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SERVPRO of FRAMINGHAM - 4 Insurance Mistakes to Avoid

9/5/2017 (Permalink)

Avoid these common mistakes and you're on your way to getting the best insurance for your needs and budget.

Saving money feels good. And shopping around when you’re looking for insurance coverage is a great way to do it. However, simply reducing your coverage or dropping important coverages altogether is like diet without exercise—focused only on numbers, not on results. Don’t risk ending up dangerously underinsured and on the hook for much bigger bills in the event of a disaster.

Following are the four most common home, flood, and renters insurance mistakes people make, along with suggestions to avert those pitfalls while still saving money (we call them, “better ways to save”):

  1. Insuring a home for its real estate value rather than for the cost of rebuilding. When real estate prices go down, some homeowners may think they can reduce the amount of insurance on their home. But insurance is designed to cover the cost of rebuilding, not the sales price of the home. You should make sure that you have enough coverage to completely rebuild your home and replace your belongings—no matter what the real estate market is doing.

A better way to save: Raise your deductible. An increase from $500 to $1,000 could save up to 25 percent on your premium payments.

  1. Selecting an insurance company by price alone. It is important to choose a company with competitive prices. But be sure the insurer you choose is financially sound and provides good customer service.

A better way to save: Check the financial health of a company with independent rating agencies (some well-known ones: A.M. Best, Moody's), and ask friends and family members about their experiences with insurers. Select an insurance company that will respond to your needs and handle claims fairly and efficiently.

  3.   Dropping flood insurance. Damage from flooding is not covered under standard homeowners and renters insurance policies. Coverage is available from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), as well as from some private insurance companies. You may not be aware you’re at risk for flooding, but keep in mind that 25 percent of all flood losses occur in low risk areas. Furthermore, yearly weather patterns—spring runoff from melting winter snows, for example—can cause flooding.

A better way to save: Before purchasing a home, check with the NFIP to determine whether a property is situated in a flood zone; if so, you may want to consider a less risky area. If you are already living in a designated flood zone, look at mitigation efforts that can reduce your risk of flood damage and consider purchasing flood insurance. Additional information on flood insurance can be found at www.FloodSmart.gov.

  1. Neglecting to buy renters insurance. A renters insurance policy covers your possessions and additional living expenses if you have to move out due to an insured disaster, such as a fire or hurricane. Equally important, it provides liability protection in the event someone is injured in your home and decides to sue.

A better way to save: Look into multi-policy discounts. Buying several policies with the same insurer, such as renters, auto, and life will generally provide savings.

SERVPRO of FRAMINGHAM is ready to assist 24/7 with any disaster situation homeowners or renters face.  In the event of a fire/water/mold emergency you can count on the team of SERVPRO of FRAMINGHAM to "make it like it never even happened."  Contact our office at 508-370-4400.

Flash Flood Watch VS. Flash Flood Warning

8/14/2017 (Permalink)

Floods are among the most frequent and costly natural disasters. Flooding often occurs following a hurricane, thawing snow, or several days of sustained rain. Flash floods occur suddenly, due to rapidly rising water along a stream or low-lying area. Learn what to do to keep your loved ones safe!

A flood/flash flood WATCH means a flood or flash flood is possible.

A flood/flash flood WARNING means flooding or flash flooding is already occurring or will occur soon. TAKE IMMEDIATE PRECAUTIONS!

Right Before a Flood You Should Do the Following:

> Listen to local area radio, NOAA radio or TV stations for the latest information and updates.

> Be prepared to evacuate quickly and know your routes and destinations. Find a local emergency shelter.

> Check your emergency kit and replenish any items missing or in short supply, especially medications or other medical supplies. Keep it nearby.

Then, If You Can, Do This

> Fill plastic bottles with clean water for drinking.

> Fill bathtubs and sinks with water for flushing the toilet or washing the floor or clothing.

> Fill your car's gas tank, in case you need to evacuate.

> Bring outdoor belongings, such as patio furniture, indoors.

> Turn off propane tanks to reduce the potential for fire.

If You Still Have Time, Do This

> Move your furniture and valuables to higher floors of your home.

> Turn off utilities if told to do so by authorities to prevent damage to your home or within the community. If you shut your gas off, a professional is required to turn it back on.

> Unplug small appliances to reduce potential damage from power surges that may occur.

Mold Can Affect Any Homeowner

8/14/2017 (Permalink)

From the New York Post:

Imagine this — Yoko Ono’s former West Village penthouse is an $8.3 million wreck, with warped beams, toxic mold and a rotted roof deck.

Ono sold the fourth-floor pad at 49-51 Downing St. to developer David Blumenfeld in 2014. She’d purchased the penthouse — part of a converted 19th century horse stable — in 1995 for her son Sean Lennon who lived in it for just a few years.

