This photo shows the encapsulation being finished. After this step was completed the containment is now broken down and the final phase begins.
This is the fourth photo showing a project we completed where the basement joists were cleaned. In this photo, the encapsulate is being applied. Encapsulation is a process of spraying a fungicidal, latex based material onto the surface after it has been cleaned.
Continuing with the step by step process of remediation, the photo here shows the damp wiping process. After containment and HEPA vacuuming, the basement is sprayed and then damp wiped. Damp wiping removes all of the particulate from the surface, and then an abrasive method will follow.
This photo shows the same basement in the process of getting HEPA vacuumed. HEPA, which stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air, is a type of air filter that the EPA and the United States Department of Energy require as a standard for Lead and Mold Remediation projects. A HEPA air filter must remove 99.97% of all particles greater than 0.3 microns from the air that passes through the canister or system itself. The use of HEPA filters is beneficial for asthma and allergy sufferers, because the filter traps fine particles such as pollen, spores and dust mite feces, which trigger allergy and asthma symptoms. But for a vacuum cleaner to be effective, that cleaner must be a True HEPA system. The main difference between a vacuum cleaner with just a HEPA filter and a True HEPA system, is that all of the air passing through the cabin of the system itself will pass through the HEPA filter, and the unit will not have cabin leaks. This is a vital step in the remediation process which removes loose particulate prior to any spray being applied to the surface and once again, limits cross contamination.
Here’s a photo of a room with the necessary containment and protection prior to any remediation work beginning. When hiring a mold removal contractor, proper containment is a must. Cross contamination is one of the dangers in remediation when proper containment and protection is constructed.
In continuing our blog on Filing a Fire Claim, here’s the last five…
Keep Track of Your Living Expenses
- While displaced from your home, you will get reimbursed for living expenses because of a clause in your policy called, “loss of use.” Note, however, that you are only entitled to the difference between what it costs you while displaced and what it was costing you in your home. For example, if your monthly living expenses are $4,000 per month, but now you are having to add hotel stays, restaurant meals, laundry expenses, and extra gas for your car, totaling an additional $1,000, your insurance company will only reimburse you the extra $1,000 per month.
Continue to Pay Your Insurance Premiums
- Just because you may not be residing in your home doesn’t mean you do not have to pay the insurance bill. Many people stop paying the bill which is a huge mistake. Your policy carries over to wherever you’re currently living. If you’re staying at a friends home and your pet destroys a very expensive piece of furniture, without your policy being current, this is an expense that will be out of pocket. It is very important to let your insurance company know where you are staying, and to always keep your policy current without a lapse.
You Can Always Reopen the Claim
- Insurance companies are quick to close fire insurance claims, especially in mass disaster situations. The longer your claim is open, the greater chance for you to discover something you overlooked previously. This is actually a common occurrence. In such a stressful and confusing time, it is likely that you may forget to list an item of value in your initial insurance claim. Give yourself some time. Protect yourself by waiting a few months before consenting to closing your claim. You do have this power.
Insurance companies will try and slide in a claim closing by adding language to your check. When they send you your check, they may say something like “acceptance of this payment will close your claim.” You do not have to accept this. Cross out the language, sign or initial next to it, and send them a letter thanking them for the payment, but asserting that you do not consider the claim closed.
Consider a Public Adjuster
- A public adjuster is an individual hired to negotiate and handle the claim on your behalf. Some people think that hiring an adjuster will anger the insurance carrier, but this is non-sense. Insurance companies become multi-million dollar companies not by giving you money for your claim, but by trying every means possible to deny or close out your claim with them giving you far less than you are entitled too. A public adjuster, who takes a percentage of the claim, knows the ins and outs of the insurance game, and will fight for every inch. We also have a blog on what to look for when hiring one of them, https://moldsolutions.wordpress.com/2013/11/07/tips-when-hiring-a-public-adjuster-part-1/
Do Not Worry About Being Dropped
- Too familiar with automobile insurance companies raising premiums or completely dropping drivers, many people fear that filing fire insurance claims will cause their homeowners’ insurance company to do the same. This is not the case. As long as you file only legitimate claims after real disasters, you are not a “habitual claimant,” and there is no evidence of fraud on your part, your premium will not increase and you will not lose your coverage.
