Recent General Posts

6 Disasters, Home/Property Insurance Won’t Cover!

5/9/2017 (Permalink)

General 6 Disasters, Home/Property Insurance Won’t Cover! 6 Disasters, Home/Property Insurance Won’t Cover!

When disaster strikes your home, Property Insurance, is supposed to be there to help you pick up the pieces. Most of the time, it does.

A Bankrate survey found that 81 percent were aware flooding is not covered by regular homeowners insurance. You may have heard earthquakes also require special coverage. Yet you may not know that there are other types of damage that are excluded from most policies as well:

Mold

At least 1,000 species of mold are common to the United States, according to the New York-based trade group the Insurance Information Institute.

Despite the threat, a standard homeowners insurance policy generally either limits coverage for mold damage or outright excludes it.

Some insurers offer an endorsement to expand coverage limits for mold claims but only if you are willing to pay more for your insurance, she says.

The best cure for mold is to prevent it from growing in the first place. If the basement floods after a rainstorm or a pipe is leaking, eliminate the moisture promptly.

Sewer backup

America’s sewer lines are rapidly aging, with some more than 100 years old. As more homes have been connected to these out-of-date lines, sewage backups have followed.

Other sources of backups include pipelines that handle both stormwater and raw sewage — and become overwhelmed in rainstorms — and blockages from tree roots that work their way into sewer-line cracks.

When a sewer backs up into a home, it can damage floors, walls, furniture and electrical systems. Standard homeowners insurance does not cover sewer backups.

The Insurance Information Institute says sewer-backup damage often can be covered for an additional premium of just $40 to $50 per year.

Sinkholes

Sinkholes can seem like something out of a horror movie. For example, there was the Florida man who was swallowed up in early 2013 when a sinkhole opened without warning beneath his bedroom.

Sinkholes are sudden gaps in the earth’s surface that occur after groundwater gradually dissolves rock such as limestone and carries bits of it away, creating large pores and cracks in bedrock. Once large cavities form underground, the land above it may suddenly settle or collapse, creating the sinkhole.

In the United States, sinkholes tend to cause the most problems in Florida, Texas, Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee and Pennsylvania, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Most home insurance policies will not cover damage associated with “earth movement,” such as an earthquake or sinkhole.

Florida is the only state in which insurers are required to provide coverage for sinkhole damage

Florida insurers must include insurance for “catastrophic ground cover collapse” — which refers to damage so severe, the home is uninhabitable — as part of standard homeowners insurance.

In every other state, earth movement is excluded from the insurance policy.

Termite infestation

Colonies of anywhere from a few hundred to several million termites can quietly and methodically devastate your home.

Wood, paper and dead plant material that is in contact with soil near the house provides termites with a ready source of food and an entry. And moisture accumulated around foundations and in poorly ventilated crawl spaces gives termites a source of water they need to survive.

Over time, termites can damage or destroy support beams and other wood features in a house. The National Pest Management Association estimates that termites cause $5 billion in damage in the U.S. each year.

If these unwanted guests cause wear and tear to your home, do not expect your insurer to bail you out.

Homeowners policies do not pay for termite damage.

Homeowners can avoid structural damage with early intervention.

 

Nuclear plant accidents

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, says nearly 3 million Americans live within 10 miles of an active nuclear power plant. If an accident at a nearby reactor leaves your home uninhabitable, standard homeowners insurance will not cover the claim. But that does not mean you will be unprotected.

A 1957 federal law called the Price-Anderson Act compensates people in the United States for any damage or injuries resulting from a commercial nuclear accident.

The law was called upon after the nation’s worst nuclear accident, at the Three Mile Island plant near Harrisburg, Pa., in 1979.

The insurance paid for the living expenses of families who decided to evacuate.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says an insurance pool of more than $12 billion is available to pay out claims.

Claims covered under Price-Anderson include:

  • Bodily injury.
  • Sickness.
  • Disease resulting in death.
  • Property damage and loss.

In addition, individuals evacuated from an affected area can expect reimbursement for reasonable living expenses beyond what you ordinarily pay. The coverage does not pay your mortgage, does not pay for your normal food bills.

Some acts of terrorism

The recent Boston Marathon bombings were a reminder that terror can strike at any moment.

The Insurance Information Institute says terrorist attacks using nuclear, biological, chemical or radioactive weapons are considered “acts of war” that are fundamentally uninsurable. Standard home insurance policies do not specifically reference terror attacks.

However, the policy does cover the homeowner for damage due to explosion, fire and smoke, these are the most likely types of damage a home would suffer in a terrorist incident.

