Natural Disaster Tips
After a natural disaster like a hurricane or a tornado, your first priority will be to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. When the storm passes there will likely be challenges to face, but there are a few things you can do to help make sure you stay protected when it comes to your home and finances.
Before Making Repairs, Document the Natural Disaster Damage
It’s normal to want to start making repairs as soon as you can, but it’s recommended that you document any natural disaster damage first. This will likely help in discussions with your insurance company. Once you’ve protected your home from further damage, take photographs of debris and other natural disaster damages before removing or repairing anything.
If You Have Been Temporarily Relocated, Save Your Receipts
Your homeowner’s insurance policy may cover living expenses if your home has natural disaster damage and you need to leave it temporarily. It’s best to keep a record of all of your expenses during this time so that you have a record of what you spend, and so that you can submit them to your adjuster and insurance company for reimbursement consideration. If you have to leave your home and your address will change temporarily, it is important to update your contact information with your mortgage company. If you’re a Mr. Cooper customer, you can call 888-480-2432 or make updates through your online account.
Beware of Fraud After Natural Disasters — From Home Repair Scams to Price Gouging
Home repair scams and price gouging efforts increase after natural disasters. Consider finding a contractor through a recommendation from someone who can vouch for their work. Be wary of contractors who ask for large amounts of money upfront or provide very low bids. Get multiple bids, set an agreement in writing, and make sure your contractor is insured. Keep these “red flags” in mind, too:
- Unsolicited phone calls or visits
- Fake officials or people impersonating government officials
- Credentials that cannot be easily checked, such as a contractor address that can’t be verified
- Price-busting promises, or people who promise a hefty discount without telling you the total cost of the job
- Scare tactics or high-pressure sales tactics
How to Properly Wear a Mask
Proper use of PPE
Below are tips on when to wear a mask:
-Wear a mask if you are in public or in close contact with others.
-Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
-Masks are effective only when used along with frequent hand-cleaning with soap and water.
How to properly wear a mask:
-Before putting on a mask, clean hands with soap and water.
-Cover your mouth and nose with the mask and make sure there are no gaps.
-Avoid touching the mask while using it; if you do, clean your hands with soap and water.
-Replace the mask with a new one as soon as it is damp. Do not re-use single-use masks.
-To remove the mask, remove it from behind your ears (do not touch the front of mask); discard immediately and clean your hands with soap and water.
We are Cleaning Experts
SERVPRO of Castle Rock/PArker is Here to Help during this time of need
During this unprecedented time caused by the global pandemic of coronavirus, this is a reminder to our customers that we are specialists in cleaning services, and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards.
We are prepared to clean and disinfect your home or business, according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform on a daily basis. The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and tables. Other spaces mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces include:
• Kitchen/Food Areas
• Retail Spaces
• Water Fountains
• Sales Counters
• Carpets and Rugs
• Stair Handrails
• Elevator Cars
• Playground Equipment
• Fitness Equipment
The CDC recommends usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar pathogens to the coronavirus. Multiple products in the SERVPRO product line carry the EPA-approved emerging pathogens claims. While there is currently no product tested against this particular strain of the coronavirus, we are following all guidelines as provided by the CDC and local authorities.
Call Today for a Proactive Cleaning
If your home or business needs deep cleaning services, call the experts today – SERVPRO of Castle Rock/Parker, 303-576-6868
Note to Customers
Your wellbeing is our number one concern. We are proud of the community we serve, and we want you to know we are committed to doing everything within our power to help limit the spread of SARS-CoV-2, and its resulting disease, coronavirus (COVID-19), and any other widely spread illnesses including the flu and cold.
Over the past few weeks, it has become clear the world is facing an unprecedented challenge. Like you, we are deeply concerned and want to do what we can to help keep our teammates, customers and community safe and healthy.
