Understanding Your Home Insurance Policy
Here in Chesterfield, Mo we see so many of our customers who do not understand their homeowner's policy. Here is a quick guide to how your policy may be explained.
As a homeowner, one of the most important aspects of your home isn’t something you use daily. And it isn’t something flashy you show off to friends. It’s your homeowner's insurance policy, and it protects you in more ways than you may think, helping you rebuild your home or repair damage that results from a covered loss.
But, that’s not all. It can also help cover the costs of a lawsuit, help you pay for somewhere else to live when your home is uninhabitable and much more.
Home insurance is typically very comprehensive, but all policies have exclusions and coverage limits. It’s vital to know what those are so you know what’s covered and what’s not. Fire damage? Typically covered. Flood damage? Typically not.
With this guide, you can begin to understand what a typical home insurance policy covers. Just keep in mind that coverage varies from carrier to carrier, region to region and even policy to policy. Only your individual home policy can tell you the coverage you have and that which you don’t. For an even better understanding of your home policy coverage, review it with your local independent agent.
What Home Insurance Covers The typical homeowner's insurance policy has six types of coverage. They are commonly known as:
- Coverage A: Dwelling, for damage to your house that occurs due to covered losses, such as a fire. Following a covered loss, dwelling coverage helps you repair or rebuild your home, including the structures, such as a garage or a deck, attached to it.
- Coverage B: Other Structures, for damage to other buildings or structures on your property that result from a covered loss, such as a tornado. This may include a detached garage, a barn or a fence.
- Coverage C: Personal Property, for damage to or loss, including theft, of your personal belongings and possessions, such as jewelry, furniture, guns, and other valuables. If you experience a covered loss, this coverage will help you replace items up to the defined dollar limit in your policy. In certain instances, your belongings may be worth more than the typical home insurance policy covers. In this case, you may be able to purchase additional coverage through a process known as “scheduling valuables.” To help expedite a personal property claim, it helps to keep an updated home inventory of your belongings.
- Coverage D: Additional Living Expenses, for costs incurred, up to your set policy limit, due to “loss of use” of your home, meaning your home has been damaged to the extent that you cannot live in it and you need to live elsewhere. This coverage helps you handle the costs of your temporary housing and related expenses.
- Coverage E: Personal Liability, for damage to other people’s property for which you are responsible. This coverage may also help you handle legal costs and liability judgments resulting from a lawsuit, up to the defined dollar amounts outlined in your policy.
- Coverage F: Medical Payments to Others, for bodily injuries to other people, such as a houseguest, that occur in your home or on your property. Like personal liability coverage, this coverage helps with the costs of a lawsuit or legal decision, up to your defined policy limits.
Remember that, despite having all of these different types of coverage, you’re only covered up to the dollar amounts that you select and only for covered losses, as outlined in your policy. Typically, you can change these policy limits at any time if you’d like to purchase more coverage. This is a good idea if, for example, you’ve recently added on to your home, acquired some pricey personal belongings or made other updates to your property. If needed, you can also reduce your coverage, though always ensure you are adequately protected.
What Home Insurance Doesn’t Cover
It’s just as important to know what your homeowner's insurance doesn’t cover as it is to know what your home policy does cover. For starters, your policy does not cover any damage or repairs costing less than your deductible. It also does not cover any costs that exceed the coverage limits outlined in your policy. You are solely responsible for excess costs unless you have an umbrella policy to provide additional liability coverage for a covered loss.
More than likely, your policy also does not cover routine maintenance and repairs, as well as damage due to animals, termites, floods, earthquakes, sinkholes, sewer backups, and other incidents. These are often considered non-covered losses. If you experience a non-covered loss, as outlined by your policy, you will be responsible for the costs.
What Home Insurance May Cover
Outside of the typical home insurance coverage, optional or separate coverage may be available from your carrier or from a different carrier. For example, you may be able to purchase earthquake or flood coverage separate from your homeowner's policy.
Other coverage options are add-ons to your existing homeowner's insurance. These can include identity protection and equipment breakdown coverage, which covers the cost to repair or replace a range of appliances and other equipment, such as pool equipment, in your home. If this sounds similar to an extended appliance warranty, it is. The difference is that you can insure an array of appliances at once through this optional coverage rather than purchasing a separate warranty for each one.
This guide is a starting point for understanding your home insurance policy. Your own policy may vary greatly from the descriptions above depending on the state where you live, your carrier, and the coverage you have selected. So take a close look at your policy by reviewing your documents or viewing your coverage online. Or, even better, sit down with a local insurance agent who can explain your coverage in detail, as well as discuss whether your policy provides adequate protection for your home, property, and belongings.
