Recent Posts

Flood Damage: How Much Does Insurance Cover?

1/25/2022 (Permalink)

Floodwaters enters a home, water reaches the stairs from the house A flooded home in Billings, MT.

How Much Does Insurance Cover Flood Damage?

If you ask your insurance agent if your homeowner’s policy covers broken pipes, he or she is likely to say that it doesn’t. While the actual repair of the pipe is considered a home maintenance cost, however, the flood and subsequent water damage it causes probably do fall under your coverage. You can file a claim for the cost of water restoration services under most circumstances that involve broken pipes.

Potential Damage

You will probably have to pay to fix the broken pipe out of pocket. Repairing or replacing the items it damages, however, likely falls under your insurance policy. Water from a bursting pipe can damage:

  • Ceilings
  • Hardwood floors
  • Carpet
  • Cabinets
  • Walls
  • Insulation

As long as you call experts to remedy the damage as soon as you find it, it should be covered by your insurance. If you don’t understand your coverage, your insurance agent can explain exactly what events fall under its requirements. There are several circumstances, however, that may cause your claim to be denied.

Potential Denial

A flood that occurs as the result of your own negligence will probably be denied coverage under your homeowner’s policy. For example, if inspectors discover that the pipe has been leaking water for a long time, the delay in repair could be a reason the insurance company cites for denying your claim. If your pipes freeze because they are not properly insulated, that could also be a cause for denial. If flooding involves rising water, the damage may be too extensive to fall under your general policy. You may have to rely on extended insurance coverage for those damages to be paid for.

The insurance for your home in Billings, MT, serves to protect you when a flood occurs. Timely reporting is vital for fast compensation. The sooner you arrange for repairs and file your claim, the more likely you are to be covered.

How Does Water Lead to Damages After a Fire?

1/11/2022 (Permalink)

Firefighters putting out a fire in a big building As the firefighters work to put out flames, they may spray a lot of water.

Water Damage and Fire Damage

Fire damage may seem like one of your top concerns after the flames have been put out, but you'll also need to address a fair amount of water damage. When a fire first strikes, most business owners are primarily concerned about the well-being of their staff, customers, and property. Once the smoke clears, however, a period of uncertainty and panic may settle in. Fortunately, fire remediation experts can help you navigate the cleanup and restoration process. There are several sources of water that may affect your property.

  1. Sprinkler systems
  2. Fire hoses
  3. Burst pipes
  4. Sewer backups

Sprinkler Systems

If you have a sprinkler system installed in your building, the heat, flames, or smoke may trigger the emergency system and send 15 to 25 gallons of water per minute into your business. That water can cause a lot of damage.

Fire Hoses

As the firefighters work to put out flames, they may spray a lot of water at high levels of pressure through a fire hose. That water often floods the building, running down stairways, flooding rooms, and affecting walls and ceilings. Equipment and furnishings are often harmed more by the water than by fire damage.

Burst Pipes

Another common culprit of water damage after a fire is the burst pipe. As temperature levels rise as a result of the fire, the building's piping system experiences a lot of pressure. The heated pipes may warp, break, and burst. Sometimes pipes are damaged by falling debris. These bursting pipes force a lot of water into the building, causing flood damages.

Sewer Backups

If the sewer system line is damaged by the fire or falling debris, you could have an even messier problem on your hands. Sewer backflows often happen for other reasons, but these disasters are an increased risk during fires.

Fire damage isn't your only concern after a fire. You may also face a lot of water damage. Work closely with Acton, MT, fire remediation professionals to get trouble under control and your business back to normal after a fire.

Mold and Evaporative Cooling

1/6/2022 (Permalink)

Leaking swamp cooler Prevent a leaking swamp cooler from becoming a major mold problem.

How To Address a Leaking Swamp Cooler

Residents in Comanche, MT, want to stay cool in the summer months. However, your home cooling systems can harbor hidden fungal agents if not properly maintained. Read on to learn how to address a leaking swamp cooler and other pressing problems.

1. About the Appliance

A swamp cooler is an air cooling system designed for climates with consistently low humidity during the summer. Because the saturation of water in the air is so low in these arid climates, it is easy for water molecules to evaporate, removing heat energy from the air during the transition. Most swamp coolers have a fan that blows air over a porous cellulose pad. This air is circulated through the house in a similar manner to conventional compressor-based air conditioners.