If you own a condominium or co-op, the policy you carry on your individual unit will protect your structure and possessions from damage related to a terrorist attack.

However, damage to common areas — including the roof, basement, elevator, boiler and walkways — is not covered unless your board purchases separate terrorism coverage.

ICE storm facts

1/17/2017 (Permalink)

General ICE storm facts ice
  1. Ice storms are caused by freezing rain. The raindrops move into a thin layer of below-freezing air right near the surface of the earth, allowing them to freeze on contact to the ground, trees, cars and other objects.
  2. Ice accumulates when super-cold rain freezes on contact with surfaces that are below freezing point. That can be dangerous, especially for older adults. You can walk a senior’s dog to keep them injury free! Sign up for Dog Days of Winter.
  3. Throughout the US, ice storms occur most often during the months of December and January.
  4. Ice storms have the bizarre effect of entombing everything in the landscape with a glaze of ice so heavy that it can split trees in half and turn roads and pavements into lethal sheets of smooth, thick ice.
  5. Ice can increase the weight of branches by 30 times.
  6. Urban areas tend to suffer more economic and physical damage than rural areas because of the concentration of utilities and transportation systems (aircraft, trains, vehicles) — all of which may be affected to a great degree by the ice storm.
  7. The Midwest and Northeast are prime areas for freezing rain. In the high frequency band in the Midwest, an average of 12 to 15 hours of freezing rain occurs annually.
  8. Driving during an ice storm is extremely hazardous, because ice can cause vehicles to skid out of control, leading to devastating car crashes.
  9. The National Weather Service refers to winter storms as the “deceptive killers” because most deaths are indirectly related to the storm. In addition to car crashes, people die from hypothermia which is prolonged exposure to cold.
  10. In 1998, an ice storm in northern New York and northern New England damaged millions of trees and caused $1.4 billion in damage. Accumulations were as much as three inches thick!
  11. The ice storm that struck the northeastern US in December 2008 left 1.25 million homes and businesses without power. Described as the worst storm of the decade, a state of emergency was declared in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and parts of Maine.

Holiday Feasts and Home Fires

12/21/2016 (Permalink)

General Holiday Feasts and Home Fires Avoid being one of the nearly 4,300 home fires this Thanksgiving Day.

With holidays fast approaching, it is crucial that we use caution while preparing our holiday feasts and have a preparedness plan for cooking fires. Cooking is a great way to bring family and friends together but is the number one cause of home fires and injuries. Did you know that during 2009 – 2013 that U.S. Fire Departments handled an average of 162,400 home fires involving cooking equipment per year and these fires caused an annual average of 430 civilian deaths, 5,400 civilian injuries and $1.1 billion in direct property damage?

Cooking fires are the leading cause of home fires and home fire injuries in the United States.  In fact, the United States Fire Administration (USFA) states that there are nearly 4,300 fires on xmas day.  That’s more than double the daily average for residential fires.  The leading cause of Xmas Day fires is food that is left unattended while cooking, which is why SERVPRO of Washington / woolwitch asks for you to be aware while entertaining!

Here are some interesting statistics regarding Cooking Fires:

  • Forty-Two percent of surveyed consumers say they have left the kitchen to talk or text on the phone, and 35 percent to use the computer to check email while food is cooking. If you tend to do a lot of cooking, invest in a second or third timer. They're an inexpensive way to stay safe while ensuring that your holiday dishes do not overcook.
  • Nearly half (45 percent) of consumers say they have left the room to watch television or listen to music. Multi-tasking during the busy holiday season is tempting. If you succumb, it's important not to leave the stove or oven unattended
  • Nearly one third (29 percent) of consumers reported that they have intentionally disabled smoke alarms while cooking.
  • More than half (56 percent) of surveyed consumers said they plan to cook for family or friends during the holidays this year - with 42 percent of those cooking for groups of 11 or more.
  • A large majority (83 percent) acknowledged that they have engaged in dangerous cooking behaviors such as disabling the smoke alarm and leaving cooking food unattended to perform non-essential activities - including watching television, talking or texting on the phone, checking email or doing laundry.
  • Looking at the general survey population, a startling one in 10 adults has actually left the home completely while cooking, and others left cooking food unattended to perform non-essential activities.

          (Survey Source: Liberty Mutual Insurance, 2013)

 If you are aware of how to stay safe AND what to do in case you experience a cooking disaster, you should be able to enjoy this time with your family and friends. If all else fails, call SERVPRO of Washington / woolwitch ! We have the equipment, expertise and experience to help make the disaster like it never even happened. Have a safe and happy holidays