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Understanding Property Damage Insurance

1/6/2020 (Permalink)

View of a desk in an office, the hands of two people, one is signing documents Investing in commercial insurance can make recuperating easier

Business owners in Raytown, MO, have a lot on their plates. From dealing with day-to-day operations, personnel and much more, a sense of security can often be lacking. Luckily, when it comes to protecting a business from the unthinkable, investing in commercial insurance can make recuperating easier.

What Does Commercial Property Insurance Cover?

At the basic level, this type of coverage helps a business deal with issues from events such as fire damage, explosion, storms, vandalism, theft and pipe bursts. Typically, phenomena like earthquakes and floods, as well as interruption loss, will require an additional layer of coverage. Other items often not covered include:

  • Internal theft
  • Vehicle damage or loss
  • Stolen cash or currency
  • Environmental damage
  • Equipment failures
  • Defective products

When personalizing coverage, it is important to take an inventory of the vital elements inside and outside of the building business is conducted to ensure full coverage of losses. The following should be assessed:

  • Business structure, including leased or owned space.
  • Office equipment and supplies, including computers, furniture, phones and copiers.
  • Vital documentation records, such as accounting or client data
  • Inventory on-site
  • Landscaping, fencing and outdoor furniture
  • Business signs, satellite dishes, security systems and other outdoor equipment

Coverage Options

Once you have an inventory of everything that needs to be covered, you can work with an agent to determine the type of commercial insurance coverage. Most plans reimburse loss based on the cost of replacement or the cash value of an item. It will also include costs of associated restoration services, depending on the situation. A replacement cost takes into consideration the repairs needed to rebuild without depreciation while a cash value payout provides funds to replace with a comparable item, including depreciation.
No matter the size of a business, commercial insurance is necessary to be ready for the unthinkable. Although it is an added cost, it is worth it if disaster hits.

Black Mold and Air Ducts: A Dangerous Combination

1/6/2020 (Permalink)

Dust accumulated on air duct Dust that accumulates in your air ducts can lead to microbial growth

While the presence of black mold anywhere in your Kansas City, MO, commercial property is always a nuisance, it can be especially troublesome if it grows inside the air ducts. The air system can spread the mold throughout the entire location, increasing the damage around the area and endangering the health of anyone nearby, including employees and clients. Continue reading to learn more about the mold, how to remove it and how to prevent it in a timely manner.

Understanding the Mold

This type of mold, also known as Stachybotrys Chartarum, is distinct due to its darker hues of green or gray. This fungus feeds on organic matter such dust, cotton and wood. Due to its feeding habits, it is attracted to carpeting, walls, insulation and other locations that have organic material, as well as moist or isolated places. Filthy air vents and ducts can create the perfect habitat for mold.

Removal Process

If you suspect there is black mold within your air system, you will need to contact professional mold remediation. The specialists providing this service take a multi-step approach to the situation.

Inspect ducts to confirm mold
Remove and replace affected insulation
Disinfect and clean ducts using appropriate tools
Find source of mold and eliminate it

This process may become more complex depending on each case. It is crucial to detect the signs immediately and call for assistance.

Preventing the Mold

The best way to prevent mold inside your air ducts is by disrupting the perfect environment for its growth. You can stop dust buildup by changing the air filter regularly and cleaning the systems at least twice a year. Additionally, control the building's moisture by improving ventilation and fixing water damage, since humidity can also attract mold.
Black mold can not only thrive in the air system, but it can also spread throughout your property and create many problems. Attentiveness and decisive action can halt the situation before it begins.

Safe Cleanup of Water Leaking Into Light Fixtures

12/23/2019 (Permalink)

Water leaking from ceiling near the lamp Water damage in light fixture

Safe Cleanup of Water Leaking Into Light Fixtures

It is not uncommon to find water in light fixtures, or even ceiling damage following a winter with a heavy snow load, or a series of rainstorms. This damage may not always be a major problem, but could definitely develop into such if allowed to continue.

Leaks of this nature may come from a leaking flange around a chimney or vent on the roof which has developed a gap, infiltration by birds or squirrels, or from an aging roof. It may also come from an overhead pipe that is leaking due to settling, loosening of joints or freezing temperatures. Finding and repairing the point where water is getting in is important and should be given priority attention.

How To Handle Cleanup

In order to prevent worsening damage from the water leaking in through the roof, immediate cleanup needs to take place.

The attic space should be inspected to see if the insulation has become saturated. Not only can that put an excess load on the ceiling, but it can also develop mold if left alone. It may need to be removed and replaced.
If the leak is from a pipe running above the ceiling, be sure to shut the water off as soon as possible to stop the leaking.
If you find water in light fixtures, shut off the electricity to all affected fixtures before attempting to inspect or replace it, and do not turn electricity back on until certain all water has stopped leaking.