2. Mold Conditions

Unfortunately, because these swamp cooler units operate in warm climates and introduce moisture, they are potential sites for mold growth. This phenomenon is exacerbated by the dark conditions inside the unit and the air ducts, since direct sunlight tends to suppress mold. Other mold issues can arise due to a leaking swamp cooler, since any water that spreads beyond the direct path of the fan can build up without evaporating. This also encourages mold to grow.

3. Remedies

If mold is in direct contact with the cellulose pad, simply purchase a replacement for your make and model of evaporative cooler. However, the mold spores released over time can still present a health hazard, even after the unit itself has been treated and repaired. Acquire a HEPA filter for your home and ensure adequate air circulation until you can be sure that any particle contaminants are clear. If the unit leaked water into surrounding construction materials such as drywall or flooring, contact a qualified mold damage restoration service.

Remember, while the energy savings of an evaporative cooling system are substantial, they also come with certain risks. Prevent a leaking swamp cooler from becoming a major mold problem by maintaining your unit.

How To Prevent Water Damage When You’re on Vacation

12/31/2021 (Permalink)

Insulation covers Insulate your pipes.

When You're On Vacation, Here's How To Avoid Water Damage

Nothing ruins a great family vacation faster than coming home to a flooded house and an emergency water pipe repair. There’s not much you can do about coastal storm surge or an overflowing river, but there are many types of flooding you can prevent. With a little bit of planning and forethought, you can reduce your chances of needing to call a water damage mitigation specialist in Broadview, MT, your first night home.

1. Have Your Plumber Do a Maintenance Check

You don’t have to wait until there’s a crisis to have a professional check your pipes and supply lines. A plumber can tell you about any potential problems so you can deal with water pipe repair and upgrades before you leave.

2. Insulate Your Pipes

If you expect freezing temperatures at home while you’re away, insulate your pipes. This prevents them from freezing and bursting while you’re gone. Focus on pipes in uninsulated parts of your home that are likely to be exposed to outside temperatures.

3. Turn Off Your Water

You can also turn off your home’s water supply at the main. Then open up all the water taps in your house and let them drain. This ensures you won’t have any plumbing-related floods while you’re gone.

4. Clean Your Gutters and Drains

Make sure to clean your gutters, drains and downspouts before you leave town. That way if there are heavy rains in your absence, the water will be directed away from your home. This makes leaks less likely.

5. Back Up Your Sump Pump

If there’s a power outage during a storm, your sump pump may not be able to handle a rising water table. By connecting your sump pump to a backup generator or getting a battery-powered pump, you can avoid coming home to your basement under water.

Taking the time to prep your house before you leave on vacation can save you from coming home to an emergency water pipe repair. While a water damage mitigation specialist in Broadview, MT, can handle the cleanup if the worst occurs, it’s better if you don’t have to call for help.

3 Reasons Mold Has an Odor

12/31/2021 (Permalink)

Mold growth on wall and carpet Mold damage in Comanche, MT.

Why Mold Has An Odor?

Mold can take hold in your Comanche, MT, business before you realize it. This fungus can grow for many reasons, but mostly due to the introduction of moisture into an area. A flood, leaking pipes or even a 

content in the air can cause mold growth. While not all mold has a powerful odor, some can smell quite strong, and the reasons why may surprise you.

1. Initial Spread

Once mold spores take hold of a surface, they eat away at the material and start to grow. This growth can spread quite rapidly the more it eats, and its byproducts can produce the odor that is so often associated with mold. There are many ways to interpret this odor, but it is most often described as

  • Damp
  • Dirty (or like dirty laundry)
  • Musty

If you catch a whiff of these smells often, you may have a mold problem in your building.

2. Environment

The musty odor of mold can change or grow stronger depending on the environment in which it grows. For example, if the space is humid and often exposed to sunlight, the smell may be more powerful. If other substances are present, the mold may bond or interact with them, causing the smell to change and become even more unpleasant.

3. Rate of Growth

The faster mold grows and spreads, the stronger the scent may be. If mold grows unchecked behind a wall or under a restroom cabinet, you may notice the smell before you find the actual mold. A mold remediation company can help you target and eliminate the problem, then advise you on how to prevent the issue from occurring again.

When mold invades your Comanche, MT, business, it can cause unpleasant odors that air fresheners cannot eliminate. Having a professional eliminate mold growth at the source can help your store, factory or office space smell fresh and clean again.

