It’s that time now when many of us look ahead to the new year, and set our sights on resolutions. No smoking, less food, more good deeds; they’re all about improving our lives. Here’s another way to improve your safety and well-being this time of year: Get out your homeowner’s policy and give it a good hard look.
Time and again we’ve seen clients at wit’s end, because they discovered they were under-insured after a loss, or had only the vaguest idea what personal items just went up in smoke. Putting your homeowner’s insurance on autopilot is like driving your car without changing the oil or checking the tires. But it only takes a few steps to give your policy a tune-up.
Check to see that your limits are high enough to give you enough coverage to rebuild if your entire home is destroyed by fire. Also, consider adding an endorsement (addition) to cover a sewer backup. Sewer utilities in larger communities provide some compensation to homeowners, but smaller ones offer little or no protection.
After the gift-giving of the holidays, it’s also a good time to start or update an inventory list of your personal possessions. A good way to break this down is by room, starting with the largest or most expensive items. Today, even low-end digital cameras and most cellphones have video capabilities, making it easy to further document your possessions.
Finally, check in with your insurance agent, to see if you qualify for any discounts, or whether your provider has any deals for bundling your homeowners’ with other policies. You can use any savings to offset the cost of raising your coverage where it’s needed.
Disaster can strike anyone, anytime and anywhere. A little bit of “resolve” now can go a long way to reduce the pain if disaster puts you in its cross-hairs.
One of the fall-outs we see when water damage gets hold of a home or business is an eruption of mold. Many times, property owners are unaware of the initial start of this calamity in the making, when a small leak begins under a sink, in the walls from a supply line, or the overflow from a clogged condensation line of an air conditioning unit.
Sensitivity to mold can be disabling, and in some cases, even life-threatening. If you suspect this potential problem in yourself or a family member, a great source for help is right here in St. Louis at http://aafastl.org/. The local chapter of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America can help answer your questions about health concerns, and steer you to medical professionals with the expertise to do something about them.
If your family has experienced this problem, we’d like to hear from you. Knowledge is certainly power, and your knowledge and experience could very well help another overcome and win the war when mold attacks.
Thanks for stopping by our new site, WaterdamageSTL, where we will be providing fresh, inciteful news, views and suggestions on how to get through one of the biggest disruptions a property owner can face: Fire, water and/or storm damage. Now, you don’t have to face it alone.
Please send us any questions you have on property loss, the claims process, getting things back to normal, etc. If we don’t have the answer, we WILL find it for you.
So far, our area (St. Louis) has dodged the blustery bullets of Winter, but sooner or later, those icy Arctic blasts will hit their mark. It’s already late in the game, but still not too late for homeowners to help themselves out and dodge a catastrophe.
Shut off any supply lines to outdoor faucets, and if possible, drain the lines. If you don’t have a drain valve, at least make sure the faucet is open to allow expansion of water left in the line to prevent a pipe rupture.
Inside your home, check underneath all sinks, especially in basement areas. Install pipe wrap to any exposed supply lines and cut out panels of Styrofoam to mount on any exterior wall surfaces close to the pipes.
Some older homes even have supply lines running through attic spaces. If you can safely access your attic, pipe wrap on these lines can go a long way in preventing a frozen pipe break.
Finally, consider having your main drain line (lateral line) professionally cabled. Colder weather can reduce the flow in these lines by thickening the sludge that normally builds up in them over time.
These simple precautions make it a snap to stay on target for a great start to 2012.