Get Professional Help

Call a water damage cleanup specialist in Unity Village, MO, to evaluate any ceiling damage and make a plan for repair. They can determine which materials need to be replaced, ensure that any mold is cleaned and removed, and restore your home to a safe condition.

If you do find water in light fixtures in your home, take it as a serious hint that some repair and cleanup is needed. This will help prevent a worse scenario and help you get your home restored to a safer and healthier condition.

How To Use Building Envelopes To Keep Your Property Dry

12/18/2019 (Permalink)

Construction details - framing installing the roof truss system When building or remodeling the envelope for your property, you should take certain additional steps to keep the area secure

How To Use Building Envelopes To Keep Your Property Dry

Rain damage can harm a Unity Village, MO, commercial building in several ways. It creates an overflow of water, which may necessitate expensive flood cleanup. The water can destroy both the structure of a building and the contents inside it. Rain damage can also lead to a buildup of toxic black mold.
Thankfully, there are ways to prevent major storm damage to your property. One common tactic is securing the building envelope. This envelope consists of the wall systems and the roof, and it has several functions. They include:

  • Resisting the escape of cool or hot air
  • Diverting water to the storm drains
  • Protecting and supporting equipment
  • Defending the building from snow or rain

Securing the Envelope
Water penetration is responsible for the majority of harm to buildings. Flood damage, in particular, can be costly. Worst of all, water does not need a lot of space to get inside a property. A hole as small as 0.005 inches is all it takes.
This hole can result from cracks in the plaster and brick that make up the walls. Poorly installed joints can cause gaps, as well. To limit the rain damage to your property, be sure to seal as many of these openings as possible.

Designing the Envelope
When building or remodeling the envelope for your property, you should take certain additional steps to keep the area secure. If possible, limit the number of protrusions you use. You should also avoid using too many different cladding materials. You may want to include rain screens and capillary breaks, as well.
There are backup systems you can install, too. You can utilize weep holes that drain excess water to the outside of the building. You can also use through-wall flashing to divert moisture to the exterior.
Proper maintenance of your commercial building envelope can prevent rain damage. However, if your property does sustain a leak, storm cleanup specialists can assist with the restoration process.

4 Tips For Dealing With an Overflowing Toilet

12/10/2019 (Permalink)

Overflowing broken toilet An overflowing toilet can be an annoyance, or it can be a sign of sewer damage

4 Tips For Dealing With an Overflowing Toilet

An overflowing toilet can be an annoyance, or it can be a sign of sewer damage. From clogs to broken pipes, there are a variety of reasons why water might be backing up in your toilet. If you are having this problem in your Kansas City, MO, home, keep the following tips in mind.

1. Stop the Water Source

If the water stops overflowing when you do not flush the toilet, then you might be dealing with a simple clog. However, if it keeps filling up even when you aren’t using it, there might be a more serious problem. In this case, it can be helpful to limit water usage and turn off appliances that could contribute to water backup.

2. Wear Protective Clothing

A flooded toilet often contains category 3 or black water. It can carry significant amounts of bacteria and sewage. Because this can be hazardous to your health, you should avoid the water if you can. If you need to be around it, be sure to wear gloves and other protective gear.

3. Set Aside Wet Items

If your home has sewer damage, you will need to report it to your insurance company who will send an adjuster to inspect your house. If any items have been damaged, you should set these aside as evidence of the damage. Move any items that have not been affected to a dry location.

4. Contain the Area

If the water has not stopped rising, you should block off the bathroom with boards, tarps or other waterproof materials. This will keep the water from spreading to other areas and causing more damage. A sewage company can help with this step.
Because sewer damage often involves contaminated water, it is not recommended that you clean it on your own. Instead, hire a cleanup and restoration company to remove the water and sanitize any affected areas. They can also make needed repairs and salvage damaged belongings.

Be Safer With a Home Fire Extinguisher

11/24/2019 (Permalink)

Red tank of fire extinguisher Preparation can help you avoid a disaster however, so keep a couple extinguishers at hand

Be Safer With a Home Fire Extinguisher

Small incidental fires can begin at home for several reasons; a cigarette, a grease fire on the stovetop, or a lit candle or space heater left unattended. A small home fire can often be put out with a fire extinguisher, rather than calling the fire department in Raytown, MO. That, of course depends on the size of the fire and the type of extinguisher you have.

Get the Right Extinguisher

Part of fire preparedness is knowing which kind of fire extinguisher is best for certain fires. Understanding the difference is of great importance, as some can do more harm than good. The following list explains the difference.