Concerns About Smoke Damage to Electronics

12/31/2021 (Permalink)

burned computer You need a fire cleanup expert to assess the smoke damage to your electronics.

Smoke Damage To Electronics

No one living in Acton, MT, wants to think about their home catching on fire. In the worst-case scenario, fires can completely destroy your home and everything inside. Even small, minor fires can result in significant fire cleanup and damage to precious items. One thing homeowners have to worry about is smoke damage to electronics. It’s important to be aware of this potential and know-how to handle the problem if it occurs in your home.

1. Smoke residue can harm your equipment. You spend a lot of money on your electronics, and you use them frequently throughout each day. If there’s a fire in your home, even the smoke can render your electronics useless if you’re not careful. Inside smoke are acids that are known to corrode metal surfaces. It’s vital to have a specialist carefully remove the residue as quickly as possible. If the residue stays on the surfaces too long, it will ruin your devices.

2. A specialist can look at your electronics and determine the amount of damage. Part of your fire cleanup efforts should include a restoration specialist examining your electronics. Only a qualified expert should attempt to remove the residue. The quicker someone can address this situation, the better chance you have to save your devices and avoid replacing them or losing precious data.

3. No electronics are immune to the damage. Smoke knows no bounds when it comes to ruining your equipment. A restoration specialist will carefully examine all of your electronics in your home, including televisions, desktops, laptops, stereos, DVD players and anything else that may have been exposed to the smoke.

Fires of any size or seriousness can cause major problems to your home and to your valuables inside. You need a fire cleanup expert to assess the smoke damage to your electronics. When you get a specially trained professional on the case, you have a greater chance of salvaging your electronics in Acton, MT.

What Will Renters Insurance Cover?

11/23/2021 (Permalink)

Renters insurance form and dollars on the table. Renters insurance provides a lot of protection that you might not expect.

What Does Renters Insurance Include?

When you're renting, many circumstances are different from those of other homeowners in Laurel, MT, including who's responsible for maintenance and whether you can operate a business from your home. One important difference is what renters insurance covers if a fire breaks out. Your top concerns may include

  • Your possessions
  • Injuries and your responsibility
  • Temporary housing
  • The structure of the property

Belongings Replacement

Much of the time, insurance covers the content of your home and should cover the replacement cost of those items. Read through the policy thoroughly to be sure you're not getting "actual cash value" or you could end up with only a few bucks for a computer you've had for a few years.

Liability Protection

What if you leave a lit candle on the shelf when you leave your apartment? What happens if the neighbor's property is damaged because of negligence? Fortunately, the renters insurance will protect you when a third party is injured or when their property suffers fire damage. This may include medical payments that your neighbors' experience because of injuries suffered while evacuating the building or because of smoke inhalation.

Secure Lodgings

This insurance is also in place to cover expenses such as a hotel room while your apartment is unusable. Fire restoration professionals can often provide an estimate regarding how long you'll be displaced. Discuss the details of this situation with your insurance agent before you make long-term plans for your hotel stay.

Building Damage

Be aware that insurance for renters usually does not cover the structure of the building. You may be responsible for paying for those repairs yourself. Reconstruction costs can be expensive, so make sure to discuss this possibility with your insurance agent.

Renters insurance provides a lot of protection that you might not expect. As you discuss your need for insurance, don't forget to ask your agent about possible outcomes and expenses. Often your best option is to plan for the worst, so you aren't left unprepared.

Business Ownership 101: Should I Have a Flood Policy?

11/18/2021 (Permalink)

Hans of a person signing an insurance form, Get your flood-ready commercial insurance policy today.

Do You Need Commercial Insurance for Flooding?

When it comes to who needs to buy flood insurance, most business owners in Acton, MT think of those in high-risk, flood plain areas. But experts say inlets and small creeks can swell as much as a mighty river under heavy rains, and businesses even remotely close to floodplains should prepare themselves. Not convinced you need commercial insurance for flooding? Here are reasons to bite the bullet.

Because Standard Insurance Won’t Cover Flood Damage

Many business owners incorrectly believe their standard insurance covers flood damage. While some policies cover things like sewer backups, damage from flooding is typically covered under a separate policy. That means if you don’t pay for a flood policy and a hurricane hits, you’re out of luck.

