Recent Posts

How Do I Make a Water Damage Claim?

11/12/2022 (Permalink)

clear water standing in a room, water damage in a room The first thing you should do if you have water damage is to contact your insurance company.

How to Make Sure Your Claim Is Processed Quickly?

Whether you’re a homeowner or renter, water damage can be a stressful experience. You may have experienced a flood as the result of a broken pipe or an overflowing sink or tub. In any case, your first priority is to minimize the damage and get things back in order as quickly as possible. And while insurance companies do offer expedited claims processes for certain types of disasters like flooding, they can still take several days or weeks to complete their investigation before issuing payment. If you need immediate help recovering from this type of emergency, here are some tips on how to make sure your claim is processed quickly.

The first thing you should do if you have water damage is to contact your insurance company. They’ll be able to tell you exactly what will be covered by your policy and how long it takes for a claim to go through.

1) Review Your Policy

Check your water damage coverage. First, check your policy to see if you have any water damage coverage. If not, consider purchasing an add-on rider for a few bucks more per month that will cover any damages caused by burst pipes or overflowing toilets (but not floods).

Next, determine whether or not you have a deductible and how much it is. A $500 deductible might seem reasonable if the cost of repairing your home's sewer line exceeds that amount; however, if you don't want to pay anything out of pocket for repairs—or are unable to do so—you may wish to purchase additional insurance from a third party at an added cost.

Lastly, take note of any time limits on filing claims under your policy before contacting them about their process (which we'll go into further detail about below).

2) Call Your Agent

If you have an insurance agent, call them immediately. They will be able to help you with the next steps and can get a claim started for you. If not, call your insurance company directly and ask if they have someone who can help with making a water damage claim.

3) Take photos

Take photos of the damaged item. If you have a camera, take some photos of your damaged item. If not, contact a professional photographer or get into contact with your insurance company and they may be able to help you out with this step. Be sure that the first few photos are of the undamaged area and then proceed onto taking more photos as needed (e.g., close-ups).

Take photos of the areas around damage location(s). In addition to taking pictures of your damaged property, it's also important that you take pictures of all surrounding areas where there isn't any visible damage so we can better assess how much coverage is needed for those areas as well!

4) Obtain a Professional Opinion

Obtain professional opinion. If you have a damaged home, it's best to get an estimate for repairs from a company like SERVPRO of Hyde Park/ Central Austin before making any claims. This will ensure that the damage is covered by your policy and that it's not something else that caused the water leak.

If you don't have coverage, purchase it. If you don't have home insurance and need to buy one after your water damage claim, be sure to do so as soon as possible so that there isn't any lapse in coverage while you wait for your new policy to begin (a period of time known as "the waiting period").

The process of making a water damage claim can be very simple, but it can also be complicated. Follow these steps and call SERVPRO to get your Austin, TX home back to normal as quickly as possible. 

How do You Estimate a Fire Loss?

10/11/2022 (Permalink)

Hallway, walls covered with smoke. Heavy fires cause full rebuild.

Estimating a Fire Damage Loss

When a fire has damaged your property, you need to get the repairs done as soon as possible. It's important to have a professional fire damage estimate before submitting a claim. You can use this estimate to ensure your insurance company covers all the necessary work needed to return your home or business back to normal.

How to Determine Cost of Repairs

The cost of rebuilding is based on the type, size, and location of the building. A small commercial building will cost less to rebuild than a large one. Large buildings tend to be more expensive because they often have more complex systems and infrastructure that need to be replaced.

For example, in your estimate, you may find that replacing all plumbing in a large commercial building will cost $100 per foot while doing so in a smaller office or retail space would only cost $50 per foot. Similarly, if you’re repairing an apartment building with several floors and units each containing its own kitchen and bathroom (and therefore requiring materials like pipes), it might take you twice as long to complete repairs as repairing a single-family home with fewer rooms (and therefore using fewer materials).

When estimating restoration costs related specifically to rebuilding structures damaged by fire damage, there are two major factors contributing to how much this type of work costs: property value and scope of damage (i.e., what work needs to be done). Property values tend not to matter too much when talking about residential properties since most people don't have mortgages; however, commercial properties may have varying degrees of financial support from investors depending on their location or industry base which means higher risks associated with them needing repairs after an incident like this one occurs.

Reviewing  Your Insurance Policy

Estimators review your insurance policy to determine how much coverage you have for fire damage. This is because the amount of coverage you have depends on the type of policy and location where the damage occurred, as well as whether or not a deductible applies.

For example, if you have fire-damage coverage with an $80,000 limit but experience $100,000 worth of damage to your home in a wildfire, then only $20,000 would be covered by your insurer and they would pay out that amount minus any applicable deductibles.

