Property Damage & Disaster Restoration Blog: Long Island & New York City

A Consumer Guide to Insurance for Natural Disasters

Posted on Thu, Dec 30, 2010 @ 10:59 AM

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Introduction
Natural disasters (including floods, nor'easters, etc.) affect the lives of many people in the United States every year.The hazardous effects can be local, impacting a neighborhood or community; or very large, affecting an entire city or county. People who understand disasters and know what to do before and after a disaster can significantly reduce the time and cost to return to normalcy. The purpose of this information is to provide an understanding of the types of natural disasters and the insurance available to cover the losses resulting from them.
 
Insurance for Your Residence
Depending on your type of dwelling, you will need to consider your insurance options to determine the most appropriate coverage. It makes good sense to purchase the type and amount of coverage that is adequate to protect your home and your family.

Owning a Home – There are various types of policies available to homeowners. In general, the homeowners policy combines property coverage with liability coverage. Dwelling policies only provide property coverage.

Rental – This policy covers the personal property owned by renters. It can also cover liabilities arising from accidents and injuries for guests..

Owning a Condominium – Condominium policies primarily provide content coverage to condominium owners. In addition, there are special provisions to cover the portions of the dwelling for which you are responsible as defined by the governing rules of the condominium.

Owning a Home on a Farm – If your home is on a farm, a farm owners policy may be appropriate to protect against loss. In general, a farm owners policy provides coverage for farm business exposures, and both property and liability coverages.
 
Insurance Available for Your Property
Before buying an insurance policy, you should check for the types of coverages and products available in New York State. You also need to know the types and limits of coverage you want to purchase. Coverage is available for:
 
Dwelling – This is the structure of the house. (That is considered a covered property.)

Other Structures – These are other structures that are separate from the house. Examples are detached garages or toolsheds.

Personal Property – The contents in your home are considered personal property. This includes furniture, appliances, clothing and computer equipment. Some personal properties are specifically excluded and are either not covered under the policy or have limited coverage. Examples are: money, jewelry and firearms.
 
Loss of Use – This is the cost of additional living expenses incurred, when the dwelling becomes uninhabitable, and the cause is due to a covered loss. Reimbursement, such as the cost of a hotel room, will be made to the insured to maintain a normal standard of living.
 
Information Source:
New York State Department of Insurance
25 Beaver Street One Commerce Plaza
New York, NY 10004 Albany, NY 12257
(212) 480-6400 (800) 342-3736
www.ins.state.ny.us

Tags: fire restoration, flood long island, insurance, insurance claim, disrepair, flood damage, disaster restoration, insurance industry, insurance industry long island

Bayville Benefits from FEMA's Mitigation Projects

Posted on Wed, Aug 04, 2010 @ 08:23 AM

Albany, N.Y. -- Bayville, located on the northernmost tip of Nassau County, escaped storm damage from the March nor’easter because of Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) projects.  These were undertaken 12 years ago when a storm drainage system, leaching pits and a retaining wall project were constructed.  Hazard mitigation grants, which are administered by New York State, fund projects designed to reduce the likelihood of damage from floods and severe weather.

The north side of Bayville Avenue along the coastal shoreline of Long Island Sound had a history of erosion that if left unchecked could have caused a breach or failure of Bayville Avenue, and eliminated the only road access into the Village of Centre Island.

The grant funded the installation of an 800-foot retaining wall along the shoreline, which stabilized the area and ensured that about 450 residents of the Village of Centre Island would have access to critical facilities and emergency services during severe storms.

HMGP also funded a drainage project in an area of the village bounded on the north by Long Island Sound and on the south by Oyster Bay Harbor, where severe flooding recurred after significant rainfall and coastal storm events.  The flood waters, combined with higher than usual tides, caused Long Island Sound to swell and back up along the village’s north shore as there was no outlet for the tidal flood water.

To combat this problem, street drainage structures, leaching pools, overflow and outfall piping equipped with tidal check valves, were installed. These enhancements permitted the water to drain into Oyster Bay. Nick Campagnola, a village resident, stated that “the drainage system definitely helped improve the conditions after a storm” he added, “without the system we would really be in trouble.”

“The benefit this work has provided to residents is significant,” said Douglas G. Watson, mayor of Bayville. “The drainage system was designed to drain water from low-lying streets in the project area, and succeeded in preventing flooding from severe rain events such as last March’s nor’easter.  The system left the streets safely free of standing water in a short time. We are very happy with the way it has worked out.”

