Recent Storm Damage Posts
How To Document Property Damage for Insurance Claims
By following these steps, you're equipping yourself with the tools to navigate the insurance claim process with confidence.
When unexpected damages strike your property such as water, fire, or mold damage, proper documentation is your strongest tool for a smooth insurance claim process. Join us as we provide step-by-step guidance on how to capture compelling visual evidence and navigate the do's and don'ts during the claims journey.
1. Safety First: Assess and Secure
Your safety and the safety of your family should always be the top priority. Before you even think about documenting damages, ensure that the area is safe to enter. If there are immediate risks such as structural damage or electrical hazards, evacuate the property and contact the necessary emergency services. Once you're certain it's safe to do so, take steps to secure the area to prevent further damage or accidents. This might involve putting up caution tape or barricading off dangerous zones.
2. Clear and Comprehensive Images
When it comes to documenting damages, clear and comprehensive images are invaluable. Use a camera or smartphone with a good resolution to capture high-quality photos. Begin by taking an overall view of the affected area. This will give a sense of the scale of the damage. After that, focus on specific damages. Take multiple shots from various angles to ensure you capture every angle of the damage. For example, if there's a crack in a wall, take shots from both up close and from a distance to provide context.
3. Video Walkthrough for Context
In addition to photographs, consider taking a video walkthrough of the affected area. This provides valuable context and can help paint a clearer picture of the damage for the insurance adjuster. Start your video from outside the property and slowly walk through each room, describing the damages as you go. Point out affected items and areas, and provide any relevant details. Videos can capture the extent and impact of the damage in a way that static images might not be able to.
4. Close-Ups for Detail
While overall views and videos are important, don't forget to capture close-up shots of individual damages. These close-ups can reveal important details that might be missed in broader shots. If there's a crack in the ceiling, a close-up can show its width and depth. If there are water stains, close-up shots can show their extent and any discoloration. These close-up shots serve as supporting evidence for your claims and help the insurance adjuster understand the severity of the damages.
5. Include Time-Stamp and Date
Most modern devices automatically include time stamps and dates on photos and videos. This feature is extremely useful when it comes to documenting damages for an insurance claim. It establishes a chronological record of the damages, which can be crucial in demonstrating the timeline of events to your insurance provider. Time stamps also add an additional layer of credibility to your documentation.
6. Notes for Clarity
Accompany your visual evidence with detailed notes. As you take photos and videos, simultaneously jot down notes describing the damages, their location, and any relevant information. Notes provide context that might not be immediately clear from the visuals alone. For example, if there's water damage on the ceiling, your notes could mention whether there's a leak directly above or if the damage seems to be spreading.
Guiding Your Claim
By following these steps, you're equipping yourself with the tools to navigate the insurance claim process with confidence. Your comprehensive documentation can make a significant difference in the outcome of your claim. Should you need assistance, remember that SERVPRO of San Ramon is here to help and guide you through the restoration and insurance claims journey.
Beyond Rain Flooding: Understanding the Varied Effects of Storm Damage
Remember that understanding the diverse effects of storm damage allows you to take appropriate actions to protect your property.
When we think of storm damage, images of rainwater flooding homes and streets often come to mind. While flooding is undoubtedly a significant concern during storms, it's important to recognize that storm damage encompasses a wide range of effects beyond just water-related issues. From high winds to hailstorms and even lightning strikes, storms can wreak havoc on properties in various ways. In this blog post, we will explore the diverse effects of storm damage beyond rain flooding and shed light on the importance of being prepared for the unexpected.
High winds associated with storms can cause severe damage to structures. Strong gusts can tear off roofs, damage siding, and topple trees, leading to fallen branches and potential structural collapses. It's essential to secure loose objects, trim tree branches, and ensure the structural integrity of your property to minimize the risk of wind damage during storms.
Hailstorms pose a unique threat to buildings and vehicles. Hailstones can range in size from small pellets to large chunks, causing dents, cracks, and breakage on roofs, windows, and exterior surfaces. Inspecting your property for hail damage after a storm is crucial for initiating insurance claims and arranging timely repairs.
Lightning strikes during storms can cause significant damage to properties. Electrical surges can damage appliances, electronics, and electrical systems. Additionally, lightning strikes can ignite fires, leading to extensive property damage. Installing surge protectors, lightning rods, and maintaining a functional grounding system can help protect your property from lightning-related damage.