Reviewing the Estimate

Your insurance adjuster will review the estimate and let you know if it is accurate. If the adjuster has any questions about your estimate, he or she will contact you immediately. He or she may also ask you to add something to the estimate so that it can be finalized. The final estimate should be given to you within a few days of receiving your fire damage cleaning services quote.

The good news is that your insurance company will review your estimate before they send you the final payment. This means that if there are any mistakes in your estimate, they’ll contact you right away. If so, just make a change and resubmit it to them!

When you have fire damage in your home or business, SERVPRO of Hyde Park/Central Austin is here to help. Give us a call to repair your Austin property. 

Is Mold Cut Out of Your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy?

8/30/2022 (Permalink)

Mold growth found under a cabinet Mold damage in a property in Bastrop, TX.

Does Your Homeowner's Insurance Cover Mold?

 More homeowner’s policies exclude mold than cover this form of secondary damage. Fungus growth occurs when water damage is not cleaned quickly or thoroughly enough to avoid leaving time for fungal growth. Property owners can take three measures to determine whether coverage for mold is available under the property insurance policy for a residence in Bastrop,TX.

1. Confirm the Terms of Your Policy
The terms of each insurance policy differ. It is the responsibility of a policyholder to go through these terms before signing up for coverage and paying premiums. If you have not checked the status of mold under your property insurance, you should do so sooner rather than later. A rider on an existing policy or additional coverage may be needed to offset the cost of mold remediation.

2. Consult With an Insurance Agent
A representative of the insurance company that covers your home can explain the circumstances under which fungus growth could be considered a covered peril. Keep in mind that some insurers require agents to report that a customer is considering filing a claim. Seeking independent advice may be preferable if you are experiencing a mold problem and do not want the rate to rise.

3. Supplementary Residential Mold Coverage
Obtaining an endorsement can restore some amount of coverage for mold to a primary property policy. Another approach might be to obtain a separate mold insurance policy. Make sure the limit of any policy will cover a substantial amount of the expense associated with remediating mold, which can range up to thousands of dollars.
Fungus growth occurs when mold spores settle down on surfaces where access to sufficient moisture and nutrients is available. Homeowners may be able to reduce the risk of mold growth by arranging for timely mitigation and cleanup within 24 to 48 hours of water damage at a household in Bastrop, TX.

Do Office Electronics Still Work After a Fire?

8/22/2022 (Permalink)

Keyboard of a computer with fire flame SERVPRO can clean electronics after a fire

Do Office Electronics Remain Functional Following a Fire?

Electronics are some of the most expensive office equipment. Computers, appliances and other devices can drive up the cost of recovering from a fire, even if an electrical fire was not the cause of damage. If electronics have been affected by fire in a building in Austin,TX, here are some ways to safely determine the most cost-effective approach to repair or replacement.

Have Electronics Tested Off-Site
One of the best safety decisions that a commercial building or business owner can make following a fire is to have trained experts test potentially damaged electronics at an offsite location. All of the following factors increase overheating and short-circuiting risks:

  • High heat
  • Smoke
  • Soot
  • Water

Damaged electronics could spark an electrical fire. Electronics and computer cleanup specialists have access to a clean room and dedicated equipment.

Pursue Cleaning or Replacement
Based on the recommendations of fire restoration experts, business owners can have electronics cleaned or replaced. In some cases, purchasing new equipment or devices may be more reliable and cost-effective than restoring electronics. Make sure that commercial property insurance covers the full replacement value and not actual cash value.

Complete the Commercial Restoration Process
An office cannot resume operations until fire and smoke damage to the affected location have been fully restored. Even after you know which electronics can be salvaged, any appliances, computers or other devices that have been recovered, tested and cleaned should be stored off-site until cleanup and restoration are complete at the original location.
Fire cleanup costs can be considerable, whether an electrical fire or a blaze due to any other cause has affected a commercial building in Austin, TX. A commercial property insurance policyholder can take measures to plan ahead and minimize out-of-pocket expenses by making sure that replacement costs are covered, not just actual cash value. Complete coverage makes it possible to spend less replacing ruined devices.

Common Questions About Mold

8/17/2022 (Permalink)

Flood cuts performed on drywall, drywall has been removed Commercial mold remediation in Northwest Hills, TX

Ways To Protect Your Commercial Property From Mold

Frequent inspection and upkeep in your building in Northwest Hills, TX, are the keys to keeping it structurally sound and maintaining good air quality. Hidden leaks and excess moisture, however, can quickly lead to mold growth. Knowing the answers to common questions about mold can help you protect your commercial property.