“These enhancements have withstood severe weather conditions,”  Watson added.

Source: FEMA

Tags: disaster, groundwater, FEMA, flood damage, flood, catastrophe

FEMA Re-opens Disaster Incident Period to include Severe Storms and Flooding From March 13 - March 31, 2010

Posted on Thu, Jul 15, 2010 @ 08:01 AM

Release Date: July 14, 2010
Release Number: 1899-014

Albany, N.Y. -- Federal and state officials today announced that the incident period of the severe storms has been re-opened to cover the period from March 13 - March 31, 2010 and three additonal counties  -- Otsego, Schoharie, and Warren - have been added to the declaration.

"I am pleased that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) quickly reviewed the information gathered by state and local officials and approved Governor Paterson's request.  The longer incident period will provide needed reimbursement for communities as they repair damages caused by the severe March weather," said Andrew Feeney Director, New York State Office of Emergency Management (NYS OEM).

Otsego, Schoharie, and Warren Counties join Nassau, Orange, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties, in being declared disaster areas.

The amendment and additional counties to the incident period have been granted in response to Governor Paterson's appeal of June 29, 2010. The previous incident period was March 13-15. “By helping local and state governments recover, federal disaster assistance has a positive impact on  those communites,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Albie Lewis.

Government entities and certain private non-profits in the additional three counties may be eligible for federal aid through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA's) Public Assistance Program.  Aid may be available in one or more of the following seven categories: Debris Removal; Emergency Protective Measures; Road Systems and Bridges; Water Control Facilities; Public Buildings and Contents; Public Utilities, and Parks, Recreational and Other.

Federal funding is available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures for all counties and tribes within the state. FEMA funds 75 percent of eligible costs.

Article Source: FEMA

 

Tags: disaster, long island storms march 2010, water damage basement flooding, water damage, FEMA, restoration company, flood damage, disaster restoration, flood, storm damage, storm, storm 2010, mold damage, flood water long island, flooded basements long island

"A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture, and Your Home"

Posted on Wed, Mar 31, 2010 @ 10:00 AM

The recent storms that hit the Northeast have caused major flooding and property damage to homes and businesses. The aftermath of the storms have property owners dealing with mold and moisture issues. 

Mold Basics...

The key to mold control is moisture control.
If mold is a problem is in your home, you should clean up the mold promptly and fix the water problem. It is important to dry water-damaged areas within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth. 

  

Why is mold growing in my home?

Molds are part of the natural environment.  Outdoors, molds play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves and dead trees, but indoors, mold growth should be avoided.  Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores; the spores are invisible to the naked eye and float through outdoor and indoor air.  Mold may begin growing indoors when mold spores land on surfaces that are wet.  There are many types of mold, and none of them will grow without water or moisture.

Can mold cause health problems?

Molds are usually not a problem indoors, unless mold spores land on a wet or damp spot and begin growing.  Molds have the potential to cause health problems. Molds produce allergens (substances that can cause allergic reactions), irritants, and in some cases, potentially toxic substances (mycotoxins).  Inhaling or touching mold or mold spores may cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.  Allergic responses include hay fever-type symptoms, such as sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and skin rash (dermatitis). Allergic reactions to mold are common.  They can be immediate or delayed.  Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people.  Symptoms other than the allergic and irritant types are not commonly reported as a result of inhaling mold.  Research on mold and health effects is ongoing.  This brochure provides a brief overview; it does not describe all potential health effects related to mold exposure. For more detailed information consult a health professional.  You may also wish to consult your state or local health department.

How do I get rid of mold?

It is impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores indoors; some mold spores will be found floating through the air and in house dust.  The mold spores will not grow if moisture is not present.  Indoor mold growth can and should be prevented or controlled by controlling moisture indoors.  If there is mold growth in your home, you must clean up the mold and fix the water problem.  If you clean up the mold, but don't fix the water problem, then, most likely, the mold problem will come back.

 

Mold Tips: 

Fix plumbing leaks and other water problems as soon as possible.  Dry all items completely.

Scrub mold off hard surfaces with detergent and water, and dry completely.

Absorbent or porous materials, such as ceiling tiles and carpet, may have to be thrown away if they become moldy.  Mold can grow on or fill in the empty spaces and crevices of porous materials, so the mold may be difficult or impossible to remove completely.

