If your home has suffered water damage, you might be worried about how to pay for repairs. Many people rely on their insurance company to pay for repairs. While making an insurance claim can be difficult, there are several things you can do to make it easier. Here are several steps to take when filing an insurance claim for water damage to your property.
Document all damage to your property
The most important thing you can do when suffering water damage is to document what’s broken as soon as you can. This type of documentation can be difficult and time consuming, but it’s necessary for reimbursement.
It’s important to be as detailed as possible. This means documenting the damage as much as you can. You should take photos and video of all the damage along with writing down any notes. Take more photos and notes than you think is necessary. Take photos before any repairs are started and save samples of destroyed materials.
Get an estimate for repairs. This provides more information that your insurance company can use when evaluating your claim. Also, save all written estimates, receipts for all payments made, and any other documents you think might be relevant to your claim.
Also, make sure you check what documentation is done by your restoration company. They may take photos or do testing as part of their repair services. Their documentation may save you time or provide you with additional evidence you can present to your insurance company.
Document all damage to personal property
In addition to documenting damages to your property, you need to document all damaged personal items. Make an itemized list of all damaged items. Record any make, model, and serial numbers. Figure out the cost to replace the item along with the actual cash value of the item. Take photos of all items and write a description of the damage to each item.
Start the claims process
You should start the claims process as soon as possible. Before you begin, check to see what your insurance covers. Your insurance may cover damage from burst pipes, but not flood damage. Before you call, you should know what part of your insurance policy you can use to claim reimbursement.
Have your policy number ready and be ready to answer any questions. Also, have a pen and paper nearby to take any notes and document the insurance company’s response.
During your first call, find out the next steps from your insurance company. Often times, the insurance company will describe the claims process and tell you what further responsibilities you have. Make sure to ask any questions you have at this time.
You should get information on who will be handling your claim. You may get a name right away, or they may take a day or two to assign someone to handle it. Before you hang up, make sure you know who to contact if anything else comes up.
Follow up on the claim
Once you have filed a claim, make sure to follow up with the insurance company. If they request more information, make sure to provide it as soon as possible. If the company sends an adjuster to inspect the damage, make sure to be present during the inspection. Being available for the inspection allows you to point out all the damage and answer any questions.
You will get an initial estimate from the insurance company. This estimate may change during the process. If your claim has not been fully settled within 45 days, make sure to ask a written explanation why it is still ongoing.
If your claim is rejected, your insurance company is required to give you the reason in writing. If you are not satisfied with the insurance company’s decision, you may need to file an appeal.
Contact us if you need help repairing water damage
Dealing with water damage is a difficult process for everyone. If your home has suffered water damage, contact us today. We can help get your house back to normal while guiding you through the process.
If your home or office kitchen has suffered from a recent fire, the first step to returning to normal is cleaning up the fire and smoke damage. If your kitchen is still mostly in good condition except for the smell and the soot stains, you’re in luck. It is possible to restore your kitchen completely if you know how to clean away the soot. Of course, soot takes more than just a soapy sponge and elbow grease to get rid of. You’ll need a few specific techniques.
Today, we’re here to share a comprehensive step-by-step guide to repair the fire and smoke damage in your kitchen and restore it to a cheerful, functional, and safe place for cooking.
- Box Fans
- Protective Gear
- Rubber Gloves and Long Sleeves
- Mask and Hair Coverings
- Close-Toed Shoes and Long Pants
- Clean Sponges
- Clean Water
- Mild Citrus-Scented Detergent
- Chemical Sponges
- TSP Cleaning Chemical
1) Confirm Safety
The first step is always to ensure that the building and kitchen are safe to reenter, and that the air quality is not so laden with soot that you will be in danger. Confirm this with your fire authority before entering to perform cleaning repairs.
When you enter, gear up in protective rubber gloves with a long sleeve shirt tucked into the gloves. Cover your hair and wear a bandana or mask over your face. to protect yourself from breathing too much residual soot, and to protect from the chemicals you’ll be using.
2) Ventilate Thoroughly
When you’re sure it’s safe, bring your fans. Open any nearby windows and use them to ventilate the area of any soot hanging in the air. If you can, set one fan in the doorway pointing into the kitchen and another fan pointing out the kitchen window. This will channel the soot outside instead of into the building.