What Causes Mold Problems?
Just like other living organisms, mold needs food and drink to thrive. The main culprit in fungal growth in a commercial building is usually some type of unmitigated water damage:

  • Busted pipe
  • Supply line leak
  • Overflowing toilet
  • Clogged sewer line
  • Storm flooding

Any surface exposed to excess moisture has the potential for mold to grow. Keeping watch for damp areas or damage is essential for stopping fungus in its tracks.

How Do You Know You Have a Mold Problem?
The first sign that there may be mold growth in your building is the telltale musty odor in your building. You may be able to see the mold on your walls, floor or ceiling. If you smell mold but can't find it, a professional inspection is necessary to locate the issue.

How Do You Get Rid of a Mold Problem?
If there is just a small patch of mold on a nonporous surface, washing it thoroughly with a strong detergent is likely to get rid of it. For large problems, however, you need to call mold remediation specialists for a thorough cleaning.

What Can You Do To Prevent a Mold Problem From Returning?
Controlling moisture is your best bet to keep mold from coming back. Even if you don't have water damage, high humidity can also cause mold to collect on surfaces and grow. Improve the ventilation throughout the building to encourage proper air flow, and invest in a dehumidifier if necessary.
Even with frequent inspection, you still could find the occasional patch of mold growth in your building. Quick, professional remediation is the best way to solve the problem and keep it from returning

How Does Category 1 Water Damage Differ From Other Types?

7/30/2022 (Permalink)

Bursting pipe A leaking pipe will become a burst pipe causing flooding and three to five days of cleanup.

Category 1 Water Damage

When it comes to the different types of plumbing problems or water issues that could affect your building, a Category 1 incident is about the easiest to deal with. This comes from a clean water source such as a supply line or a broken pipe. It will not have contaminates that would be present in a toilet overflow or flooding from major storm systems in North Loop, TX.

Why is Category 1 Less Harmful?

A Category 1 leak or flood means that the main concern will be the water itself and any damage it could potentially do. You will not be dealing with black water and all of its bacteria and toxic content. While this makes dealing with the water a bit less stressful, it is no less urgent to remove the water and dry things out. In a short time, standing clean water can become contaminated and will begin to grow bacteria so it is essential to extract the water as soon as possible.

Why Can a Service Do Better Than you Can?

Your building is your moneymaker so it is important to get professional help to get it back on track as soon as possible. An experienced emergency water mitigation service will have powerful extraction systems; fans, blowers, and ozone machines were needed to remove water, dehumidify and remove odors and help prevent any mold spores from growing. A service will also be able to meet the demands of your insurance agent for proper restoration.

Are Harmful Chemicals Used to Clean Up After Category 1 Damage?

Since you are dealing with clean water, Category 1 water damage is a much easier clean-up. There is usually no need for industrial disinfectants and often, the contents and furnishings, and structural materials of the building can be dried and cleaned rather than scrapped and replaced following the water damage.

There is no need for you to worry when you are getting such good help from qualified service personnel and with minimal interruption, you will be back to business as usual.

Will Solar Panels Stand Up To Severe Weather?

7/20/2022 (Permalink)

Solar panel on a red roof Solar panels are designed to stand up to hurricane-force winds.

Solar panels are designed to stand up to hurricane-force winds. When properly installed, this equipment can endure severe storms with minimal damage to the panels or mounting platform. If you have a solar power installation or are planning to install panels at a residence in Rosedale, TX, here are several guidelines regarding severe weather.

Have Panels Professionally Installed

The most common solar installation problems caused by storms involve faulty hardware. All of the following factors are associated with panel or system damage:

  • Clamp failure
  • Improper bolt size or installation
  • Improper racking support

Skilled installation is the best way to prevent panel damage. The most durable mounts may be through-bolted with bolts of the proper size, locking solutions, and lateral racking support. Professionals can recommend the right mounting method for any residence.

Don’t Cover or Dismantle Panels
When severe weather shows up on the forecast, you should be able to trust in the quality of solar power equipment. There is no need to cover or temporarily take down an installation to avoid panel damage. It is important to make sure that the surface on which panels are mounted is in good condition by scheduling regular roofing inspections, maintenance, and roof damage repairs.

Check Insurance Coverage for Damage
Panels may be covered by homeowners' insurance as a part of the structure. The most practical way to plan ahead for the effects of a storm is to confirm whether coverage includes these components and increase the limit of the policy to account for the value of a solar installation in addition to other storm damage restoration expenses.
High-quality solar panels are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions. Any panel damage that occurs may be covered by a homeowner's insurance policy. Severe storms in a particular region can expose panels to unique risks, making professional installation a good idea for homeowners in Rosedale, TX.

What To Know About Mold and Your Business

7/14/2022 (Permalink)

Hand moving a plastic bin, mold found on the corner of the wall. If you believe you have found mold, it's best to contact a professional.

