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Facts About Flood Insurance: Why you need to have it and what you need to know

1/15/2019 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Facts About Flood Insurance: Why you need to have it and what you need to know Purchasing a food insurance policy will help you recover faster after a flooding disaster.

According to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States, affecting every single state. While hurricanes are mostly responsible for massive flooding catastrophes, other causes of flooding include snowmelt, heavy rain, dams or levees breaking, and new developments impacting water flow. In the past couple of years many homes that were not in high-risk flood zones throughout the cities of Covington, Bogalusa, Franklinton, Denham Springs, and Baton Rouge experienced flooding simply due to heavy rainfall.  In case you didn’t know, your homeowner’s policy will not cover damages caused by flooding. So, purchasing a flood insurance policy is a wise idea even if your home is not located on the lakefront in Mandeville or near the river in downtown Covington. Just one inch of flood water in your home can cost thousands of dollars in damages. Flood water is contaminated water and, according to industry cleaning standards, every material affected by flood water must be removed and discarded. Imagine if a few inches of flood water entered your home. Now imagine needing to replace your flooring, sheetrock, cabinets, furniture, clothes, electronics, etc. How much do you think this would cost you? Purchasing a flood insurance policy will save you time and money, helping you and your family recover faster. Well, what do you need to know about flood insurance before speaking to your insurance agent? Below are a few facts about flood insurance and helpful tips to make you a more informed insured.

When should I purchase a flood insurance policy?

Do not wait for hurricane season to purchase a flood insurance policy. The average flood insurance policy takes 30 days to become active. However, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, a policy may go into effect sooner: 

  • “If your building is newly designated in a high-risk Special Flood Hazard Area, and you buy flood insurance within the 13-month period following a map revision: One-day waiting period.
  • If you buy flood insurance in connection with making, increasing, extending or renewing your mortgage loan: No waiting period.
  • If you select additional insurance as an option on your flood insurance policy renewal bill: No waiting period.
  • If your property is affected by flooding on burned federal land, and the policy is purchased within 60 days of the fire-containment: Possible waiver of the waiting period.”

But, for the most part, damages from flooding will only be covered after the thirty day wait period. Now is the best time to purchase a policy.

What is covered by a flood insurance policy?

Flood insurance is available to homeowners, business owners, and renters. For homeowners, your flood insurance policy will offer up to $250,000 for repairing the home itself and offer up to $100,000 for replacing personal items and your home’s contents. Business owner policies will offer up to $500,000 for building repairs and $500,000 in building contents. Renters can purchase policies covering up to $100,000 of personal contents.

According to FEMA:

“Building coverage includes:

  • The insured building and its foundation;
  • The electrical and plumbing system;
  • Central air conditioning equipment, furnaces, and water heaters;
  • Refrigerators, cooking stoves, and built-in appliances such as dishwashers; and
  • Permanently installed carpeting over unfinished flooring.

Contents coverage includes:

  • Clothing, curtains, furniture and electronic equipment;
  • Portable items such as; window air conditioners, microwaves and dishwashers; and
  • Carpeting that is not already included in property coverage.”

Policy prices will differ based upon deductible, the extent of coverages, flood risk, year of building construction, and other factors. The flood insurance market is evolving. Private insurance companies are beginning to offer flood insurance policies now. Speak with your insurance agent to see if you could benefit from purchasing a private flood insurance policy.  

How do I purchase a flood insurance policy?

Speak with your insurance agent to learn more about the National Flood Insurance Program and private insurance policies. They should help you to understand which options are best suited for your home and/or business.  If your agent does not sell flood insurance, contact the NFIP Referral Call Center at 800-427-4661 for a referral.

What do I do after a flood?

If your home or business has been damaged by flood waters, then please do not enter the property until it is safe to do so. Once you can access your property again, start with contacting your insurance company to file a claim. Then, you can begin to inventory damaged items. Take photographs of everything. Write down each item’s purchase date and estimated value. This home inventory list will need to be submitted to your adjuster. Also, remember to take notes of your conversations with your insurance company and the adjuster. Jot down date and time of each interaction, as well as specific notes about what was discussed.

If you do not have a flood insurance policy and your home or business has been damaged due to flooding, then you will be financially responsible for necessary repairs and restoration services. Only if a flooding incident has been declared a national disaster by the president will FEMA assistance become available. This assistance is usually in the form of a grant or low-interest disaster loan that you are required to repay.

The recovery process following flooding disasters is long and emotional. SERVPRO of Greater Covington and Mandeville understands the stress and worry you will feel after your home has incurred damages. As your neighbors and your friends, we offer our expertise, guidance, and 24-hour emergency restoration services for those in need of disaster recovery. For questions or to receive assistance please contact our office by dialing 985-871-5375.