From our friends at The Insurance Store and Safeco Insurance
Winter Is Coming Advoid A Chimney Fire In Your Home
Keep Warm And Safe
Here at SERVPRO of South Chesterfield Wildwood we see many of the preventable fire each year. The Majority of Chimney Fires Go Undetected
Slow-burning chimney fires don’t get enough air or have fuel to be dramatic or visible and they often go undetected until a later chimney inspection, but, the temperatures they reach are very high and can cause as much damage to the chimney structure – and nearby combustible parts of the house – as their more spectacular cousins.Creosote & Chimney Fires: What You Must Know
Fireplaces and wood stoves are designed to safely contain wood-fuel fires while providing heat for a home. The chimneys that serve them have the job of expelling the by-products of combustion – the substances produced when wood burns. These include smoke, water vapor, gases, unburned wood particles, hydrocarbon, tar fog, and assorted minerals. As these substances exit the fireplace or wood stove and flow up into the relatively cooler chimney, condensation occurs. The resulting residue that sticks to the inner walls of the chimney is called creosote.
Creosote is a black or brown residue that can be crusty and flaky…tar-like, drippy and sticky…or shiny and hardened. All forms are highly combustible. If it builds up in sufficient quantities – and the internal flue temperature is high enough – the result could be a chimney fire.
Conditions that encourage the buildup of creosote:
- restricted air supply
- unseasoned wood
- cooler than normal chimney temperatures
Air supply may be restricted by closing the glass doors, by failing to open the damper wide enough, and the lack of sufficient make-up air to move heated smoke up the chimney rapidly (the longer the smoke’s “residence time” in the flue, the more likely is it that creosote will form). A wood stove’s air supply can be limited by closing down the stove damper or air inlets too soon or too much. Burning unseasoned wood – because so much energy is used initially just to drive off the water trapped in the cells of the logs– keeps the resulting smoke cooler, then if a seasoned wood is used. In the case of wood stoves, overloading the firebox with wood in an attempt to get a longer burn time also contributes to creosote buildup. Source:Chimney Safety Institute of America
Replace Rubber Washing Machine Hoses
Washer Machine Hoses
What would you guess is the number one cause of water damage to a home? Did you think tornadoes, rainstorms or hurricanes? It’s hard to believe, but it’s broken washing machine hoses.
Left unnoticed a broken washing machine hose can quickly flood a home. Check your hoses periodically. If there are any signs of bulging or leakage, replace the hoses. Make sure your washing machine has heavy, reinforced hoses. The better quality hoses are reinforced with braided metal on the outside or inside.
Another option is to turn off the water to the washing machine when it is not in use. It may not be practical if your laundry has typical plumbing valves, but it’s straightforward if you install a special valve that allows you to turn off hot and cold with a flip of a lever.
A ruptured washing machine hose is the most frequent cause of household water damage originating in the laundry room. According to a spokesman for a major homeowner’s insurance company, a broken cold or hot washing machine hose can inundate the home with up to 500 gallons of water per hour. Imagine bringing an outdoor garden hose inside the house, turning it on full force and just letting it run. You get the picture.
If you are going out of town, turn off your water supply to prevent water damage while you are not at home. SERVPRO is here to help if you should ever need us.
Fire Safety Smoke Alarm Tips In Chesterfield, MO
Check Your Smoke Alarm Often
- Install smoke alarms in every bedroom. They should be outside each sleeping areas and on every level of the home.
- Large homes may need extra smoke alarms.
- It is best to use interconnected smoke alarms. When on smoke alarm sounds, they all sound.
- Test all smoke alarms at least once a month. Press the test button to be sure that the alarm is working.
- Current alarms on the market employ different types of technology including multi-sensing, which could include smoke and carbon monoxide combined.
- Today's smoke alarms will be more technologically advanced to respond to a multitude of fire conditions, yet mitigate false alarms.
- A smoke alarm should be on the ceiling or high on a wall. Keep smoke alarms away from the kitchen to reduce false alarms.
- People who are hard of hearing or deaf can use special alarms. These alarms have strobe lights and bed shakers.
- Replace all smoke alarms when they are 10 years old.
*Source: NFPA-Nation Fire Protection Association
Causes of Refrigerator Leaks
Inspect waterlines often.
Causes of Refrigerator Leaks
Maybe your water alarm alerted you, maybe you see a puddle or some dripping, or maybe you see some signs of water damage (corrosion, water stains, etc.). Once you’ve discovered a leak, consider the possible causes.
Blocked defroster. A blocked defroster can stop defrost-cycle water from draining properly. Try clearing out the small drain by pouring hot water into it. Remove any debris with a pipe cleaner.
Drain pan. Sometimes the drain pan itself can leak. Check for cracks.
Filter. Refrigerators with filters can leak if the filter is the wrong size or not installed properly.
Water line. This is potentially the most problematic. Refrigerators with ice makers or water dispensers have water lines running between the main water supply and the back of the fridge. Feel to see if the water line is wet or dripping. Cracked hoses and loose connections are often the culprits.
Refrigerator leaks can damage the flooring and cabinets in your kitchen. If you experience a refrigerator leak, please contact us right away to treat and help to prevent any further damage.
Selling Your Home
Sell your home faster. Cleaned by the professionals.
Selling Your Home
Cigarette Nicotine Removal
Having a home that has been smoked in may as well had a fire. Smoke can be everywhere. If you thinking about selling a home with a smoke smell can be very costly. SERVPRO has the training and knowledge on how to remove the smell of tobacco products from Commercial buildings and Residential properties.