Our hearts and thoughts go out to all who have been affected by this unprecedented event. We appreciate the healthcare workers, local communities and governments around the world who are on the front line working to contain this coronavirus. From the onset of this situation, we have been listening to the Center for Disease Control and other appropriate sources for accurate and up to date information so we can adapt quickly to provide the level of service you expect from SERVPRO.
We are prepared, trained and equipped to proactively clean and minimize the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 as well as provide cleaning and disinfectant services to those who have experienced confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19.
What we are doing:
- Introducing additional rigorous cleaning and disinfecting procedures while taking sensible steps to protect our team. This means frequent and routine disinfecting of our equipment, vehicles, touch points (bathrooms, handles, common areas) at our facility.
- Strictly enforcing our employee illness policy. Teammates showing any signs of cold, flu or respiratory illness are prohibited from working.
- Focusing on teammate health and safety. We are sharing the latest information with everyone on our team and ensuring they are aware of the frequent need to wash their hands and avoid touching their face.
- Monitoring new developments so we can quickly adapt to continue to provide the level of service you need and the best possible experience.
We recognize this is a challenging time for all, and we remain deeply committed to the safety of our teammates, customers and community. Our customers, subcontractors and teammates are the heart of our company and we look forward to continuing our service to you.
Please take care of yourselves and each other. We are all in this together.
SERVPRO of Castle Rock/Parker
Is Storm Damage Tax Deductible?
Colorado storms—whether they bring heavy snow, rain, or hail—have the potential to cause millions of dollars in damages for home and business owners. And, because our weather patterns here are so unpredictable, damaging storms are often impossible to prepare for.
This climatic feature of our state can create a concerning scenario for anyone who has a vested interest in maintaining the condition of any real estate in Colorado, whether commercial or residential. Here among the Rockies, damaging storms are almost always just around the corner.
To be sure, Colorado roofing firms and general contractors are always hopping busy. It’s clear this is one of the most profitable places for restoration companies to thrive. And, because of the frequency of damaging storms, a common question arises: “Is storm damage a tax deductible loss?”
At SERVPRO of Parker/Castle Rock, we specialize in providing the advanced, comprehensive restoration services that are needed to fix the damage caused by storms in Colorado. We work with both businesses and homeowners, and we’ve seen just about the worst that storms can do (along with the most costly damages you can imagine).
So, we know a thing or two about the expenses associated with storm damage.
The Answer Is: It Depends
As you likely know, if you earn money in Colorado, you owe taxes both to the state and to the federal government.
When you incur a casualty loss—which is the technical, ‘tax term’ for storm damage—your deductions on your state taxes will likely not change. That is, unless you were affected by a national disaster, in which case you’ll want to complete a specific form when you file. More information on this unique kind of state tax deduction can be found here.
However, when it comes to filing your federal taxes, there are possible tax deductions for which you might be eligible. A few important conditions must be met, though, in order for your deduction to be legitimate:
- Your property must have suffered a loss to its fair market value (FMV) because of a casualty event. This could be much more than a storm, by the way—damage caused by landslides, tornadoes, and even falling aircraft can qualify as casualty losses.
- If your property was insured, you must complete a timely claim for reimbursement by your insurance company. Uncle Sam wants you to recoup your costs as much as you can before you file for any deductions. Any losses you incur that were not included in your insurance reimbursement would qualify for a deduction, minus a few ‘administrative’ subtractions.
- You must deduct $100 and 10% of your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) from the calculated loss. Let’s say storm damage destroyed your roof and you need a completely new one. But, your insurance company will only pay for $25,000 of the $30,000 bill. You would take the $5,000 difference, reduce it by $100, and then subtract 10% of your AGI in order to arrive at the proper deduction.
- You must file this deduction during the tax year when the damage occurred. The only exception to this rule is if your property was located in a designated national disaster area, in which case you have other options for what tax year you can file your deduction in.
For some property owners who work from home, it might be tempting to deduct any loss of income you might have experienced because of storm damage. Unfortunately, the federal government doesn’t consider this a qualifying condition for a tax deduction.