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Tragedy has struck and your home has had a major loss due to fire. This is a time when being prepared for dealing with your insurance company is vital because the loss itself will be in the tens of thousands of dollars, if not more. The loss of your home and the possessions within are devastating, so familiarizing yourself with the claims process will make the situation easier once the claim has been filed. Here’s some tips below:
Ask For An Advance Against the Claim For Your Needs.
- If you have to vacate the premises because of the damage, some items in the home which are essential to your living needs like clothes, toiletries, work items, etc., may have been left behind or were damaged. You are fully within your right to call the insurance company and request an individual bring you a check at your current location so that you may buy those needed goods. Remember, once the check is given to you, it doesn’t give you the right to replace those items with more expensive items, because then the insurance company can deny to reimburse you for those purchases. Buy exact replacements and only what you really need.
Itemize Everything Lost and Do Not Discard Anything.
- Making a list of all the items in the home which was lost is one of the most important steps. The reasoning for not throwing other items, even if they’re burnt in the trash is because you can show those items to the insurance company as “lost goods.” This can be a time consuming and a very frustrating thing to do, but contents can add tens of thousands of dollars to your claim, so you want to make sure everything is documented. Keeping the items will make the process easier because nothing can be disputed. If receipts are salvageable, they will also serve a great purpose on your behalf.
File Your Claim Immediately and be Persistent For Them to Act.
- Insurance policies require policyholders to file their fire insurance claims as soon as possible. Call your homeowners’ insurance agent immediately to get the process started. There may be others that are dealing with this issue as well since some of the fire may have gotten into other homes or smoke damage could have affected your neighbors property. So acting fast is imperative especially if other claims are filed and your claim is pushed to the bottom of the list. You’ll need
- Date of loss
- Type of loss or damage
- Location of damage
- Any related injuries
- Others involved
- Condition of the home
- Description of damaged contents
- Whether or not temporary repairs are necessary
- A police report
- Dealing with the insurance company is a very convoluted process involving countless calls, emails, letters, and documents. Be sure to keep track of all communication and keep a copy of all documents and post office receipts of mailing. Take notes, including the date and time, of every phone conversation and face to face meeting. Getting a binder or file organizer is a great idea. This will allow you to section off the different types of correspondence–organizing phone call notes, emails, invoices, bills, permits, contracts for repairs, and insurance forms each into their own separate section. Remember to always keep original documents of everything. If your insurance company wants proof of a document, make them a copy but keep the original. The more organized you are the better prepared you will be should your insurance company start playing the “he said, she said” game with you.
Secure Your Property or Hire Someone to do So.
- Even though the property has experienced a major loss, it is still your responsibility to secure the property. If only a section of your home is damaged, protecting the other portions of the home is something that you must do. Mitigating Damage is basically reducing further damage by Covering any holes in walls, windows or the roof from the elements, Protecting from looters by securing any points of entry, Smoldering all embers, Moving undamaged property away from the loss area.
Document Everything While Getting Proper Repair Estimates.
- Filing fire insurance claims enables you to repair or even rebuild your damaged home. “Actual cash value” policies entitled you to the amount it would take to return your home, including its contents, to its pre-fire fair market value. “Replacement” policies entitled you to the amount it would take to replace the home and its contents, regardless of the value of what you lost. “Replacement” coverage does not require you to actually rebuild your home on the exact same lot. You can choose where you want to rebuild. So, long as it is the same value as your old lot, your insurance covers it. Of course, if you move to where property is more expensive, you will end up paying the difference. If you decide not to rebuild, but to invest the money in something completely unrelated, like a business or college fund, the “replacement” policy will become an “actual cash value” policy, providing you with about 15% less.
The insurance company will require an estimate of the fair market value or cost of replacement of damaged property before the fire. Insurance companies will send out their own adjusters, but remember that these folks work for the insurance company and so will make decisions in the insurance company’s best interest, not yours. You do not have to accept the numbers that they throw at you, so it could be best for you to hire your own independent estimator or contractor.
The estimator or contractor you hire is being paid by you and therefore is looking out for your best interest, not that of the insurance company. Do not accept any amount from the insurance company unless you are certain it is what a buyer would have paid for your home and its contents just before the fire.
Be sure to be picky when choosing a contractor. Choose one who is not only good and experienced in building, but also is experienced in how insurance companies handle issues. Before you agree to commence any work, be sure that you and the insurance company are in agreement regarding the scope of the work to be done.
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