Because Risk Extends Past the Flood Plain

Many people think since they are on a hill or are inland, far from the coast, that they aren’t threatened by flooding. But experts say living within a 20-mile radius of a floodplain can make you just as susceptible to those right in the middle of the high-risk area. They point to land that can quickly become water choked in heavy rains, leading to flash flooding.

Because Costs for the Uninsured Are Pretty Hefty

Unfortunately, the options are limited to avoid coming out of pocket if you are hit with flood damage. FEMA may provide some limited coverage but typically not enough to cover all losses. The good news is, there are lots of options when it comes to buying a flood policy. The National Flood Insurance Program underwrites the bulk of the nation’s flood insurance policies and there are many providers of commercial insurance policies.

By the time the storm hits, it’s too late to think about flood insurance. Get your flood-ready commercial insurance policy today and rest assured that if the next record-setting storm hits close to home, you’re prepared for the worst.

Basement Floods: 4 Common Causes

11/18/2021 (Permalink)

Completely flooded basement. It is visible line showing maximum water level higher than 7 feet. Flooded basement in Billings, MT.

Basement Floods

A basement flood may be on the top-ten list of most homeowner’s nightmares, but while it is worrisome, it may also be preventable with routine maintenance and inspection. Granted, no amount of preventative action will result in a definitive defense, but it can diminish the risks exponentially. If you want to protect your basement, then watch out for these four most common problem areas.

1. Improper Sealant

Water damage does not always have to be caused by a significant issue. Surprisingly, the improper use or inadequate coverage of sealant can allow moisture to seep into your basement causing a consistent water problem. Thankfully, you can get kits and products to seal your basement yourself.

2. Blocked Gutter

Another common cause of a basement flood is a clogged gutter. The consensus is that gutters need to be cleaned a minimum of five times per year. Regular maintenance of gutters and downspouts can ensure that rainwater is directed away from the foundation of your house rather than overflowing the eaves and flooding your basement.

3. Failed Sump Pump

Failed sump pumps can also lead to a flooded basement. Sump pumps, like any other appliance, require routine maintenance to function correctly. Cleaning out filters, checking on suction and inspecting power regularly can help prevent many sump pump malfunctions.

4. Clogged Drain

A clogged drain can be the most common cause of flooding because it disrupts the natural flow of water, forcing the liquid to either backup or exert excess pressure on the pipe, leading to leaks or pipe breaks. If you notice a drain is not functioning normally, you may want to snake the drain yourself or have a professional from the Billings, MT, area check it out for you.

A basement flood may be a nuisance and can be damaging. While many of the most common issues can be resolved quickly without going to significant expense, the problem with flooding in this type of area is that not everyone notices the issue right away. Routine maintenance and even inspection of common problem areas may be necessary to prevent significant costs later.

Why Is Emergency Sprinkler Maintenance Important?

10/29/2021 (Permalink)

red head of a fire sprinkler Many commercial buildings are required to have a fire sprinkler system in place.

What Is the Importance of Emergency Sprinkler Maintenance?

In Comanche, MT, many commercial buildings are required to have a fire sprinkler system in place. This system plays a major role in putting out fires. To get the best benefit, you have to have your sprinklers maintained and inspected regularly. A fire restoration specialist may be able to help you understand the importance of this emergency system. A working system can help do the following:

Contain a Fire: While other alarm systems warn occupants of the potential danger of a fire, the fire sprinkler actually works to start dampening the flames. While the water isn't always enough to completely put out the fire, it usually helps slow down the growth.

Increase Personal Safety: Because the sprinklers work to contain and suppress flames, they help keep people safe. The fire suppression system can even give firefighters more time to help get trapped people out of the building.

Reduce Property Damage: Flames can turn your property into ashes fairly quickly. When you add the deluge of water to that scenario, you end up with less loss. Some of your belongings could now have water damage, but that's better than completely losing your possessions.

Sense Fires: A well-maintained fire sprinkler system turns on when a fire breaks out. Each sprinkler head has a sensor that reads heat, and they only turn on when the heat is at a specific temperature.

Protect One Area: Not every sprinkler in the system has to turn on when a fire erupts. If you maintain your sprinklers properly, you may be able to rely on only one area of heads turning on. This can help save you from water damage in the rest of your building.

If you don't do regular fire sprinkler cleanup in your commercial building, you could be leaving yourself in harm's way. The system is very useful in quenching and slowing down flames, but it can only work when it is properly maintained.