Now Blumenfeld is suing the co-op board for refusing to make “structural repairs’ that have allegedly made the unit “dangerous” even though his adult son lives there.

Blumenfeld says in court papers that the 10-unit co-op doesn’t want to do $1 million in renovations because the repairs would be “a major disturbance to other tenants.”

He believes the problems stem from a shoddy conversion job including the use of undersized beams that have caused “chronic and significant leaks and mold” making the unit “dangerous, hazardous or detrimental to the life” of the occupants, the suit says.

The Top 5 Causes of Water Damage in the home

7/31/2017 (Permalink)

Although every water damage situation is a little different, these are the most common causes of water damage in a home that we deal with on a daily basis.

  1. Broken Pipes & Hoses: Aging pipes, washing machine hoses, ice maker supply lines are common culprits of water damage.
  2. Accidents! Usually caused by kids! Splashing water out of the bathtub and sending a toy down the toilet will wreak havoc, but will also provide a good story years down the road. 
  3. Sewer back up. This unfortunate mess is usually caused by tree roots invading and clogging drain lines in their own search for water. 
  4. Basement Humidity: The only remedy to hydrostatic pressure and aging infrastructure is to install a dehumidifier. 
  5. Flash Flooding: Mother Nature is unpredictable so it is best to purchase flood insurance if available!

The Importance of Sprinklers

7/31/2017 (Permalink)

According to The National Fire Protection Association, the evidence is clear that automatic fire sprinklers technology, which has been commonly used in structures for many years, is a proven way to protect lives and property against fires. Sprinklers also respond quickly and effectively to the presence of a nearby fire, and function well, without creating problems for homeowners.

Ten businesses located in Framingham Massachusetts, know this all too well, when they experienced a devastating fire in their strip mall this past spring. The swift moving fire broke out at 2 a.m. in the attic, which took three fire stations and four hours to extinguish.  Thankfully, there were no casualties as no one was onsite at the time, but the building was a total loss. 

The facility had fire sprinklers installed but regrettably not in the attic where the fire originated.  At the time the building was constructed in the early 1980’s, it was not mandatory to have sprinklers installed in the attic. 

Despite the total devastation, the business owners vowed they will rebuild.

Protective Measures for Thunderstorms

7/27/2017 (Permalink)

In the United States, an average of 300 people are injured and 80 people are killed each year by lightning. Although most lightning victims survive, people struck by lightning often report a variety of long-term, debilitating symptoms.

Before Thunderstorms and Lightning
To prepare for a thunderstorm, you should do the following:

  • Remove dead or rotting trees and branches that could fall and cause injury or damage during a severe thunderstorm.
  • Remember the 30/30 lightning safety rule: Go indoors if, after seeing lightning, you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder. Stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.

The following are guidelines for what you should do if a thunderstorm is likely in your area:

  • Postpone outdoor activities.
  • Get inside a home, building, or hard top automobile (not a convertible). Although you may be injured if lightning strikes your car, you are much safer inside a vehicle than outside.
  • Remember, rubber-soled shoes and rubber tires provide NO protection from lightning. However, the steel frame of a hard-topped vehicle provides increased protection if you are not touching metal.
  • Secure outdoor objects that could blow away or cause damage.
  • Shutter windows and secure outside doors. If shutters are not available, close window blinds, shades, or curtains.
  • Avoid showering or bathing. Plumbing and bathroom fixtures can conduct electricity.
  • Use a corded telephone only for emergencies. Cordless and cellular telephones are safe to use.
  • Unplug appliances and other electrical items such as computers and turn off air conditioners. Power surges from lightning can cause serious damage.
  • Use your battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio for updates from local officials.

Avoid the following:

  • Natural lightning rods such as a tall, isolated tree in an open area
  • Hilltops, open fields, the beach, or a boat on the water
  • Isolated sheds or other small structures in open areas
  • Anything metal—tractors, farm equipment, motorcycles, golf carts, golf clubs, and bicycles

During a Thunderstorm if you are:

In a forest:  Seek shelter in a low area under a thick growth of small trees.

In an open area:  Go to a low place such as a ravine or valley.  Be alert for flash floods.

On open water: Get to land and find shelter immediately.  

Anywhere you feel your hair stand on end (which indicates that lightning is about to strike) squat low to the ground on the balls of your feet.  Place your hands over your ears and your head between your knees.  Make yourself the smallest target possible and minimize your contact to the ground.  DO NOT lie flat on the ground.

In the event you experience storm damage please contact your restoration specialists at SERVPRO of Framingham 508.370.4400.

Fireworks: Light Up The Sky And Make Sure Nothing Else!

7/13/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Fireworks: Light Up The Sky And Make Sure Nothing Else! House fire caused by fireworks.