Understanding Mold and Your Business

One of the things that may cause issues for any Allandale, TX, business is mold growth. Fortunately, the more you learn about this fungi the easier it is to prevent. Here are three things to know that can help you take the proper mitigation steps.

1. Mold Thrives in Specific Conditions

The first thing to understand about mold is what it is and how it grows. Is first and foremost a fungus. This means it consumes organic materials and lives best in areas of darkness and high humidity. Mold, like most fungi, also grows in colonies. This means that most visible mold infestations are actually groups of multiple spores instead. Fortunately, the growth rate is rather slow making it easy to identify and remove.

2. Mold Can Grow in Hidden Places

It's also important to know where mold growth may occur. This fungus is most typically found in places where water damage has been a problem. This is because such damage creates the ideal environment for growth. Be sure to check in areas such as ventilation shafts, behind walls, or under flooring.

3. Mold is Removable

You may be comforted to know that mold is removable. If you find spores on your business property, then you may want to contact a mold remediation service. These professional teams of individuals have the tools and knowledge to test for mold type and determine the appropriate action for removal. They may also be able to look at the surrounding area for any spreading, or additional problems the spores may have caused.
Preventing mold growth and your place of business can be as easy as understanding the conditions that contribute to growth, where they can grow, and that mold can be removed. If you believe you may have found mold on your property, it's best to contact a professional. They can also answer any questions you may have.

Characteristics of Category 1 Water Damage

6/29/2022 (Permalink)

Flood cuts performed on a drywall. Flood cuts were performed on the drywall in a commercial building in Tarrytown, TX.

Category 1 Water Damage

In Tarrytown, TX, water damage to your business is never a good thing. It can cause unwanted downtime, leading to a loss of revenue. If you have experienced a broken pipe in your business and are trying to assess the damage, read about Category 1 water damage below.

Clean Water
Of all the categories of water damage, Category 1 is the most sanitary one. According to the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification, Category 1 water comes from hygienic water. That means you are not likely to experience any adverse effects from accidentally inhaling, drinking, or touching the water with exposed skin.
Some sources of Category 1 water include:

  • Overflowing sink or tub
  • Malfunctioning appliances
  • Busted supply line
  • Rain, snow, or ice melt

Believe it or not, even toilet water can be Category 1 water, so long as it involves only clean water!

Not So Clean Water
It is crucial to understand that Category 1 water can quickly degrade into either Category 2 or 3 water. For example, let’s say that your business experiences a drinking water leakage. If your business happens to be a sterile lab sanitized daily, the chances are good that the water will remain Category 1 water. On the other hand, if your business has dirt floors and you manufacture lots of chemicals, the water immediately becomes Category 2 and maybe even Category 3, depending on the extent of the contamination.
Another thing to remember is that your nose knows! Microscopic creepy crawlies love water, and if the temperature is right, they can grow their numbers exponentially. A good rule of thumb is that the category changes if you smell something awful.
Nobody wants water damage in their business in Tarrytown, TX, but Category 1 water is the best possible outcome if it does happen.

The Flood Cleanup Process

6/19/2022 (Permalink)

Flood cuts performed on a drywall. Flood cuts were performed in a home in Hyde Park, TX.

The Flood Cleanup Process

Flooding can do serious damage to your Hyde Park, TX, home. The longer it takes to clean up, the more water damage and mold growth are likely to occur. Fortunately, there are many ways that a professional restoration company can help you get your home back to normal. The following steps outline the cleanup process.

1. Dry and Tear Out
When cleaning up after a flood, it is important to dry the area as soon as possible to prevent mold growth. Pumps and specialized vacuums are used to extract standing water, and fans and dehumidifiers dry out the remaining moisture.
Walls are particularly difficult to dry. Professionals sometimes perform a flood cut. This involves tearing out the wall from the floor up to at least a foot above the water line. This allows the support beams to dry and allows unsalvageable insulation and drywall to be removed.

2. Clean
Flooding leads to contamination because floodwaters are filled with bacteria, and the water creates a perfect environment for mold growth. When the affected area is dry, visible mold should be removed. All surfaces, even those that look clean, should be disinfected. Choose a cleaner that is labeled as a disinfectant. If a large area of your home is affected by the flood, it may help to buy cleaners in bulk.

3. Restore and Replace
No matter how quickly you begin the cleanup process, there will be damage to your home. In some cases, the damage is minor and only requires a little paint. More extensive flooding may require rebuilding some features. Items that could not be fully dried and sanitized, such as electronics and porous furniture, should be replaced to avoid contamination and electrical problems.
A flood at your residence leads to water damage and other issues. Taking quick action minimizes the impact and helps you get your life back to normal sooner.