Commercial properties or income properties are treated slightly differently by the IRS, and it’s advisable to consult with a tax professional in the event your business or income property was damaged by a storm and that damage prevented your property from producing an income. Depending on the extent of the damage and how much income was lost, you could qualify for more than one federal tax deduction.
For Storm Damage Cleanup, Go with the Pros
Even though the tax code may be complex and confusing, working with SERVPRO to restore your storm-damaged property won’t be. We specialize in doing the ‘dirty work’ required to bring damaged property back from dereliction and destruction at the hands of Mother Nature.
Our team is expertly trained to swiftly and effectively restore damaged property so that the disruption to your life or business is reduced as much as possible.
Looking for top-tier storm damage restoration? Give SERVPRO of Parker/Castle Rock a call today, at (720) 842-1950.
Maintenance to Prevent Water Damage
SERVPRO of Castle Rock/Parker specializes in the cleanup and remediation of water damage.
So, as you might expect, we’ve seen some of the worst possible water damage, from burst water heaters to ruptured pipes to actual flooding.
What’s remarkable about many cases of water damage is that, often, the damage could have been prevented with proper maintenance. This is something that many home and business owners simply do not know, which is why we’re dedicating this week’s blog post to the basic maintenance you can do to prevent water damage to your home or commercial building.
[Note: Please keep in mind that these tips are not provided as guarantees against water damage, and every property is going to differ when it comes to maintenance best practices.]
#1: Disconnect garden hoses, especially during the fall and winter months.
We see this a lot: when hoses are left attached to a water source, the standing water within them can often freeze. When this happens, the freezing water expands, and the ice blockage travels inside the building, sometimes causing pipe bursts and subsequent water damage to the property.
This can happen even when the interior temperature of the building is significantly higher than the outside temperature. As a general rule, disconnect all hoses from their spigots when they’re not in use.
#2: Perform quarterly inspections of all water-using appliances.
Every few months, make it a point to inspect the operational condition of the appliances in your home or office. Pay extra attention to the connections between the appliance and the water supply, looking for leaks, corrosion, or loose fittings.
If your dishwasher, water heater, clothes washer, or other water-using appliance is in need of repair or replacement, doing so sooner than later can help protect you from costly water damage down the line.
#3: Consider installing water detection devices.
Small, battery-powered devices that detect moisture can be installed near water heaters, toilets, and other appliances. They will emit an alarm when moisture levels reach a certain threshold, giving you the opportunity to get ahead of leaks and overflows before they cause serious damage.
Installing these devices may be overkill for smaller homes, but for those with numerous water-carrying appliances, they can offer much-needed peace of mind.
#4: Unblock gutters, downspouts, and other external water routing hardware.
It’s tempting to let debris-filled gutters go unattended for months or even years. However, doing so could be setting you up for water damage.
When the water routing system on your roof isn’t functioning effectively, spillover can wreak havoc on the ground below. Standing water begins to accumulate, and before long, water intrusion starts taking its toll.
Also, blocked gutters can cause water to collect on the roof. This pooling can freeze in the colder months, causing expansion that can burst gutters and downspouts, causing potentially thousands in damage.
To address this, inspect your gutters, downspouts and other water runoff routing hardware for signs of blockages, and clear them away on a regular basis.
#5: Take a water pressure reading.
Most residential and commercial buildings have adequate water pressure regulation, but this isn’t always the case.
Having exceptionally high water pressure puts a lot of strain on the pipes and valves that are integral to the water transmission system within your home or commercial building. This strain can cause leaking and bursting without any warning whatsoever.
To take a water pressure reading, buy a water pressure gauge at your local hardware store, install it onto an external water spigot, and then turn the water on to maximum flow. If the water pressure reading exceeds 100 PSI, you’re going to want to install a water pressure regulator (also available at most hardware stores).
#6: Keep tabs on your water use by checking your bill for spikes.
