Storm Season Insurance Guide
Hurricane Season is from June 1st to November 30th, and we can’t stress enough how important it is to be prepared; for preparation is the best defense against disasters. As a restoration company we tend to stress heavily on physical preparation, such as checking your home for leaks, cracks, mold, or any hazards that can allow additional damage to occur should a storm hit. However another major preparation factor that NEEDS to be addressed is property insurance.
There are thousands of insurance policies out there, each with varying degrees of coverage and you’d be surprised at how few homeowners truly know their coverage. If you haven’t already, contact your local insurance agent and schedule a time to sit down and go over all of your coverage details- don’t wait till after you have a loss to check your insurance. When speaking with your agent, here are a few topics you should be sure to discuss and understand prior to storm season.
Understanding Your Deductible:
With property insurance there tend to be two different deductibles when it comes to storms. One is Hurricane deductible and the other is windstorm deductible. Insurers in every costal state include separate deductibles for hurricanes and/or windstorms in their homeowner’s policies.
A hurricane deductible is applied only to hurricanes, whereas a windstorm deductible applies to any type of wind. When speaking with your agent, be sure to understand how these deductibles affect your pay out, for it might be advisable to set aside additional funds incase you need to rebuild your home.
What Disasters Insurance Covers:
Its important to be knowledgeable of what disasters your insurance policy covers. Most standard homeowner’s insurance policies provide coverage for hurricanes, wind, theft, fire, explosions, lightning strikes, and many other disasters. However, all policies also list exclusions, with one of the more common exclusions being flooding. While many people might not feel flooding insurance is necessary, what they don’t know is that 90% of natural disasters (especially hurricanes) include some form of flooding. Living in Florida, flood insurance is a must.
Are Your Possessions Covered:
When analyzing your coverage, its important to make sure that your possessions are well insured. Your policy not only protects your home but all of your belongings, so be sure that your policy provides protection against loss or damage due to a hurricane. In order to ensure you have efficient coverage, we recommend that you determine the value of your possessions with a home inventory, so you know how much coverage you actually need.
Additional Living Expenses:
If a storm is to leave your home uninhabitable, its important to make sure that your policy provides enough coverage for additional living expenses such as hotel and food expenses.
Damage Mitigation Responsibilities:
Lastly but most importantly, if disaster is to strike your property you are responsible for taking necessary steps to prevent further damages. For example. should a hurricane cause roof damage or window damage allowing water to get into your home, you are responsible to do all you can to mitigate your losses. By performing such steps not only are the homeowners experiencing less of a loss, but it also reduces the expense that would be payable under the claim for insurance. If this step is not taken and you abandon your property after the storm and the damage grows worse due to your neglect, then you may find your claim denied by insurance which can result in a hefty out of pocket fee.
Prepare Your Waterfront Home For Storm Season
When you think of South Florida, many people imagine beautiful beaches, waterfront properties and sun year-round. Sounds like paradise, right? The Covid-19 pandemic, as we have seen, has resulted in a mass migration of residents from all over the U.S. to relocate to South Florida, with many investing in beautiful waterfront properties. While there are many benefits to living in South Florida, there are still some drawbacks that may be overlooked, such as hurricane season and what preparation looks like for those who own land with waterfront or ocean access.
For long time Floridians, preparation for hurricane season has become second nature. For those who are new to the South Florida area, here are a few tips and tricks to getting your home prepared for the 2021 season, because here at SERVPRO of West Palm Beach we believe that the best defense against severe storms is to be prepared for the worst.
Docks and Seawalls
- Inspect your docks for damage and handle any necessary repairs ahead of time. Doing this can save you from potential higher property repair costs should a large storm hit your location.
- Sea wall inspection is pertinent, as it may be the best line of defense against storm surge.
- Secure everything, such as ropes, chairs, flags or any other item that can easily come loose or get tossed around in hurricane winds. Not only will this save your property from further damage, but it can save you from the potential financial responsibility of repairing your neighbors property.
- Turn off the power and water to your dock. Although this may not be mandatory, it is highly advised and can save you from experiencing a high-water bill should a pipe burst or a fire as a result of an electrical short.