Avoid exposing yourself or others to mold.

Do not paint or caulk moldy surfaces.  Clean up the mold and dry the surfaces before painting.  Paint applied over moldy surfaces is likely to peel.

If you are unsure about how to clean an item, or if the item is expensive or of sentimental value, you may wish to consult a specialist.  Specialists in furniture repair, restoration, painting, art restoration and conservation, carpet and rug cleaning, water damage, and fire or water restoration are commonly listed in phone books.  Be sure to ask for and check references.  Look for specialists who are affiliated with professional organizations. For more information on mold, visit the EPA website.

Source: Environmental Protection Agency

 

 

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What To Do After a Loss

Posted on Thu, Mar 18, 2010 @ 08:32 AM

Heavy rains and winds pummeled the New York Metro area this past weekend, causing major damage to many homes and businesses. If you experienced property damage, you need to know what to do after a loss. 

If you suffer a loss, the first thing to do is to notify your insurance company or its agent. You can do this by telephone, although it is a good idea to follow up with written notification. Remember, if you give the notice to your broker, rather than directly to the insurance company, you still have a responsibility to make sure that the insurance company receives notice of your claim.

It is also important to notify your insurance company promptly after any incident takes place that might result in a claim at some later date, even though no claim was made at the time the event occurred.

For example, if your dog bites a neighbor or a guest falls on your property, it should be reported to the insurance company even though you don't know whether any claim is actually going to be made against you. Your failure to notify the company promptly might allow it to deny coverage in the event a claim if filed against you at a later date.

It is also important to protect your property against further damages. For example, if the windows are broken, have them boarded up to protect against further vandalism or burglary. The cost of this type of protection is covered by, and would be reimbursed by your insurance company.

However, no permanent repairs should be made until your company or its representative has inspected the property. The company has the right to inspect the property in its damaged state, and can refuse to pay you for any damage that is repaired before inspection.

An adjuster will be sent from your insurance company to examine the damage and give you an estimate of the cost of repairs or replacement. You should also get an estimate from your own contractor to compare with the insurance company's estimate. Your contractor will probably charge a fee for this service but might credit that fee to your bill if you hire that contractor to repair and/or replace your property.

If you need assistance, your agent, broker or insurance company sales representative should help you fill out the claim form and help gather the materials you need to substantiate your loss.

In the event you are unfortunate enough to experience a major loss such as a fire or severe windstorm which has badly damaged or destroyed your home, and you are not in a position to negotiate a settlement with your company, you may want to consult an attorney or call a licensed public adjuster to act on your behalf with your insurance company.

Public adjusters are licensed by the Insurance Department. They represent you and not the insurance company. They will help you in taking inventory of your loss, securing your home from vandalism, contacting your insurance company, advising you on the extent of your coverage and help you secure the services needed to repair or rebuild you home. They will negotiate on your behalf with the adjuster from the insurance company.

A public adjuster may not charge a fee more than 12.5% of the recovery amount and must get a signed compensation agreement from you in which the amount of compensation is clearly stated. Such agreement may be cancelled up to midnight of the third business day after the date on which you have signed the compensation agreement. In addition, public adjusters may not solicit your business between the hours of 6 p.m. and 8 a.m.

Another alternative to consider when an agreement cannot be reached between you and your insurance company is the appraisal process. Every homeowner, tenant, cooperative apartment and condominium policy issued in New York contains a provision whereby you and your company select a competent and disinterested appraiser. The two appraisers, in turn, select an umpire. Each appraiser must evaluate the loss and determine the value of each item. Any disagreements between the appraisers regarding the value of any items are submitted to, and settled by the umpire. The costs of this process are paid by the policyholder and the insurance company.

Source:  NY State Insurance Department

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Do You Have Water or Wind Damage?

Posted on Sun, Mar 14, 2010 @ 10:31 PM

24 Hour Emergency Water Removal, tarping, and Cleanup Services

One of the worst things that can happen is having a pipe break or water heater malfunction that causes a water intrusion to flood your basement or saturate your home or office.  Advanced Restoration's Disaster and Emergency Response Time minimizes  damage that can be caused by a flood.  Our water extraction services have assisted many homes and business throughout Long Island and New York City.  We extract water due to:

Advanced Restoration Corporation  is a DKI Member Company

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Flooding Rains Will Soak New York, New Jersey and Long Island

Posted on Thu, Mar 11, 2010 @ 08:32 PM

March 11 (Bloomberg) -- A slow-moving storm will drop as much as 4 inches (10 centimeters) of rain on New York City starting tonight and lasting until next week, according to the National Weather Service.