For more information about the National Flood Insurance Program or what to do before, during or after a flood you can visit:

https://www.floodsmart.gov/how/what-to-know-before-buying-a-flood-insurance-policy

https://www.floodsmart.gov/

https://www.iii.org/article/facts-about-flood-insurance

https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4310-4313/updates/facts-and-myths-about-flood-insurance

https://www.disasterassistance.gov/

Minimize Water Damage With This Product

1/10/2019 (Permalink)

Water Damage Minimize Water Damage With This Product Water Leak Detector

"I just woke up and found my house is flooded with water! At some point last night a pipe under my kitchen sink broke and now there's water everywhere. Please help me." 

We get this phone call all of the time. It's more common than you think for a water pipe to accidentally break or for a hot water heater to explode, causing several gallons of water to leak in your home. Accidents do happen though. Pipes get old and break. Appliances often malfunction. So, how do you prevent waking up in the morning to wet, squishy bedroom floors? Water leak detectors work like smoke detectors in that they will sound an alarm to notify you of a water leak. You can purchase a water leak detector from a hardware store, like The Home Depot or Lowe's, or from an online retailer for about ten dollars. Simply leave the water leak detector in places prone to cause water damage like under sinks and in the drip pan under your hot water heater. If an accident were to occur, then upon hearing the alarm you should quickly act to find which alarm is sounding and turn off the water supply to that sink or turn off your hot water heater. This simple product can help to diminish a water damage disaster in your home, saving you time and money. 

If a water damage event has already happened in your home, then follow these tips to prevent further damages

SERVPRO of Greater Covington and Mandeville is available 24/7/365 for emergency water damage restoration. 

Responding Quickly to a Commercial Water Loss

1/9/2019 (Permalink)

Commercial Responding Quickly to a Commercial Water Loss SERVPRO of Greater Covington and Mandeville specializes in commercial water damage restoration.

While renovating a new space at this shopping center a contractor accidentally broke one of the sprinkler heads. Gallons of water began spewing out of the fire suppression system and leaked into the neighboring retail store. Once notified of the situation the property manager called us for help. Our water damage restoration crew was on site within twenty minutes. We quickly extracted all of the water and then properly placed drying equipment where needed. In just three days both affected retail spaces were completely dry! 

SERVPRO of Greater Covington and Mandeville believes in the 1-4-8 customer service promise. Within one hour of receiving notice of an emergency one of our project managers will schedule a time to meet our customer at their home or business. Within, four hours of the original phone call our team will be on site assessing damages. And lastly, within eight hours one of our project managers will communicate our plan of action to our customer. We uphold this promise 24/7/365. 

Sewage Loss at Church in Picayune

1/3/2019 (Permalink)

Commercial Sewage Loss at Church in Picayune Sewage Loss at Church in Picayune, Mississippi

On Sunday, December 30th our marketing coordinator received notice from one of our clients of a sewage loss at a church in Picayune, Mississippi. The sewage pipe system had malfunctioned and raw sewage was flowing from underneath the wall into the church sanctuary. Luckily, someone was able to quickly respond and shut off the water supply to the building. One of our project managers and part of our water damage restoration team was on site as soon as possible to help. As you may notice in the picture, only a small portion, approximately seven hundred square feet, of the main space was affected. Our crew removed all affected materials, including carpet, sheetrock, and insulation. The remaining materials were sprayed with a biocide to disinfect and prevent future damages. 

If your home or business has experienced a sewage loss, then please do not attempt to clean the affected area by yourself. Please call our trained and highly certified technicians to properly clean up and restore your property. 

Flood Warning Continues for St. Tammany Parish and Surrounding Areas

12/28/2018 (Permalink)

Storm Damage Flood Warning Continues for St. Tammany Parish and Surrounding Areas Flood warning for St. Tammany Parish and Surrounding Areas

Last night's storm has caused several roads to be unpassable and we are now receiving many phone calls requesting help to restore flooded homes and businesses. The flood warning will continue for St. Tammany and surrounding areas until early next week. If your home or business has experienced flooding, then please call our office at 985-871-5375. Our water damage restoration technicians are ready to respond as quickly as possible.