Power Outages and Electrical Damage
Storms often result in power outages due to downed power lines or electrical system failures. Power surges and fluctuations can also occur during storms, potentially damaging sensitive electronic devices and appliances. Investing in backup power sources, such as generators, and using surge protectors can mitigate the risk of electrical damage and ensure continuity during power outages.
Structural Damage from Fallen Trees
During severe storms, trees can become uprooted or have limbs break off and fall onto buildings. This can cause extensive structural damage and pose a risk to occupants. Regular tree maintenance, including pruning and removal of weakened or dead trees, can minimize the likelihood of tree-related damage during storms.
Roof and Siding Damage
While rain flooding can damage roofs and siding, other storm elements can contribute to their deterioration as well. High winds can loosen or remove shingles, and hailstones can cause
punctures, cracks, or granule loss on the roof surface. Siding can also suffer from wind-driven debris impact, resulting in dents, chipped paint, or even complete detachment in severe cases. Regularly inspecting and maintaining the roof and siding, and promptly addressing any damage, can help protect your property from further deterioration.
Basement or Crawl Space Flooding
Although we mentioned that storm damage extends beyond rain flooding, it's important to note that water intrusion into basements or crawl spaces can still occur. Heavy rainfall, combined with inadequate drainage systems or foundation issues, can result in basement or crawl space flooding. Ensuring proper grading, installing sump pumps, and maintaining a functioning waterproofing system can help mitigate the risk of water damage in these areas.
Damage to Landscaping and Outdoor Structures
Storms can cause harm to your property's landscaping and outdoor structures. High winds can uproot trees, damage fences, and topple outdoor furniture or structures like pergolas and sheds. Regularly inspecting and maintaining outdoor elements can help identify and address potential risks before storms occur.
While rain flooding is a significant concern during storms, it's important to recognize that storm damage encompasses a much broader spectrum of effects. From wind damage and hailstorms to lightning strikes and power outages, storms can pose various risks to properties. Being prepared and taking proactive measures to secure your property, such as regular inspections, maintenance, and investing in protective measures, can help minimize the impact of storm damage. Remember that understanding the diverse effects of storm damage allows you to take appropriate actions to protect your property and ensure the safety and well-being of its occupants.
How To Protect Your Home From Flooding
Our team at SERVPRO knows exactly how to help you if you experience flood damage!
Flooding is one of the most devastating natural disasters that can happen to your home. It doesn't matter if it's a small-scale flood or a massive storm that has caused major flooding; both can cause significant damage to your home and belongings. In order for you to protect yourself and your home from flooding, it's important to understand what causes flooding in the first place. This article will help shed some light on how you can prevent flooding in your home so that you never have to experience this catastrophe firsthand.
Seal any cracks in your foundation.
Leaks through your foundation are the most common cause of basement flooding. They can happen because of cracks in the wall, foundation or floor that allow water to seep in.
To prevent leaks, check for any cracks in your foundation. If you find any, fill them using concrete sealant or a waterproofing membrane.
Maintain drainage areas.
Maintaining your home’s drainage system is crucial to keeping it safe from flooding. Keep rain gutters and downspouts clean, clear leaves, debris and ice away from the roof of your home, and make sure that downspouts are draining away from the house. Use a broom to remove standing water from your yard if there is any after a heavy rainfall. If mud or debris has washed up against your foundation drainpipe or downspout, use a garden hose to wash it away so that it doesn’t clog up the pipe or block any water flow to those areas.
Install Sump Pump.
A sump pump is a mechanical device that removes water from a basement. It's connected to the sewer system through a drain pipe and must be installed correctly in order to function properly. You should test your sump pump regularly (at least once per month) by connecting it to an extension cord and turning it on for 15 minutes or so, then unplugging it and checking for leaks in the floor around where you have placed it. If no leaks are found, your sump pump is working well!
Keep your water heater safe.
The water heater is your home’s most vulnerable appliance, so it needs careful placement. The best place for a water heater is in an area that can be accessed easily but won’t be damaged if there are leaks. If you have a basement, make sure the floor is sturdy and can support the weight of a full tank of water. If you don’t have a basement or another safe spot, put your hot water tank on a stand or platform so that it’s at least 6 inches off the ground.