Manhattan is forecast to receive about 3.5 inches, while other parts of the city may get a half-inch more, said Joe Pollina, a weather service meteorologist in Upton, New York.

"We do expect some urban flooding," Pollina said by telephone. "The city and parts of Long Island could see ponding on roadways, with roads closed due to flooding."

Flood watches and warnings extend from Long Island to Indiana, according to the weather service. Rivers and streams across the region, including Connecticut, the lower Hudson River valley and New Jersey, could swell their banks, Pollina said.

"It just seems to be a rather slow-moving storm," Pollina said. "It is just hanging around. Rain will start tonight, continuing through Sunday and we even have showers forecast through Monday. It doesn't dry out until Tuesday."

--Editors: Charlotte Porter, David Marino

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian K. Sullivan in Boston at bsullivan10@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net.

Tags: wind damage, long island, floods, ny water damage company, water damage, structural drying, flooding, nassau county restoration, babylon, advanced restoration corporation, long island water damage, suffolk county restoration, water extraction, flood damage, flood, water, ny

Ice Dams and Your Home

Posted on Fri, Jan 22, 2010 @ 10:19 AM

Whenever there is snow, you are likely to have troublesome ice dams to follow. Ice dams can cause major water damage and flooding to your home, which requires immediate attention.

 

ice dams


 

 

As winter advances through cycles of freezing and thawing, buildings and homes experience ice buildup and roof damage. In general, ice dams are formed when attic heat moves up to warm the roof and melts snow at or near the ridge. Snow melts, runs downward and hits the edge of the cold roof, resulting in re-freezing snow.  These cycles cause ice to accumulate and back up under shingles. Damage appears in the form of soaked insulation, stained, cracked and damaged sheet rock, damp, smelly, rotting wall cavities and stained, blistered and peeling paint.

Preventing Ice Dams
To prevent an ice dam, don't heat the roof, keep it cold. That way, the snow on the roof eventually dissipates without making large amounts of meltwater. The underside of the roof deck should not exceed 30 F. The best way to maintain low temperatures is by ensuring that there is adequate insulation and sealing gaps that let warm air pass into the attic from the house. The attic must also be ventilated, so that cold air is introduced into it and heated air escapes rapidly.  InsulationIncreased insulation in an attic will help to prevent ice dams. First, insulate the areas between the roof rafters. It is important to keep an air space between the roof deck and the insulation in order to prevent a condensation buildup that can delaminate the roof deck. Prior to insulating, install polystyrene rafter air channels, which are available at home centers.  If there's a hatchway into the attic, build a cover for it out of rigid poly-styrene insulation.

If the gable and ridge vents do not generate sufficient air movement to dissipate the heat, you will need a motorized vent at one end of the attic to exhaust the heat, and an adequately sized vent on the opposite end of the attic to draw in cold air from the outside.

Ice Dam Inspection
Check your home carefully when ice dams form. Investigate even when there doesn't appear to be a leak. Look at the underside of the roof sheathing and roof trim to make sure they haven't gotten wet. Check the insulation for dampness. And when leaks inside your home develop, be prepared. Water penetration often follows pathways difficult follow.  Don't just patch the roof leak. Make sure that the roof sheathing hasn't rotted or that other less obvious problems in your ceiling or walls haven't developed. Detail a comprehensive plan to fix the damage and more importantly, solve the problem.

Frozen Pipes?

frozen pipes

 

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Why Hire a Property Damage/Disaster Restoration Company?

Posted on Tue, Jan 19, 2010 @ 12:01 PM
Fire & Water Damage Restoration 

fire, smoke, disaster,water damage
If your home or office has experienced fire or water damage, you may want to seek a professional that can help you repair and restore your building.

Natural disasters, such as floods and fires can leave commercial and residential buildings with mold and smoke damage. Both are major contributors to property loss and need to be taken care of in order to save the structural integrity of your house or building.

Water damage can either be immediate, such as flooding, or be more gradual, such as water spots on hardwood floors or even walls. However slow or fast water damage occurs, it is important to remove any carpet, dry the area and hire a professional for removal or extraction in case of mold. Restoration can include everything from inspection of the area to asses where the source is and how much damage has occurred, cleaning and sanitizing the area, and deodorize any smells. All this is done with special equipment.