If your home or commercial building uses a ‘normal’ amount of water most months and then, suddenly, you notice your water bill spike, there could be a leak somewhere.
Surprise water leaks can be insidious, not to mention very costly. Not only are you paying for the wasted water, but it’s possible the water being wasted is also causing damage to the building. If you suspect this is happening, put on your detective hat and try to get to the source of the mystery water leak.
Is the Damage Already Done? Contact SERVPRO.
If your home or commercial building has already been marred by water damage, then it’s time to take action to remediate it. That’s why your local SERVPRO is available, 24 hours a day, to assess water damage and take the necessary steps to repair it.
To get started, contact us today.
Is Water Damage Covered by Insurance?
When you wake up to a flooding basement because of a faulty water pipe, it can be worrying and especially when you realize that the floor is damaged. Among the first questions that you will probably ask yourself is if you have water damage insurance coverage. Water damage insurance is a protection that is provided to most homeowners against accidental and sudden water damage. Insurance does not cover water damage resulting from negligence or lack of maintenance.
Under most standard homes insurance policies, the water damage that occurs suddenly or by accident from a cause inside like a busted pipe is likely to be covered by the insurance. If the water damage is from outside your home, it won't be covered by your standard plan, though, and you can inquire about special covering from costs related flood with flood insurance. This is a separate plan that can be added to your existing coverage.
There are several types of water damage which might be covered or not covered by insurance like:
- Accidental or Sudden Discharge
- Water backup or Sewer backup
AND WHEN DOES INSURANCE COVER YOU?
Insurance will cover water damage in these cases;
- Plumbing issues such as faulty plumbing burst pipes, frozen plumbing, or accidental overflow
- Snow or rainstorm
- Water damage that can result from extinguishing a fire
- A leaking roof (this coverage might extend just to the interior of the home, excluding the roof)
- An unintended overflow of a piece of equipment (like the toilet, bathtub, washing machine,)
- Mold (only if it is the result of the covered water damage)
WHEN DOES INSURANCE FAIL TO COVER WATER DAMAGE?
Water damage is not for all time covered by your insurance if it has not resulted from an accident or a sudden, unanticipated incident. Water damage from lack of maintenance and neglect will mean that you are personally responsible for meeting the cost of repairs. Some of the situations where insurance doesn't cover water damage include;
- Water or sewer pipe backups
- Ground leakage
- Poorly-maintained pipes that make them leak
- Gradual water damages, which happens gradually over causing damage to your property.
Water damage insurance coverage will not cover water damage that results from a flood, also; for that, you will require to buy additional flood insurance and mainly if you live in a high-risk region susceptible to flooding
MOLD FROM WATER DAMAGE
Mold is prevalent, and it usually results from water damages though it is not at all the time covered by insurance. It is costly to get rid of a mold invasion; your insurance may assist in covering the removal of the mold, but this will depend on what caused it in the first place.
WHEN DOES INSURANCE COVER MOLD?
Mold is only covered if it has resulted from water damage. If molds grow as a result of situations such as AC system overflow or burst pipes, your insurance will cover every or a little of the mold removal fee since the mold is regarded as an extension of water damage. Otherwise, mold infestations are not covered if it has resulted from neglect or lack of maintenance.
Before purchasing a water damage insurance coverage, ensure that you have understood all your insurance policy coverage, and the exclusions, and your responsibilities as a property holder.
For more information on water damage, contact SERVPRO today.
How Does the Commercial Restoration Process Work?
Disasters such as fire, mold, or even flooding and water damage can happen at any time. But when it happens to a commercial property, not only is the property damaged but also disrupts business operations. Whether it's a small enterprise or large corporation, the devastating effects of any disaster can be confusing and overwhelming to deal with.
Thus, the commercial restoration process must be comprehensive and effective to get your business back running in the shortest time possible. This informative guide is designed to help business and property owners understand the restoration process in the event of a disaster.