Ceiling and wall cleaning should be part of the cleaning maintenance of your home or business. You should also clean walls before painting so that the primer and paint can adhere properly. Whether you are preparing to paint or just looking for professional cleaning, SERVPRO of South Chesterfield / Wildwood can help. Ceilings and walls are exposed to dirt and dust, pet dander, cooking oils and grease, cigarette smoke, and other contaminants. Your heating and air conditioning system can distribute these contaminants throughout your property. Learn more about air duct and HVAC cleaning. Using SERVPRO’s time-tested and industry-approved steps, along with our proprietary cleaning products and methods, we strive to restore your ceilings and walls without the need to repaint or refinish and to help the entire property smell fresh. Need Professional Cleaning? Call Today (636) 537-5400
Commercial Mold Remediation in Chesterfield, MO
Mole found behind vinyl wallpaper.
Commercial Mold Remediation Presents Unique Challenges
Mold can spread quickly through a property if left untreated. SERVPRO of South Chesterfield / Wildwood can respond quickly, working to first contain the infestation to help prevent its spread to other parts of the building. Next, we will begin the remediation process, working safely and effectively to manage the situation. We have the training, experience, and equipment to contain the mold infestation and remediate it to preloss condition. Learn more about SERVPRO of South Chesterfield / Wildwood training and certifications.
Besides causing a major business interruption, a mold problem can present a serious health risk for people exposed at your commercial property. Mold infestations can be caused by minor water intrusions, like a slow roof leak or loose plumbing fitting. Every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. If you suspect your property has a mold problem, call SERVPRO of South Chesterfield / Wildwood, who will respond quickly and work fast to manage the situation.
SERVPRO Brings The Right Technology To You
The right tool saves time and money.
SERVPRO of South Chesterfield Wildwood uses state of the art technology at every job. Dehumidifiers are one of the tools to successfully dry out your home or business in a timely manner.
Removing 145 ppd at AHAM conditions, the 250 MAX is our newest Stainless Series LGR dehumidifier.
The Phoenix 250 MAX brings the latest Phoenix technology to our Restoration line. A line going back to the very first LGR (Low Grain Refrigerant) dehumidifier, the Phoenix 200 — the dehumidifier that revolutionized the restoration industry with its deeper drying power.
If your Chesterfield property has been damaged by water caused by flooding or water leaks, we have the experience, expertise, and equipment to restore your property properly. Our water removal and cleanup process also provide validation and documentation that your property is dry.
Please follow our tips outlined in the Water Damage Tips—Until Help Arrives Guide to protect yourself and your property.
If you should find yourself needing help, Call us at SERVPRO of South Chesterfield Wildwood 636-537-5400
Sewage Cleanup and Restoration in Chesterfield, MO
Sewer Backup Cleanup
Sewage Cleanup and Restoration
Water from sewer system backups should be considered very dangerous. The water is grossly unsanitary and may contain bacteria and viruses that could cause serious illness. Special training and equipment are necessary to safely clean this type of contamination.
When a sewage backup happens, you need to move quickly. Evacuate young children, elderly, people with asthma and weak immune systems first. Then call a plumber or cleanup specialist. We can help you find a restoration specialist near you.
Sometimes you can manage small sewage spills without professional help. Small spills are typically confined to a bathroom or part of a kitchen. Major spills, however, require professional help. Sewage is a natural delivery method for disease and infection.
Sewage Backup or Toilet Overflow? Call Us Today – (636) 537-5400
There are three major types of contaminated water. SERVPRO of South Chesterfield / Wildwood will inspect that contaminated water to determine the type of water and then plan the appropriate response to safely restore your home or business.
Commercial Mold Remediation in Chesterfield,Mo
Mold behind wall coverings.
Commercial Mold Remediation
Besides causing a major business interruption, a mold problem can present a serious health risk for people exposed to your commercial property. Mold infestations can be caused by minor water intrusions, like a slow roof leak or loose plumbing fitting. Every hour spent cleaning up is an hour of lost revenue and productivity. If you suspect your property has a mold problem, call SERVPRO of South Chesterfield / Wildwood, who will respond quickly and work fast to manage the situation.
Focus on Prevention
Addressing mold issues in leases of space in multi-tenant buildings should also focus on prevention of conditions that can lead to mold and prompt remediation in the event of a mold problem. If the owner assumes the general repair and maintenance obligations for the building exterior and all building systems, tenants should require the owner to perform periodic mold assessments - whether or not the owner recovers its costs as a common expense. Indeed, because a mold problem could originate in one space but manifest itself in another or other spaces, there is tenant incentive for comprehensive landlord oversight of mold prevention.
Where tenants are responsible for maintenance and repair of their interior space only, owners will want some right of inspection to the extent that the maintenance and repair involve building systems that could lead to moist conditions or mold growth. Additionally, tenants may want the owner to promise to oversee all tenant-performed maintenance to make sure that compliance is reasonably uniform. As with single-tenant buildings, leases should also address responsibility for remediation costs and acceptable times of access.