If you have experienced fire damage that has left smoke stains, ceiling damage, or lots of soot, this too needs to be dealt with by a professional restoration company. Fire damage can be covered by fire insurance, so make sure to check if you can get any financial help to cover losses.

When damage has occurred to your home or office, whether in the basement or on the roof, you need to seek professional help to restore damage and save your property. Damage can easily spread, and if not handled properly can cause worse problems.

What is DKI?
Disaster Kleenup International, Inc.
is a network of the leading, independent property damage restoration contractors across North America. DKI member companies (see www.AdvancedRestoration.com in New York) provide full service to their customers: Emergency response, water damage mitigation, mold remediation, complete reconstruction and much more 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, returning damaged property to pre-loss condition fast and efficiently, delivering complete satisfaction to their consumer, insurance, and corporate customers.

Tags: disaster, property damage, fire restoration, ny water damage company, puffbacks, flooding, nassau county restoration, dki, burn hazard, fire prevention, smoke damage, christmas tree fire, advanced restoration, long island water damage, reconstruction, suffolk county restoration, emergency service, disrepair, disaster kleenup international, flood damage, smoke restoration

Ice Dams and Protecting Your Home!

Posted on Wed, Jan 06, 2010 @ 08:11 PM
As if we need more snow, another storm is expected on Friday. Whenever there is snow, you are guaranteed to have troublesome ice dams to follow. Ice dams can cause major water damage and flooding to your home, which requires immediate attention.
ice dams, water damage,water extraction
As winter advances through cycles of freezing and thawing, buildings and homes experience ice buildup and roof damage. In general, ice dams are formed when attic heat moves up to warm the roof and melts snow at or near the ridge. Snow melts, runs downward and hits the edge of the cold roof, resulting in re-freezing snow. These cycles cause ice to accumulate and back up under shingles. Damage appears in the form of soaked insulation, stained, cracked and damaged sheet rock, damp, smelly, rotting wall cavities and stained, blistered and peeling paint.

Preventing Ice Dams
To prevent an ice dam, don't heat the roof, keep it cold. That way, the snow on the roof eventually dissipates without making large amounts of meltwater. The underside of the roof deck should not exceed 30 F. The best way to maintain low temperatures is by ensuring that there is adequate insulation and sealing gaps that let warm air pass into the attic from the house. The attic must also be ventilated, so that cold air is introduced into it and heated air escapes rapidly. Some remodeling contractors are under the impression that heat passing through the attic helps prevent ice dams, when just the opposite is true. Although excess heat moving from the attic through the roof rapidly melts snow, once the meltwater touches the cold eaves, it quickly freezes and forms an ice dam.

If you have a furnace in the attic, it may not be possible to prevent ice dams. Increased insulation, however, should help. First, insulate the areas between the roof rafters. It is important to keep an air space between the roof deck and the insulation in order to prevent a condensation buildup that can delaminate the roof deck. Prior to insulating, install polystyrene rafter air channels, which are available at home centers. Next, lay insulation blankets over the furnace's heating ducts to help reduce the heat buildup in the attic. If there's a hatchway into the attic, build a cover for it out of rigid poly-styrene insulation.

If the gable and ridge vents do not generate sufficient air movement to dissipate the heat, you will need a motorized vent at one end of the attic to exhaust the heat, and an adequately sized vent on the opposite end of the attic to draw in cold air from the outside.

Check your home carefully when ice dams form. Investigate even when there doesn't appear to be a leak. Look at the underside of the roof sheathing and roof trim to make sure they haven't gotten wet. Check the insulation for dampness. And when leaks inside your home develop, be prepared. Water penetration often follows pathways difficult follow. Don't just patch the roof leak. Make sure that the roof sheathing hasn't rotted or that other less obvious problems in your ceiling or walls haven't developed. And then detail a comprehensive plan to fix the damage. But more importantly, solve the problem.

If you experience water damage that requires a water damage/flood restoration expert, please contact Advanced Restoration at (800) 693-6263. Advanced Restoration is a full service property damage restoration company that can respond 24/7 to your water damage situation. We use state-of-the-art equipment to handle structural drying. Our professional staff is also available to handle mold situations that may occur as a result of a water loss. Our service area includes Nassau County, Suffolk County and the New York boroughs. Enjoy the snowfall and stay dry!

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