Most restoration companies offer 24 hour restoration service. A round-the-clock customer service provides you with quick access to request for restoration services. The restoration process typically begins with contacting the restoration company. On the call, a trained technician will guide you through the process and ease your mind.
Upon the arrival of the restoration team, a thorough assessment of your property is done to determine the extent of damage caused. Based on the findings, the team will formulate the best plan of action for the restoration process. At the same time, this will allow them to create an accurate estimate of the expected reconstruction cost, obtain necessary permits for restoration, and, the expected date of completion.
DOCUMENT FOR INSURANCE
Proper documentation of the damage is crucial when filing an insurance claim. During the assessment phase, it is paramount that you are as detailed as possible when documenting. The documentation can include having photos of your property taken both inside and outside to showcase the extent of the damage. Ensure your pictures are clear and detailed.
This will help determine and prove the replacement costs and will make the claims process a lot easier. At every phase, have your insurance company's details readily available and maintain the necessary info they may need well- organized to ensure a seamless restoration process.
MITIGATION AND SALVAGE OF ITEMS
Mitigation may be necessary depending on the severity of the damage to prevent any further damage to your property. After disaster mitigation, any salvageable item inside is moved to a secure location. This helps minimize the losses you'd have incurred.
An efficient commercial restoration plan should include cleaning, drying, and deodorizing much of the salvaged items to make them usable again.
The fifth phase of the process will include a full cleanup effort. Using advanced restoration equipment, the team will eliminate debris and other contaminants from your property. Then, apply sanitizers and disinfectants to ensure proper compliance with applicable regulations, protocols and best practices.
The last step is the reconstruction phase, which may include doing repairs and renovations. At this time, your commercial property is reconstructed to make it functional again. This is usually the longest part of the process. But the time taken to complete is determined by the severity of the damage sustained.
Working with a professional commercial restoration service ensures they have the expertise necessary to handle and execute your property reconstruction in a timely, affordable way.
Are you looking for professional commercial restoration services? Contact us today the moment a disaster has occurred to your commercial property for expert mitigation and restoration services.
Be Prepared For A Home Fire!
Be prepared for a house fire.
• Install smoke alarms on every level of the home and outside each sleeping area. For the best protection, install interconnected smoke alarms in each bedroom and throughout the home. When one sounds, they all sound.
• Test alarms once a month. Change batteries at least once a year. Replace alarms every ten years.
• Consider installing smoke alarms with a “long-life” (10-year) battery. These alarms must be tested once a month.
• Consider installing a residential automatic fire sprinkler system.
• Plan and practice your family’s escape route. Make sure every room has two ways out. Make sure all doors and windows open easily. Consider escape ladders for upper floors and make sure security bars on your doors and windows open easily from the inside. Remember to plan for your pets.
• Never use flammable liquids inside and store them in approved containers in well-ventilated areas. Safely discard all rags or materials that have been soaked in flammable liquids outside in a metal container.
• Inspect your chimney regularly. Clear any branches and debris from the chimney area. Make sure your chimney is at least three feet taller than the roof, insulated, and equipped with spark arresters on top.
• Keep space heaters at least three feet from combustibles and away from open flames.
• Keep matches and lighters up high, away from children’s sight and reach.
• If you smoke, smoke outside. Use large deep, sturdy ashtrays.
• Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove. If you are simmering, boiling, baking or roasting food, check it regularly, remain in the home while food is cooking, and use a timer to remind you that the stove or oven is on.
• Have an electrician check and maintain the wiring in your building. Inspect cords for frayed or exposed wiring and loosened plugs. Do not run wires or cords under rugs, over nails, or across high-traffic areas. Do not overload extension cords. Make sure insulation does not touch bare electrical wiring. • Inspect and clean dryer filters and exhaust frequently.
• Get out and stay out. Call the fire department from outside the home and do not return into the building until firefighters give the okay.