Type A – Suitable for everyday combustibles such as paper, fabric and wood
Type B – Works best for fuels like gasoline, butane and for cooking oils
Type C – Most appropriate choice for electrical fires

Additional Information

Not only do extinguisher have different types, but they have other variations besides. Type A and B have a number before the letter to designate its effectiveness. A 4-A works better on a paper fire than a 2-A. If the unit has a C but no number ahead of it, it means it will not conduct electricity.

Which Extinguisher is Best?

The kind you decide to keep in your home depends on where you intend to keep it. You may decide you need more than one at hand for the greatest safety. For instance, you would do well to keep a type B in the kitchen where you are most likely to experience a grease fire. You might want to keep a type C near the breaker box and a type A near a home den, library or craft room.
In the event a larger blaze breaks out and you require more than a fire extinguisher, call 911 immediately. Then get help to assess fire damage and manage fire cleanup, call the fire and water restoration service in Raytown, MO for help. They can handle the fire damage cleanup and help get things back to normal. Preparation can help you avoid a disaster however, so keep a couple extinguishers at hand.

The Top 5 Places Where Mold Might Be Hiding

11/24/2019 (Permalink)

Collage of four pictures of mold present in a kitchen behind walls Kitchen mold damage in Kansas City, MO

Top Five Places Where Mold Might Be Lurking

While you can call a remediation company in Kansas City, MO, if you suspect a mold problem in your home, a team of professionals is not always immediately necessary. There are varying degrees of mold growth, from itemized occurrences to full-scale infestations. The best way to understand your current mold problem is to inspect your home and know the top five places where mold might be lurking.

  1. Behind walls
  2. Under flooring
  3. HVAC systems
  4. Beneath Sinks
  5. Mechanical Closet

Behind Walls

Mold exists in dark, damp spaces. Wall cavities provide an excellent environment for spores to thrive. While you might not expect a significant issue when you come across a small area of moldy drywall, know that when mold presents on the surface of a wall, it is likely well-developed behind as well.

Under Flooring

Similar to moldy walls, mold on wood floors typically suggests a more substantial issue beneath the floorboards. However, that doesn't only go for wood floors. Some flooring types exacerbate the problem because there are limited, if any, visual clues. For example, linoleum flooring is nonporous, which means that mold cannot penetrate through to the surface.

HVAC Systems

Unfortunately, when mold growth occurs anywhere in the house, your HVAC system may have been infiltrated as well. Look for signs of discoloration of vent covers and a musty odor coming through as well.

Beneath Sinks

Another common space for mold to develop is underneath sinks. While these areas are not as hidden as some, homeowners typically store cleaners and supplies under sinks, making it difficult to discern whether there are minor leaks that could create an environment for spores to settle and multiply.

Mechanical Closet

Last, similar to cabinets under sinks, a homes mechanical closet - the area where the water heater is found - is also a prime location for mold development. These spaces are often humid and dark, and because they are not checked on regularly, leaks do occur, leading to growth and reproduction of spores.
No homeowner wants mold growth developing in their home. Therefore, it is necessary to inspect your house vigilantly and to call for professional help when needed.

3 Tips for Recovering From Storm Damage

11/13/2019 (Permalink)

Broken window Broken window due to a storm in Unity Village, MO

When a serious storm is in the forecast, the potential for property damage is always present. Do you know what to do in the wake of an extreme weather event? Here are some storm tips to minimize the destruction and get back to normal after a storm hits your Unity Village, MO, property.

Types of Storm Damage

Storms can bring countless types of damage, from hail devastation to broken windows. Some of the most common and destructive forms of storm damage include:

  • Wind destruction
  • Flood problems
  • Electrical issues from lightning strikes

Any of these types of damage can result in extensive property destruction and considerable expense, especially if you don’t know how to handle the aftermath.

Contact Your Insurer

It may seem obvious, but many homeowners wait too long to contact their insurance providers after a storm. Getting in touch with your insurer to describe the wreckage as soon as possible can help you get a claim filed quickly. It can also prevent taking any steps that could void a claim so make the call as soon as you can.

Take Pictures

When you fail to document affected items with images, you run the risk of underestimating just how much damage was done. So whether it’s on a camera or with your phone, taking pictures is one of the most important storm tips you can follow.

Secure Your Property

The only thing worse than sustaining damage in a storm is getting new damage on top of that. Invest in tarps to cover roof holes, board up broken windows with plywood or take any other steps necessary to prevent new wind or water damage getting inside your home.
What you do after a storm can be just as important as what you do before it. Use these storm tips in the initial wake of a storm and contact the right insurance agent and water cleanup companies to get your property back in tip-top condition.

