Fauquier Counties
Extended power outages may impact the whole community and the economy. A power outage is when the electrical power goes out unexpectedly. A power outage may:
Disrupt communications, water, and transportation.
Close retail businesses, grocery stores, gas stations, ATMs, banks, and other services.
Cause food spoilage and water contamination.
Prevent use of medical devices.
PROTECT YOURSELF DURING A POWER OUTAGE:
Keep freezers and refrigerators closed.
Only use generators outdoors and away from windows.
Do not use a gas stove to heat your home.
Disconnect appliances and electronics to avoid damage from electrical surges.
Have alternate plans for refrigerating medicines or using power-dependent medical devices.
If safe, go to an alternate location for heat or cooling.
Check on neighbors.
HOW TO STAY SAFE WHEN A POWER OUTAGE THREATENS:
- Take an inventory of the items you need that rely on electricity.
- Talk to your medical provider about a power outage plan for medical devices powered by electricity and refrigerated medicines. Find out how long medication can be stored at higher temperatures and get specific guidance for any medications that are critical for life.
- Plan for batteries and other alternatives to meet your needs when the power goes out.
- Sign up for local alerts and warning systems. Monitor weather reports.
- Install carbon monoxide detectors with battery backup in central locations on every level of your home.
- Determine whether your home phone will work in a power outage and how long battery backup will last.
- Review the supplies that are available in case of a power outage. Have flashlights with extra batteries for every household member. Have enough nonperishable food and water.
- Use a thermometer in the refrigerator and freezer so that you can know the temperature when the power is restored. Throw out food if the temperature is 40 degrees or higher.
- Keep mobile phones and other electric equipment charged and gas tanks full.
Time is money
When you need it done right and done fast, call SERVPRO of Culpeper & Fauquier Counties. Did you know when you hire us for maintenance cleaning, you get around-the-clock restoration services built with you in mind? Quality cleaning and quick response - that is the SERVPRO way.
Can't figure out how to get the job done? Call SERVPRO of Culpeper & Fauquier Counties for all your emergency restoration needs. When you experience a fire, water or mold damage in your home or facility, you need fast response and the expertise to get the job done right, ensuring you can get back into operation as quickly as possible. Through it all, you expect the most reliable information and the very best service at a fair price.
Frozen Pipes Can Burst!
It has been colder here lately in the Warrenton, VA area! When cold temperatures happen that can cause pipes to freeze. Frozen Pipes can result in costly repairs to you as a home or business owner. The good news is there are ways to prevent pipes from freezing. Here are some tips for this winter.Frozen pipes are a problem by themselves because they prevent water flow, but even worse, frozen pipes can eventually burst, causing damage and potential flooding. There are ways to protect your pipes from freezing. These include:
- Keeping your house warm - If you are leaving for a period of time, make sure that the heat is kept on at your property. You should inform them that the heat can help prevent pipes from freezing, and if pipes freeze and burst, it can cause a lot of water damage to the property and to their possessions. The heat doesn’t have to be kept as high as you normally would keep it if you were home but keeping it set above 50 degrees Fahrenheit at all times is a good idea. This should provide enough heat to keep the pipes warm and to prevent any water inside from freezing.
- Opening faucets - When temps hit the freezing level it is a good idea to allow faucets to drip. Allowing the faucet to be open like this will relieve pressure in the pipe. If a pipe freezes, it is actually the pressure that is created between the blockage and the faucet that will cause the pipe to burst. With the faucet open you avoid blockage in the pipes.
- Insulation is key - Pipes can be fitted with foam rubber or fiberglass sleeves to help decrease the chances of freezing. This can be an easy solution for pipes that are exposed but can get expensive if walls, floors or ceilings have to be opened in order to properly insulate the pipe. Additional insulation can also be added to walls and ceilings to keep the pipes warm.