Boat Storage Options
- Land Storage: Storing your boat ashore on higher ground is the most recommended method during a hurricane. Be sure to tie your boat down by attaching straps with minimal to no stretch to eyes set in concrete or helical anchors.
- Water Storage: if you have to store your boat on the water during a hurricane, there are several things to keep in mind. Seek out tall pilings, as shorter pilings aren’t very forgiving during a storm surge. Also try to store your boat on a floating dock, which allows the boats to rise and fall with the water level without stretching or stressing lines.
- Boat Lifts: NEVER keep your boat on a boat lift during a hurricane. A storm surge could easily wipe out the entire dock and take your boat with it, resulting in costly damage to your boat as well as your property.
- Windows: Unless your home has been upgraded with Hurricane windows, hurricane shutters are the best option.
- Doors: Be sure to check that the weather stripping and thresholds of your doors are in good condition. If your home is in a low-lying area, sandbagging around the entrances can help prevent interior flooding and water damage to you home.
- Property: Be sure to place important documents, photos, and other irreplaceable property in a safe waterproof location.
In the event that you do experience any type of storm damage or flooding at your waterfront property, be sure to reach out to the experts here at SERVPRO of West Palm Beach. We have the knowledge, experience and trust of the community to handle all your mitigation and restoration needs. We promise we’ll make it look “Like it never even happened.”
SERVPRO- Faster to Any Sized Disaster
What should be expected when you contact us?
When contacting SERVPRO of West Palm Beach, you should expect our 24-hour availability! Any time of the day on any given day, even holidays, we are here and ready to take your call. SERVPRO of West Palm Beach is one of the top choices for many insurance agencies, for they trust in our service standards, quality of work and reliability.
Here is what you can expect during the first several hours after contacting SERVPRO of West Palm Beach:
Faster to Any Size Disaster - In many cleaning and restoration situations, immediate action is needed. With over 1,700 U.S. and Canadian Franchise locations, SERVPRO is strategically positioned to be faster to any size emergency. An immediate response helps to minimize the damage and the cleaning and restoration costs.
Water is particularly invasive, quickly spreading throughout your property and being absorbed into floors, walls, furniture, etc. SERVPRO of West Palm Beach arrives quickly and starts the water extraction process almost immediately.
Arrive Time - Our technicians can be on-site to begin the restoration process within four hours. This fast response can make the difference if your home or commercial business has suffered a great deal of damage. Beginning the process more quickly will result in less damage overall which can end up costing the insurance agency less money.
Inspection/Verbal Briefing - Once the damage restoration specialists have arrived, they can inspect the home to determine the extent of the damage and decide on the best course of action moving forward. Our team is here for you and your best interests. We will let you know on site if this job is worth putting in a claim in order to spare you from increased insurance premiums. They will provide a verbal briefing so that you are aware of what will happen next. Our team's quick 24-hour response will allow us to begin mitigation as soon as possible to prevent any further damage before we begin work on necessary repairs.
At SERVPRO of West Palm Beach, we are proud to serve our community with the people’s best interest in mind. Day or night- we are here for you when you need us.
Why You Should Choose SERVPRO
SERVPRO is ONE TEAM
Whenever and wherever a disaster may be, SERVPRO will be there. With over 1,700 SERVPRO’s nation-wide, we are quickly able to rally troops together creating an unstoppable force that is here to help.
Why Choose SERVPRO for Storm Damage Restoration?
All 1,700 SERVPRO’s are strategically placed throughout the U.S. so that when disaster strikes, we can most efficiently and effectively come to alleviate those affected.
Take Winter Storm Uri for example. When the south-central region of the United States experienced below-freezing temperatures, residential and commercial properties experienced burst pipes followed by severe levels of water damage. The moment there was a cry for help, SERVPRO of West Palm Beach began stocking up our trucks with air movers, dehumidifiers, moisture meters and driving cross-country with one goal in mind- to help those who need us most!
Within days thousands of hands were on deck working together as one cohesive unit to help mitigate the water damage that had occurred. The wonderful thing about choosing SERVPRO of West Palm Beach as your trusted restoration and reconstruction company, is that you not only work with a highly trusted name, but you gain access to all 1,700 franchises nation-wide who are willing to travel wherever they are needed when the time comes to take care of your mold, water, fire or storm damage.