According to Weather Underground: 

The Flood Warning continues for
the Bogue falaya river at Boston St in Covington.
* Until Monday December 31.
* At 9:30 am Friday the stage was 10.1 feet.
* Minor flooding is occurring and moderate flooding is forecast.
* Flood stage is 6.0 feet.
* Forecast... the river will continue rising to near 11.0 feet by
Saturday December 29. The river will fall below flood stage Monday
December 31.
* Impact... at 11.0 feet... there will be major flooding around christ
episcopal school and Bogue falaya River Park.
* Impact... at 9.0 feet... Bogue falaya River Park will be inundated.
Some ground floor classrooms at christ episcopal school grounds
will flood.
* Impact... at 7.0 feet... water will rise onto the West Bank flooding
property of the Bogue falaya towers at East Boston street and
threatening commercial property on the East Bank near military
Road. Bogue falaya River Park and christ episcopal school grounds
will begin to flood.
* Impact... at 6.0 feet... the river will leave its banks under the
Boston street bridge and begin to flood the Bogue falaya towers
property.

SERVPRO First Responder Bowl

12/10/2018 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO SERVPRO First Responder Bowl SERVPRO F1RST RESPONDER BOWL

SERVPRO is proud to announce the inaugural SERVPRO First Responder Bowl being played at historic Cotton Bowl Stadium. The newly renamed bowl is designed to honor the sacrifice and service of the brave men and women who are the first line of defense in local communities when the unexpected or the unthinkable happens. Kickoff for the event, televised by ESPN, is December 26 at 1:30 ET.

It’s a privilege to have the SERVPRO name associated with an event that celebrates the dedication and selflessness of first responders. These men and women are true hometown heroes and first on the scene when disaster strikes, helping to save lives and protect property. The SERVPRO First Responder Bowl will honor first responders including police officers, firefighters, EMS workers, correctional officers, search and rescue teams, dispatchers, security guards, federal agents, border patrol agents, and military personnel who have specialized training and are the first to arrive and provide help at the scene of an emergency. Event organizers planned to distribute 10,000 complimentary tickets to verified first responders and their families who sign up at https://www.firstresponderbowl.com/first-responders. These complimentary tickets are possible thanks to corporate sponsors like SERVPRO and individual fans who chose to “Sponsor a Responder” with a $15 donation when they purchase their general admission tickets.
“The SERVPRO First Responder Bowl is a celebration of the commitment to service demonstrated by the everyday people who willingly put themselves in harm’s way to protect the lives and property of their neighbors,” said Sue Steen, CEO of SERVPRO Industries, Inc. SERVPRO is honored to have this opportunity to shine a spotlight on all of these hard-working first responders, and their families, and to recognize them for the heroes they are. For more information please go to https://www.firstresponderbowl.com/ 

Ethics Continuing Education Class for Insurance Agents and Insurance Adjusters

11/29/2018 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Ethics Continuing Education Class for Insurance Agents and Insurance Adjusters January 9th CE Class

SERVPRO of Greater Covington and Mandeville offers free continuing education classes for local insurance adjusters and insurance agents. Our next class, Ethics, will be taught at our new office located at 68424 James Street in Mandeville on January 9, 2019. Registration begins at 8:00 am. The class will begin at 8:30 am and end at 11:30 am. To register or for more information please send an email to kayla@SERVPROofcovington.com  

About Ethics Continuing Education: 

The premise for this ethics course is that although we may have solid ethical foundations and usually make rational ethical decisions, ethical lapses are likely to come when we are stressed, angry, upset, worried, or otherwise disengaged.

Each and every day we are faced with decisions that could cause harm to others or ourselves. Facing ethical decisions can be very difficult, especially when we make decisions that may seem correct at first, but we later find out were not so great. As we explore what “Ethics” is, you will be challenged to become involved in hourly group activities. The group activities will help reinforce what has been learned, as well as the ability to better deal with ethical decision-making in our own lives.

5 Tips to Help Protect Your Pipes From Freezing During the Winter

11/12/2018 (Permalink)

To protect pipes in your home or business from freezing in cold temperatures follow these tips from the American Red Cross:

  • Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children.
  • When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
  • If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.

How and When to Test Your Smoke Alarm

10/30/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage How and When to Test Your Smoke Alarm Test smoke alarms once a month

According to the National Fire Protection Agency, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 358,500 home structure fires per year between 2011 and 2015. Working smoke alarms give an early warning of fire, give people additional time to escape, and thus cut the risk of dying in a reported home fire in half. However, a significant percentage of residential smoke alarms fail to operate during a fire. The two main reasons for a failed smoke alarm detector are simply missing or disconnected batteries and dead batteries. Both cases are easily preventable. 

How to Test Your Smoke Alarm 

Most smoke alarms have a clearly labeled "test" button. Make a habit to press this button at least once a month to ensure the batteries are properly working. This sound will be loud, but make sure everyone in your family is involved in this exercise to learn what noise to expect in case of an emergency. If the alarm does not sound when tested, then it is time to replace the batteries. 