3) Remove All Contaminated or Damaged Items
Any food that was open or that has spoiled since the fire needs to be thrown out. If you’re not sure, default to throwing out food items. However, items sealed and closed in an undamaged pantry may be okay to keep. Any kitchen items that were damaged by the fire or is permanently damaged by the soot should be thrown out.
4) Put Down Drop Cloths on the Floor and Counters
To clean up, you’ll be kicking up a lot of soot so it’s a good idea to protect the floor and lower surfaces. Put down drop cloths to fully cover the floor, countertops, and any tables that were undamaged. Consider laying electrical tape along the gap between the wall and footboards as well, which can prevent mold when you scrub the walls later.
5) Vacuum Up Loose Soot
Use your vacuum with the plane (flat wide) hose attachment on the walls, holding the attachment about a half-inch away from the wall to pull away the loose soot. Any soot that doesn’t get vacuumed up will fall on the floor.
6) Brush Away Soot with a Chemical Sponge
Use a dry chemical sponge when the vacuum has done all it can. The chemicals in the sponge will help fight soot while the dry sponge will gently brush any additional loose soot off the walls.
7) Use a TPS Solution to Scrub Soot From Walls, Counters, and Cabinets
TSP stands for Tri-Sodium Phosphate. This is a cleaning solution made from a molecule of Sodium and phosphate in a 3:1 ratio, as you may have guessed from highschool chemistry class. It’s the recommended way to wash soot from your walls, cabinets, and otherwise undamaged appliances.
Mix the TSP in your bucket with 1 gallon of water to 1 tablespoon of TSP. Dip your sponge and wring it to a non-dripping damp and scrub away at your walls. Rinse and repeat. Then rinse the walls with a clean sponge damp with clean water.
8) Deodorize Your Walls
When you’re done with the TSP and rinsing, you’ll probably still smell soot even if you can’t see it. You can use white vinegar, fabreze, or citrus-scented detergent to help deodorize the room. Our recommendation is the citrus-scented detergent mixed with soap and sponged over damaged surfaces.
9) Decide If You Need Commercial Restoration
If, after all your hard work, you still see soot stains or fire damage, it may be time to call for professional restoration. DIY can handle mild fire and smoke damage, but serious smoke cleaning chemicals and methods may require the help of a professional restoration team.
10) Repaint Everything
When the smoke and soot are fully cleared away, you’ll probably want to repaint your kitchen. Interior paint seldom survives soot damage followed by rigorous chemical scrubbing. If your paint has faded or scuffed, reapply a coat of primer and fresh interior paint to make your kitchen “good as new” again.
A fire in your home or business kitchen is not the end for that room. Buildings recover from fire and smoke damage all the time. Your kitchen can be returned to a beautiful and functional state with thorough cleaning, deodorizing, and repainting. If your DIY efforts are not as effective as you’d like, contact us today and our restoration professionals will be happy to help you get your kitchen back into ship-shape with no lingering staining or odor.
Office fires happen from time to time. It’s not uncommon for under-maintained break room appliances to catch fire and, occasionally, an old outlet or faulty appliance will cause a spark that catches the carpet or baseboards alight. Fortunately, these fires can usually be put out quickly but the damage done can be extensive. Sometimes it is just smoke and soot damage with light scorching or a wrecked appliance, but other times entire sections of wall or partial rooms may need to be rebuilt.
Naturally, you have scheduled commercial fire damage restoration for your office. But the process will go more smoothly if you know how to prepare. Believe it or not, most of your preparation steps are damage control relating to soot, which is the most common source of fire-related damage after a fire. Soot is staining and very easy to spread if you are not careful.
Avoid Tracking Soot Away from the Damaged Area
The first step is to be very careful about where you step. Soot is staining an in many cases, there is a great deal of loose soot on the carpet, walls, and nearby surfaces that could easily be spread throughout the office if someone is careless. Be careful and strict about not tracking that soot further out into your office space. Do not try to clean up the soot yourself, allow employees to try and clean it or task your maintenance task to vacuuming the area. This is a recipe for disaster and can potentially achieve exactly what you are trying to avoid.
Wrap and Remove Damaged Furniture
If there is damaged or soot-covered furniture that is at risk of tracking soot around the office or being moved by employees, remove it with care. Your first instinct may be simply to grab the furniture and carry it out but this is also a common recipe for tracking soot through the office, not to mention staining your work clothes. Your best bet is to use plastic tarps and tape. Gingerly wrap the furniture in the tap, so as not to disturb the soot, and seal the tarp with tape before carrying the furniture out of the office for restoration or disposal.