Another beautiful thing about working with SERVPRO is that each franchise lives by the same service standards. We all are locally owned and operated, provide 24-hour emergency services, are highly trained and IICRC certified, have access to the most advanced technology in the restoration industry, and we are all familiar and experienced when it comes to insurance requirements.
Whether you experience hurricane storm damage in West Palm Beach, or a wildfire out in California, SERVPRO of West Palm Beach is here to help and so are our neighboring SERVPRO franchises.
How SERVPRO can help you prepare with an ERP
If water or fire damage were to strike your business today, are you prepared for tomorrow? Do you have a plan? According to researchers, as many as 50% of businesses close down following a disaster. Pre-Planning can be vital to your business’s survival, and also serves to provide you and your employees peace of mind, knowing that you are ready for whatever is to happen. How do you prepare though?
SERVPRO offers commercial and small business owners an Emergency Ready Profile application which works to prevent situations from escalating. The SERVPRO ERP works on the premise that the more you know what to do and what to expect before disaster does strike, the more you will be prepared to minimize the damages that storm, water, and fire can cause.
The ERP includes the following:
- A no-cost assessment of your facility.
- A concise Profile Document that contains only the critical information needed in the event of an emergency.
- A guide to help you get back into your building following a disaster.
- Establishes your local SERVPRO Franchise Professional as your disaster mitigation and restoration provider.
- Identification of the line of command for authorizing work to begin.
- Provides facility details such as shut-off valve locations, priority areas, and priority contact information.
Everything included in the ERP app is designed to help YOU and your business when faced with disaster. Through having all the pertinent information available at your fingertips and sharing it with your local SERVPRO Franchise Professionals here at SERVPRO of West Palm Beach, when damage occurs, we are able to immediately show up on site and begin mitigating the issue for you. As we all know, when dealing with water and fire damage- time is ALWAYS of the essence!
By having a plan, you will also minimize business interruption. Knowing key points of contacts allow us to help get your business or office back up and running safely and quickly! Contact your local SERVPRO today to get set up with your very on Emergency Ready Profile. Plan today for what may come tomorrow.
How to Begin Safely Returning to the Workplace
It has exactly a year since the United States and most of the world has endured the COVID-19 pandemic. Since March 2020, there has been a lot of things that have changed like the fact that experts have a better understanding of the virus or that many states have since reopened following months of quarantine. The most important change has obviously been the vaccine and its accessibility. Each day in 2021 brings increased numbers of vaccinated adults throughout Florida and the rest of the United States.
With the pool of newly vaccinated adults growing, restrictions, or lack thereof, is a topic now on many American’s minds. Returning to the workplace and whether that will be before the end of 2021 is amongst these questions as well. While the answer to this is not simple nor truly known at this time, it is important for employers and business owners to consider the timeline and safety measures they will put into place.
While the CDC has released guidelines on what are low-risk activities for fully vaccinated people, the list does not currently consider every possible pre-COVID scenario at this time; this includes working in office amongst other employees, who may or may not be vaccinated. For employers and business owners, noting this is important as it means great emphasis should still be placed on routine cleaning and sanitizing of office buildings and businesses.
If returning to office during the pandemic becomes a reality, additional measures should still be enforced, regardless of the vaccine.
- Practice and encourage proper personal hygiene
- Employees should be washing their hands often
- Make hand sanitizer accessible throughout the office
- Encourage the use of masks around coworkers and patrons
- Encourage social distancing as well
- Routinely clean and sanitize the workplace environment
- Disinfect hotspot or high-touch areas daily
- Encourage employees to disinfect their personal workstations
- Hire an experience company, like SERVPRO, to provide sanitizing and disinfecting services with EPA registered cleaning solutions
Globally, we have been considering the health and safety of ourselves and we one another for the last year. Now more than ever, it is important to continue to abide by the guidelines the CDC has placed for both vaccinated and non-vaccinated people and do our best to stay safe and healthy!
Is Your Business Ready for 2021 Storm Season?
With storm season almost here, SERVPRO of West Palm Beach is announcing our Emergency Ready Profile for all business owners, building owners, property managers and others to get prepared.