Once you've established that the smoke alarms are properly working, determine if it responds to smoke particles by using a smoke detector test aerosol spray can (be sure to look for one that is UL listed).

When to Test Your Smoke Alarm

You should test your smoke alarms at least once a month to make certain they are operating properly. Another good habit is to change the batteries in your smoke alarms twice each year, once in Spring when we turn the clocks forward an hour and once in Fall when we turn the clocks back an hour. Also, smoke alarms should be replaced every ten years. Dust and debris can settle inside of the alarm and cause the sensors to fail. If you have recently purchased your home, then you should replace all of the smoke alarms unless you can prove the manufacturing date. 

Need Assistance With Obtaining Or Installing a Smoke Alarm?

The state of Louisiana supplies each fire station with smoke alarm detectors for the public every year. If you can't afford a smoke alarm or cannot install them by yourself, then please reach out to your local fire department for help. Your local fire department will give and install smoke alarms in your home free of charge as a part of their program Operation Save A Life. 

Fire Districts in St. Tammany Parish:

  1. Fire District 1, Slidell
  2. Fire District 2 Fire Department, Madisonville
    • To contact someone in this fire department call the administrative office at 985-845-3330 or send an email here 
  3. Fire District 3, Lacombe
    • To contact someone in this fire department you can dial 985-882-5977 or send an email to admin@stfd3.com
  4. District 4, Mandeville
    • St. Tammany Fire Protection District No. 4 encompasses an approximate 70 square mile region on the Northshore of Lake Pontchartrain in Southern Louisiana. The District boundaries are formed by the fourth ward of St. Tammany Parish. It is bordered to the east at Pontchartrain Drive on Highway 190, west to the Tchefuncte River, north to Ponchitalawa Creek (including additional areas along LA Highways 36, 59, Interstate 12, Helenburg Road and the River Oaks subdivision), and south extending 13.4 miles on the Greater New Orleans Expressway (Causeway).
    • To contact someone in this fire department dial 985-626-8671 or send an email to contactus@mandevillefire.net
  5. District 5, Folsom
    • To contact someone in this fire department dial 985-796-5266.
  6. District 6, Covington and North Lee Road Areas
    • To contact someone in this fire department dial 985-809-1768.
  7. City of Covington Fire Department
    • To contact someone in this station dial 985-898-4727 or send an email to bnunez@covla.com
  8. District 8, Abita Springs
    • To contact someone in this fire department dial 985-892-2065 or send an email to fd8admin@stfd8.com
  9. District 9, Bush 
  10. District 11, Pearl River 
    • To contact someone in this fire department dial 985-863-3132 or send an email to contact@stfpd11.org
  11. Fire District 12 
    • The District’s boundaries wrap around the City of Covington to the south, east and north, and take in one of West St. Tammany’s busiest corridors – Hwy. 190 between I-12 and Covington. From rural areas north of Covington to the densely populated Tammany Hills and Crestwood subdivisions, FD12 provides service to more than 25,000 people and 1,200 businesses.
    • To contact someone at this department dial 985-892-5161 or send an email to info@fd12.org
  12. District 13, Goodbee Fire Department

Fire Facts and Fire Safety Resources:

Relief Efforts for Florida Residents Affected by Hurricane Michael

10/23/2018 (Permalink)

Why SERVPRO Relief Efforts for Florida Residents Affected by Hurricane Michael From left to right:Kayla Theriot (SERVPRO of Greater Covington and Mandeville), Kelly Dabdoub (Dabdoub Insurance and Investments), Alison Ceuvas(TWFG)

On October 10, 2018, Hurricane Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach, Flordia as a Category 4 Hurricane. Hurricane Michael affected Cuba, parts of Central America, Georga, North Carolina, Virginia, and caused devastating damages to the Florida panhandle. Mexico Beach and Panama City suffered catastrophic losses as Hurricane Michael was the strongest storm on record to hit the Florida Panhandle. As numerous relief efforts began to organize, the Northshore chapter of the Professional Insurance Agents of Louisiana gathered supplies and donations for those in need. Our marketing coordinator Kayla Theriot joined other members of Northshore PIA with a group of Louisiana residents on October 20th to help make and package meals for those affected by Hurricane Michael. Each day the group prepared between 1,500 and 2,500 meals. Numerous local volunteers picked up the meals and delivered them to first responders and Hurricane Michael victims who had to evacuate their homes. As of now, no other Northshore PIA members are scheduled to return to Flordia for relief efforts, but the organization is still raising money to send to those in need. If you would like to donate to the relief efforts, please visit https://myemail.constantcontact.com/You-asked--and-here-is-how-you-can-help---.html?soid=1118092548365&aid=BqQhtUHm_Mo