Emergency Board Up Services

10/29/2019 (Permalink)

store front door board up Need Emergency Board Up Services? Contact SERVPRO of Raytown/East Kansas City today to schedule an appointment: 816-737-8776

If your home or business incurs storm or fire damage resulting in an opening in your building you may be in need of emergency board up services. Any openings in the structure needs to be properly boarded up to protect the building from weather and illegal entry. Your insurance policy also requires you to be proactive on protecting your home or business after any type of damage has occurred, otherwise the insurance company could account any further/secondary damage to the structure as negligence.

Not every situation requires the most extensive board up that the U.S Fire Administration have in their board up procedure manual, such as after a fire where the entire home is destroyed  and is considered a complete loss. While each emergency board up is different, let’s take a look at how to properly board up a structure after damage has caused an opening in the building.

Determining How Much Protection Is Needed

  1. Openings in the basement, first floor doors, windows and any point of entry accessible from a porch, fire escape or other potential climbing point require additional security measures. These openings should be barricaded with plywood, 2x4s, bolts and nails.
  2. Openings that are at least 10′ from ground level which are not accessible from a porch, fire escape, roof, or other climbing point can be secured with nails in each brace, and every 12″ around the perimeter. For these openings the plywood should be fitted so that it rests snugly against the exterior frame, butting up to the siding on wood frame buildings and up to the brickwork on brick buildings. It may be necessary to remove the staff bead so this fit can be flush and tight.

Boarding Up

  1. Cut plywood to fit over the window and door openings, flush with outside of the molding. Note: For buildings with metal door and window frames the alternative is to cut the plywood and 2x4s to fit the inside of the door frame buffed up against the band molding.
  2. Cut the 2x4s to fit the horizontal dimension of the plywood. You will need two 2×4 exterior and two interior braces for each window and three sets for each door. Note: For buildings with metal doors and window frames the 2x4s for the outside will be cut to the dimensions of the plywood, fitting inside the door frame, against the band molding. For the inside the 2x4s will be cut to the outside dimension of the door or window frame.
  3. Pre drill 3/8th inch holes in the plywood and the braces.
  4. The holes will be placed approximately 1/3 of the length of the brace from each outside edge of the door and window jam.
  5. The two window braces will be placed 1/3 of the distance from the top and the bottom of the window.
  6. The three door braces will be placed; one in the center of the doorway, and one half the distance from the center to the top and to the bottom of the doorway.
  7. Place the plywood over the exterior opening and nail to the frame. Note: For metal frames place the plywood and braces inside the frame against the band molding.
  8. Place the 2×4 braces over the interior and exterior of the door or window.
  9. Place the large washer over the carriage bolt and place the bolt through the holes.
  10. Place washer and nut inside and tighten securely. Torque the nut so that it slightly compresses the interior 2×4.

3 Elements Property Managers Need to Prioritize for Storm Preparedness

10/24/2019 (Permalink)

A green computer key that says Disaster plan You should create a plan for storm and other natural disasters

Property managers and owners in places such as Kansas City, MO, might need to get ready for any natural disaster heading towards their investment, such as storms. They are not only responsible for the property, but also the safety of the people who live or work in such buildings. When it comes to storm preparedness, these leaders might need to prioritize specific elements to react appropriately to the incident, protect the individuals and mitigate as much of the storm damage as possible.

Communication With the Tenants

The wellbeing of a rental property's residents is always the top priority. As such, property management generally works with these people to create a plan for storms and other natural disasters. Management usually maintains communication through phone, email or text that informs residents about important information.

  • Emergency resources
  • Shelters
  • Special needs resources
  • Rental unit preparations

Managers and owners are responsible for clear, open communication of these plans before any storms take place.

Employee Safety

Staff evacuation and safety can be difficult to achieve, as they must assist tenants and maintain equipment and property before they leave. A manager should have a storm preparedness plan to share with employees, detailing their responsibilities and tasks right before a storm. These often involve preventing damage to electronic, mechanical and fragile equipment, as well as helping residents. They might need management's contact information and instructions once the storm has passed.

Storm Damage Records

Managers should keep record of as much property damage as possible to assist with the insurance claims. It is crucial to inspect property and equipment and record their status before the storm. Afterwards, before they call emergency restoration services, they might need to inspect the damage and compare it to the previous records. Images, video and documentation from before and after can be useful during the claims process.
Responsible property managers know how to prioritize and get ready before disaster strikes. An effective storm preparedness plan accounts for residents, staff and property to ensure a successful future for the rental business.