Cordon Off the Damaged Area
Find a way to block off the damaged area from curious onlookers and careless employees who might walk through the soot If you have actual cordon ropes or retractable ribbons normally used to control customer lines, use these to indicate that employees are not to cross the boundaries. In a pinch, line the outside of the damaged area with desks or chairs lined in a tarp to create an uncrossable barrier. This way, employees cannot track through the soot or curiously investigate a potentially dangerous area.
Provide Alternate Services for Staff if Necessary
If the damage occurred in a way that blocks the break room or restrooms, naturally you will need to provide your employees with alternative facilities. Break room damage can often be temporarily remedied with a mini-fridge and microwave placed on a table on the other side of the office. If the fire damage blocks an important restroom, allow your employees extra time to go one floor up or down or, if you are a small office, ask your nearby neighbors if their restrooms can become available until repairs are complete and be understanding about the time it takes for employees to walk out and back as needed.
Be Ready On Schedule
Fires can be highly disrupting to your workplace schedule, but remember to keep track of when you have scheduled your restoration services and have someone available to oversee the process. You may want this taken care of ASAP during work hours or you may want to schedule for the nearest weekend with a maintenance professional present to open the doors. If your commercial space has recently experienced a fire and you need fire restoration services, contact us today. We will do everything we can to meet your needs and your schedule.
House fires happen far more frequently than most people realize. When you think of a house fire, you think of a destroyed home. But most of the time, the damage doesn’t even peel the paint. Little fires are incredibly common in the kitchen or from faulty outlets and appliances. These small flames caused by accidents and electrical shorts often do more smoke damage than anything else. In fact, most people don’t realize this, but homes that need extensive smoke damage restoration are far more common than actually burned walls, ceilings, or even furniture.
This is because modern home environments are made to be fire-resistant. The paint doesn’t burn, the carpets are fire retardant, and drywall has been specially formulated not to go up in flames if possible. If part of your home does burn, often it is a small section of one or two rooms and the rest of the home is fine. Except, of course, for a few scorches and a lot of staining soot.
Many people tackle cleaning up the soot themselves, but you may need fire damage restoration services to fully restore your home back to pristine un-scorched livability. Today, we’re highlighting four signs that you may need the help of professionals to get your home back into shape after a fire.
Kitchen Fires with Extensive Superficial Damage
Kitchen fires are the most common type of house fire, usually starting at the stove. A fire that begins with a grease fire or food catching alight can create a great deal of smoke but often does not spread much further than the stove and nearby wall. Once the fire is put out, your kitchen may look like a crime scene but try taking a sponge to the walls. If the walls aren’t scorched, what you mainly need is a professional smoke restoration service to help get rid of all the soot without staining anything else in the process. And a new stove, of course.
Burned Outlets and Electrical Wiring
Outlets are another cause of home fires, often related to either old or DIY wiring in the walls or plugging in a faulty appliance that does not handle electricity safely. If a spark causes a fire in your living room, bedroom, or kitchen then there may be some scorching of the all or outlet. In this case, you will need electrical repairs and potentially a few new panels of drywall but the damage is not unfixable. With a professional service, your home can be back to welcoming again in a few day’s time.
Reconstructing Partially Burned Rooms
Even if a portion of your room, or two adjacent rooms, is scorched and damaged by the fire, your home can be restored. New drywall is surprisingly easy to put up and new sections of carpet or flooring can be installed so that your home appears as if it was never burned in the first place. In fact, this is a great opportunity for you to do a little remodeling or take a look at what’s behind your walls. You can check for signs of mold, improve your insulation, or even add soundproofing between the rooms while your fire restoration service is reinstalling the portions of your home that were damaged and cleaning up all the smoke.
Getting Rid of the Lingering Smoke Smell
Finally, there’s the lingering smell. This is something only homeowners who have experienced a fire know, but the last thing to linger is the smell of soot long after all the visible black powder is gone. A professional fire restoration service can not only repair the visible and structural damage, they also know which chemicals and scents to use to fully get rid of the lingering smell of smoke in your home so that your residence is truly good as new.
Need Twin Cities Fire Damage Restoration? Call Us Today
If you need fire and smoke restoration services, contact us today! Our team will be happy to perform a consultation and build a plan to bring your home back to the place you love to live.