An Emergency Ready Profile is a tool, available via mobile app, that creates an immediate plan of action for quicker response time and minimal business interruption in the event of an emergency. Our team walks through your facility, detailing critical information that is needed in an emergency including: priority areas, priority contacts, access points, vendors and more. This information is then stored in your ERP, along with photos and other written details.
The ERP has helped many businesses in the past, who have suffered from damage during the hurricane season, to quickly reopen their doors. Not only does the ERP establish a relationship with your local SERVPRO, it helps us to quickly begin work and contact other needed vendors.
Emergency Ready Plan Advantages:
- No cost plan created for you entirely by the SERVPRO team.
- There is no need to allocate any additional funds for this tool nor appoint any employee to complete. Our team is here to make things as easy as possible, leaving one less stress for you during storm season.
- Identifies line of command for work authorization.
- Once someone from your business has notified your local SERVPRO of damage, we know exactly who to call for work authorization. This quick response ability can save both time and money during the restoration process.
- The ERP mobile app is easy to use and accessible.
- Water, mold, or storm damage can happen at any time. This may mean documents or files related to contingency plans that your business has may not be readily available to you after hours. Having the ERP mobile app on your phone makes it easy to get all the necessary information you need in an emergency.
Storm season is quickly approaching and preparing your business in any way possible is vital. During the 2020 storm season, Hurricane Isaias for example, left many business owners to reexamine how quickly storm paths can change and how deeply their businesses can be affected any moment by a hurricane. Have an emergency ready plan in place and stay prepared!
Stella Art Conservation: SERVPRO of West Palm Beach's Trusted Art Conservators
Meet the Stella Sisters of Stella Art Conservation
Barbara Stella, the artist, and founder of Stella Art Conservation, is a talented, highly trained, and passionate conservator who thoroughly enjoys bringing art back to life the way the original creator had intended.
Barbara Stella is not only immensely talented, but she is brilliantly trained and educated in the art of conservation. She attended the Institute of Fine Arts and Restoration, Palazzo Spinelli in Florence, Italy where she received her degree in fine arts conservation. When it comes to conserving art, understanding the history of the art is invaluable. Her knowledge of how to properly treat and restore a variety of materials and mediums, is one of the many reasons Barbara is so highly sought out.
Being in the industry for over 30 years now, Barbara has treated the works of prestigious artists such as Rembrandt, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Joan Miro’, Salvador Dali, Kenneth Noland, Fernando Botero, Rene’ Magritte and many others. Despite Barbara’s years of success, she continues to maintain a student mentality through staying current with new and innovative techniques within the industry.
Sandra Stella is the Executive Manager of Stella Art Conservation and works to ensure that each and every client receives the highest level of care, and that their business remains active in the community.
Sandra brings to the company a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to business development and forming lasting relationships with the community. Graduating with a master’s degree from the London School of Economics, UK, Sandra moved to Burkina Faso in West Africa where she spent 10 years working for the Italian and British Government. Here she worked with ambassadors, government ministers, and policymakers, to improve the quality of life for may women and children.
Since Sandra moved to South Florida, she has been an active member of the community, serving on the board of directors for various organizations.
Together, Barbara and Sandra successfully bring Barbara’s passions to the forefront of the Art Conservation Industry.
Here at SERVPRO of West Palm Beach, we are proud to partner up with Stella Art Conservation as being our go-to art conservation specialists. Here in South Florida, we experience an excessively humid climate. As a result, homeowners and companies commonly experience mold at their properties. Mold spores are all around us, but with the proper climate and organic materials mold can spread and get out of control relatively quickly. In many instances we have seen beautiful works of art experience damage due to water and mold. With Barbara’s knowledge and skill, we have been able to save our clients from incurring an unimaginable loss, as many of these pieces cannot be replaced. Whether modern, contemporary or anything in between, if your art is in need of conservation, Stella Art Conservation will ensure that your piece is well cared for and will continue to live on for generations to come.
Post Construction Cleaning Capabilities
New construction is ALWAYS an exciting time! Once the job is finally finished, there is nothing better than stepping into your brand-new office for the first time, but before anyone can step into their new space and bask in all its glory there are a lot of clean up steps that need to take place after the construction is finished.