Fireworks is part of our Independence Day tradition painting the sky on the evening of the 4th of July and all through the summer.

Unfortunately as they shoot upward so do injuries, fires and the resulting home insurance claims.  Although your basic homeowners' insurance covers fires, your policy is not likely to cover fires caused by fireworks your family sets off, particularly in states where they are deemed illegal which includes our great state of Massachusetts.   
July 4th is the one day of the year with the highest number of fires reported according to the National Fire Protection Association. More than half of these fires are caused by people shooting off rockets in their own backyard.   On average, fireworks cause over 18,500 fires a year, including 1300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires, and 16,900 outside fires with an average of $43 million in direct property damage according to the Consumer Product Safety Commissions Fireworks Annual Report (2015). 
Even if your state permits the use of fireworks, you may want to rethink whether that would be a wise decision. Instead of a 'do-it-yourself' fireworks show, your family could sit back, relax and enjoy the display so many local towns host. And you have the added benefit of knowing your family is not in harm's way.  

Summer Barbecue Safety Tips Keep it Fun Not Frantic!

7/13/2017 (Permalink)

Fire Damage Summer Barbecue Safety Tips Keep it Fun Not Frantic! Unattended gas grill caused $250,000 in damages.

Summertime is synonymous with grilling and barbecues. There is no better way to spend the day with family and friends in the comfort of your backyard on a hot summer night than a tasty barbecue made up of good food, good cooks and good company in a great atmosphere.       However it is important we take precautions when dealing with open flames and propane gas.  Here are some simple Dos & Don'ts to ensure a safe and enjoyable time. Here is What You Should Do: 1.       Keep you grill at least 10 feet away from your home, the further the better. Also ensure grills are not underneath wooden overhangs.2.       Make sure you clean your grill on a regular basis. Grease and fat buildup will provide more fuel to the fire.3.       Always check for gas leaks. By simply rubbing soapy water on the gas hose and connections, you will be able to determine if there is a gas leak. If the soap begins to form large bubbles there is a leak.4.       Keep decorations away from your grill. Summer décor like hanging baskets and banners look nice but they are flammable items and should be kept at a good distance.5.       Keep a spray bottle of water handy for minor flare ups.6.       Keep a fire extinguisher within a couple of steps from the grill and make sure you know how to use it in the event of a larger fire.  And Now For What You Should Never Do: 1.       Never turn on the gas while the grill lid is closed.  This is a huge No-No as a closed lid filled with gas will cause an explosion when the lid is opened and the gas is exposed to oxygen.2.       Never leave a grill unattended to avoid unintended consequences.3.       Never overload your grill with fatty meats that drip on the flames and cause a flare-up. 4.       Never use a grill indoors, its design as an outdoor kitchen!

We Are Green and Clean with Benefect

6/12/2017 (Permalink)

The consumer today has increasingly been more aware of the chemicals in their products than ever before. Now SERVPRO of Framingham is offering safe alternatives.

Benefect, the world's first government registered hospital disinfectant using the essential oils from plants.  Today their technology can be found in many products including naturally based cleaners and alcohol-free hand sanitizer.

In nature, plants produce germ-killing essential oils to protect themselves from invading microbes, similar to how our bodies produce antibodies for our protection against disease.  Benefect is a revolutionary blend of these antimicrobial extracts, particularly from the herb Thyme.  Disinfectants typically use quaternary amines, bleach, or even synthetic thymol to kill germs.  Remarkably, Benefect kills over 99.99% of germs using only food-grade plant extracts.  Benefect is a 'plant immune system' in a bottle.

  • Kills 99.99% of Germs.
  • No Label Warnings or Signal Words.
  • Made from Plant Extracts.
  • No Synthetic Ingredients.
  • No Rinse or Wipe Required

Flooded Basement? What type of water could be in your basement.

6/12/2017 (Permalink)

Early spring brings melting snow and heavy rains, all of which could potentially pose a threat to flooding your basement and damaging your treasured items. We get a lot of questions on the types of water. To help you understand what kind of water could potentially be in your basement there are (3) categories:

Category 1: Known as "clean water" which is clean at the releasing source and does not pose a hazard if consumed by humans. Most of the water that comes into your home will be Category 1 until it leaves its source, either a supply line, an appliance, or melting snow or rain. The water in this category may become contaminated as it mixes with soils on or within floor coverings, walls, subfloors, etc..

Category 2: Water that begins with some degree of contamination and could cause sickness or discomfort if consumed by humans. Also know as "gray water" is typically overflow water from an appliance, toilet, or an aquarium.

Category 3: Water which is highly contaminated and could lead to death or a serious illness if consumed by humans. Also know as "black water" examples are sewage, rising flood water from rivers and streams, ground surface water flowing horizontally into homes.