• If fire or smoke blocks your escape route, use your second way out. If you must pass through smoke, get low and go under the smoke and close doors behind you.
• If you need to open a closed door, feel the door. If it’s hot, use your second way out.
• If smoke, heat, or flames prevent you from exiting a room, keep the door closed, call for help and wait by the window for rescue.
• Evacuate immediately if you detect heat or smoke in a fire-damaged building.
• If you are a tenant, contact the landlord.
• If you have a safe or strongbox, wait several hours before opening it. It can hold intense heat and if you open it before it is completely cool, the contents could burst into flames.
• If you must leave your home after a fire because the building inspector has deemed it unsafe, ask someone you trust to watch the property in your absence.
Commercial property insurance covers businesses for losses due to certain covered events, such as fire, theft, vandalism, or natural disaster. This coverage helps business owners protect their valuable assets, such as an owned or leased building, tools, equipment, machinery, or inventory. Commercial property insurance rates typically average $500 to $1,000 per year.
Commercial Property Insurance Rates
The cost of business property insurance varies depending on the value of the property to be insured, the location of the business, and the coverage limits and deductible you choose. There are several other factors affecting the cost of commercial property insurance, but most small businesses will pay $500 to $1,000 per year in premium.
Some insurance providers will allow you to include commercial property insurance in a business owners policy (BOP), which is a bundled package of multiple insurance types. The cost of the package as a whole is often less than the underlying policies if purchased separately.
The most important factors that affect the cost of business property insurance include:
- Geography: Everything from the land value of your business location to local crime rates can impact the annual cost of your premium.
- Safety and Security: This expands on the geography and location aspect. Is your commercial property located in a high crime area? Are there hazardous materials stored in your building or nearby?
- Size of Business Premises: A large commercial building will generally cost more to cover than a single unit office space.
- Age of Building: Old buildings can be more susceptible to certain types of damage, so they may cost more to insure. For example, a fire caused by old electrical wiring could translate into costly repairs if the building needs to be rebuilt to code.
- Type of Equipment: Heavy industrial equipment will cost more to insure than an at-home business’ sewing machine.
- Age of Equipment: You may pay higher premiums if your equipment is hard to repair because of scarce parts or if it’s more likely to break down because of heavy use.
Insurance companies will charge more for greater risk exposures that require higher coverage limits. It’s important to remain aware of the risk exposures of your business and the assets that you need covered.
Use an Agent or Broker Who Understands Your Business
Commercial property insurance is a type of small business insurance and is not specific to any particular industry. Keep in mind that not every insurance company will have intimate knowledge of your business or the risk exposures that need protection. When shopping for a commercial property insurance policy, try to find an agent or broker who understands your business or industry type.
How Commercial Property Insurance Works
A commercial property insurance policy is non-industry specific, which means that the coverage is mostly standard across all business types. However, commercial property insurance is not a one-size-fits-all product. Policies will differ in a few key areas, such as the coverage limits, how assets are valued, and what’s covered and not covered in the policy.
What Commercial Property Insurance Covers
Your insurance policy will cover certain perils, which are causes of damage such as fire or theft. Coverages included in your policy are called inclusions, whereas perils not covered in your policy are called exclusions. It’s important to know what is covered in your policy and what is not covered.
Here are some of the primary items covered in a commercial property insurance policy due to loss from a covered peril:
- The building, owned or leased
- Business equipment loss
- Damage or loss due to wind, hail, fire or theft
- Accidental damage of property
- Business Interruption (lost business income)
- Electronic data
- Interruption of computer operations
- Valuable papers and records
- Forgery or alteration
- Accounts receivable
Of the covered items in a commercial property insurance policy, the most important items to cover are the building and the business’ assets contained within it. Business interruption, which covers a loss of income when your business is forced to suspend operations due to a covered event, is also necessary coverage in the property insurance policy.
For more information about Commercial Insurance visit Fit Small Business: Get Your Business Into Shape!