In the city of West Palm Beach, we have seen increased commercial construction projects to compensate for the number of businesses migrating from the north east to sunny south Florida! Additionally, the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County has also offered incentives for businesses to expand and relocate to Palm Beach County in order to create increased employment opportunities. Companies such as Elliott Management (a prominent New York investment firm), Citadel and Moelis & Co are the latest to say they will open offices in Florida. On the building side we have new workspace construction underway for the 360 Rosemary offices located at Rosemary Square in the heart of Downtown West Palm. Needless to say, many companies are eager to get up and running in their new spaces and SERVPRO of West Palm Beach is eager to get their new office looking move in ready!
Once the last nail has been hammered in and the dust has settled (and we mean ALL the dust) it is time to put on our gloves and masks and get to work! Our staff here at SERVPRO of West Palm Beach will take care of everything!
Post construction cleanings can include:
- Cleaning off scuff marks from walls.
- Sweeping/mopping floors to remove settled dust.
- Wiping down all countertops, baseboards, and cabinets.
- HVAC dust cleaning.
- Cleaning and polishing restroom fixtures.
- Removing of left behind lumber, drywall, and garbage for both the interior and exterior.
- Cleaning up left behind screws and nails.
- Cleaning windows and light fixtures so that visibility is at its most optimal.
By hiring SERVPRO of West Palm Beach for your post construction cleaning, not only do you avoid the serious headache of having to meticulously clean every little nook and cranny of dirt and dust, but you can save yourself the risk of getting injured on the job. Left over debris can pose serious safety concerns if you decide to clean up on your own, especially if you are under equipped with the proper safety equipment. We highly recommend you leave the cleanup to the experts. We’ll get it done efficiently and safely, so that you can do what you do best!
Disaster Management Tips and Tricks for Your Business
According to a report from FEMA, 50% of businesses do not reopen following a disaster. Having a disaster preparedness guide is one of the easiest ways to help ensure your business survives and recovers. Follow these tips below in order to give you and your business the best chances of surviving a disaster.
- Prevention: The best way to avoid a disaster is to do everything you can to prevent one from happening. Accidents happen, but by routinely performing safety and system checks within your business you decrease your chances of experiencing a disaster. Ensure equipment such as fire sprinklers and fire alarms are working properly and ensure that office cords aren’t frayed or worn.
- Evacuation plan: As stated above, accidents happen. But when they do, how will you respond? Will you freeze up and panic not knowing what to do, or will you establish and follow a plan to ensure your safety and help minimize damages to your business? Know your evacuation routes and establish a meeting place to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone in your office, as well as the procedures needed to take to minimize additional property damages and ensure help is on its way.
- Emergency contacts: In addition to having emergency personnel and disaster relief agencies contact information, you should include information for customers, suppliers, and distributors. Be sure to keep an extra copy off site in the event that the office copy is not accessible. Here at SERVPRO of West Palm Beach, we offer the ERP (Emergency Ready Program) where we will organize and compile all of the necessary shut off valves to consider during a disaster as well as the proper contacts to speak with immediately following.
- Emergency kit: Depending on how much time you have to react to the disaster your experiencing, creating an emergency kit can come in handy. Be sure to include items such as first aid supplies, flashlights, and universal tool kits to help keep you safe no matter what the scenario.
- Protect important business records: These days, most of our important documents can be stored electronically up in the cloud. However, if your business carries hard copies of important business records, be sure to keep them in a secure safe that is tested and approved by UL (Underwriters Laboratories) as being resistant to fire, heat, burglary, tools and torches.
- Create backup copies of critical data and programs: Keep the back-up copies in a location separate from your primary facility. In the event of a flood or fire, you will be happy to have your irreplaceable data destroyed.
- Understand your insurance coverage: Be sure to review and understand your insurance policy with your local agent to make dure you know what your responsibilities are in a disaster and what your covered for. There are a variety of different insurance policies with different deductibles and amounts of coverage, so in order to save yourself additional stress, find a policy that will cover what is most important to you.
- Call the professionals: Immediately following a disaster, call the professionals at SERVPRO of West Palm Beach. The sooner we can evaluate and repair the damages the sooner you can get your business back up and running!