Keep in mind that any wall or ceiling near your hot water tank may not be able to survive a flood—and could collapse as soon as you open up the valve to turn on your faucet after flooding has subsided!
Keep valuables and important documents in a safe place.
In the event of flooding, your first line of defense is to avoid exposure to harmful water as much as possible. For example, if you live in an area that may experience flooding, it’s wise to keep valuables and important documents in a safe place. If you have a safe, use it! If not, consider buying one or keeping essential items in waterproof containers. It’s also important to store any irreplaceable items high up so that they won’t be damaged by rising water levels during a flood.
Flooding can happen anywhere; it is important to take measures to protect your home.
Flooding can cause damage to your home and lead to mold growth. It is crucial that you take precautions before the next flood season arrives.
You can prepare your home to protect against flooding. By taking the steps above, you can help keep your property safe and dry in the event of an emergency.
Protecting Your Home from Earthquake Damage
Are you ready in case of earthquake damage? Be prepared in case of earthquakes!
Earthquakes can be devastating to homes, causing significant damage. The shaking can cause furniture and appliances to fall over, and even the most carefully constructed building can have its walls cracked or crushed in an earthquake. Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to protect your home from earthquake damage before it happens. Here is what you need to know:
Secure your water heater.
If your water heater is not bolted to the wall, it can move and injure you. If you have a gas-powered water heater, do not locate it near a fireplace or chimney as they could cause leakage. Do not locate your water heater under an overhanging roof or in an area where its weight is unsupported by the floor. Finally, do not place your washing machine or dishwasher directly above the water heater as if one of these appliances falls on top of your hot water tank, it will explode and cause serious injury.
Bolt down any large appliances.
You can also bolt appliances to the walls. For example, if you have a large refrigerator in your kitchen, it is a good idea to place it down on the floor and then bolt it to the wall. If you have a dishwasher or washing machine in your laundry room, they should be bolted as well.
Anchor items that can be easily moved in a small earthquake such as mirrors, tall furniture and wall hangings.
Use earthquake straps and other fasteners to secure items to studs or walls, if possible. Anchoring items to the wall studs will help prevent the item from falling during an earthquake. If there are no studs available, use an alternate method of anchoring (such as attaching hooks) that will hold your item securely but still allow it to be removed after an earthquake passes.
If you choose to anchor items above a load-bearing wall, make sure you do not place any strain on the supporting beam(s). A weight limit label should be present on many appliances such as refrigerators; if this label cannot be found then assume it is safe for your equipment currently located above the load bearing wall.
Consider adding latches to all drawers and cabinet doors.
One measure that can help keep your belongings safe is to install latches on drawers and cabinets. Latches are particularly helpful in protecting items in the kitchen, as they keep drawers closed even when there's an earthquake shaking the floor. This can be done by attaching a latch to each drawer or cabinet door and then locking it into place with a key or combination lock.
To install latches:
- Remove the current hardware from your drawers or cabinets; if it's just glued on, you may be able to gently pull it off with your fingers. If not, use a screwdriver to gently pry up existing hardware until you can remove it completely from its mounting surface
- Attach wooden blocks about two inches high between where each hinge normally sits (this will make sure your new hardware will fit properly). Then attach metal brackets at least one inch longer than your wood blocks on either side of these wooden blocks, so that when you reattach them all together they'll support whatever weight you want them too
Preparing your home for an earthquake can help reduce the amount of damage to it when an earthquake happens.
This can be done by doing a few simple steps:
- Make sure that all of your water and gas lines are properly secured, especially if you have pipes that run through walls, or if you have a new construction home with a lot of open space in the walls.
- Install smoke detectors on every floor of your house, including basements and attics (even though they're areas that are less likely to be damaged). Smoke detectors are cheap and easy to install—there's no excuse not to do it! Check them once a month just as you would with any other piece of equipment in your home.
- If possible, move heavy items like bookcases and cabinets away from windows so they don't break during an earthquake. If this isn't possible then make sure these items are secured onto the wall using brackets or screws so they don't fall during an earthquake and cause injuries or damage other things in your house.
Remember, an earthquake can happen at any time and without warning. It’s important that you take the steps above to protect yourself and your family from injury.