Recent Storm Damage Posts

Calm Before the Storm..Don't Let Common Winter Claims Claim You

9/27/2019 (Permalink)

Storms Don't Wait Why Should You?

Hidden behind that gorgeous blanket of snow are harsh winter storms waiting to do serious damage to your home. The winter storm season creates the most common and costly claims for property owners. Nearly all insurance claims come from wintery wind, hail, and storm-related water damage. 

Preparing for winter incidents and cold weather claims begins with prevention methods and thorough insurance protection. Let’s take a look at the most common causes of claims in winter weather and what you can do to protect yourself from these costly concerns.

Common Winter Claims

1. Wind damage

The most common homeowners claim filed is due to wind damage. Nearly one in 35 insured homes have a property damage claim related to wind or hail each year, according to the insurance information institute. Wind is more intense during the winter months and thus creates a majority of these costly claims.

Prepare for wind damage:

  • Remove and store all unsecured outdoor items like umbrellas, furniture, and play items.
  • Inspect your home for loose gutters, shutters, and shingles.
  • Trim dead or weak tree branches around the house. Tree collapse is the third most costly winter weather claim.
  • Be aware of nearby power lines. Trim trees around power lines. Ensure power lines near your property are secure. If not, call the phone or cable company for further fastening.

Wind damage is not always covered by your homeowners’ insurance. In fact, wind and flood are often exclusions on many homeowners’ policies. In this way, you’ll want to talk to your insurance agent before the winter season hits in order to ensure you are fully protected from any costs associated with wind damage. 

2. Hail

Hail can do serious damage to your roof, siding, and porch.

You can’t prevent hail, but you can prepare for it:

  • Inspect your roof and siding every autumn. Repair loose or missing tiles.
  • If you live in an area where hail is common, you can consider installing hail-resistant asphalt shingles. This precaution could even help lower your insurance premium.

Like wind, some homeowners’ policies have hail exclusion. Check with your insurance agent to make sure you’re covered. Discuss the different sorts of claims process and coverage lines with regards to hail. 

3. Frozen pipes

If your pipes get too cold, the water inside them will freeze. This ice can expand and burst the pipes, leading to water loss and water damage in your home. Freezing pipes accounts for 18% of all water damage claims. Damages from frozen pipes can include flooding, ceiling collapse, damaged floors and walls, mold, and more. 

Interestingly, insurance companies often consider frozen pipes a “preventable problem.” They may say that your negligence caused the damage. This means that you could be stuck with a $10,000 water damage bill without your insurance company stepping in.

Thus, it’s crucial to protect your home against frozen pipe damage:

  • Drain and disconnect all hoses.
  • Drain the sprinkler supply lines.
  • Keep your home warm at a minimum of 65 degrees.
  • Insulate pipes in unheated spaces, like basements, garages, and attics. You can use pipe sleeves or heat tape.
  • Leave garage doors closed.
  • If you have a swimming pool, run the pump during nights where temperatures are expected to go below freezing.
  • When it’s especially cold outside, let cool water drip from your faucets. This will keep your water flowing, so they have less chance of freezing in the pipes. 
  • Know where your water is shut off. If your pipes do burst, the first step is to turn off the water to reduce any further damage.

4. Snow and ice damage

Snow and ice looks pretty, but it can be so heavy that it can severely damage your house. The average claim for snow and ice damage to the home is around $4,700. Snow heavier than 1-2 feet or 4 inches of ice can crush your roof or cause falling tree branches. Water can freeze in and clog your gutters, creating “ice dams” that prevent proper runoff. This can cause a water buildup that can seep into your roof and ceiling.

  • Prevent ice dams. Seal any gaps that allow warm air to leak into the attic. Keep your attic ventilated. Insulate your home’s heating system so it doesn’t escape through the ceiling.
  • Get a roof rake to help get rid of heavy snow after major storms.
  • Inspect your roof before the season for any weak areas that need repair.
  • Trim all trees near the house, and get rid of weak or dead branches.

5. Slips and falls

Moreover, snow and ice can cause liability concerns on your property. An icy walkway or driveway could cause slips and falls, for which you will be liable. Even if the person injured on your property wasn’t invited, they could still sue you if they were injured after an icy slip on your property. This same liability applies if they are hit by a falling icicle, dead tree branch, and other winter concerns.

  • Always shovel your driveway and walkway after a storm.
  • Apply commercial-grade salt to help melt the ice faster. 
  • Ensure you are fully covered 

6. Fire

Fires are also more common in the winter months due to the dry air and increase of fireplace use. The national average for fire and smoke damage is $9,815 but can be up to $30,000. Avoid costly fire claims with just a few precautions:

  • Check that all fireplaces, stoves, and heaters are working properly.
  • Keep no combustible items near heat sources.
  • Get your chimney cleaned.
  • Close the fireplace flue when not in use.

Be prepared. Take advantage of the calm before the storm and don't let common winter claims claim you! SERVPRO of Omaha Southwest will work with your insurance agent and make sure your home is taken care of after a storm. Let us take the stress off your shoulders. Call SERVPRO of Omaha Southwest today 24/7, including holidays 402-408-0134.

Winter Storms Can Cause Extensive Damage

9/26/2019 (Permalink)

heavy snow caused trees to break into the street and damage cars Record Breaking Snow Storm Hits Omaha in 1997, Will it Happen in 2019?

Check out this years Farmer's Almanac! We have a very white, cold, winter ahead of us!

Winter storms can unleash an array of hazardous weather, causing destruction that sometimes amounts to billions of dollars in damage.

Some of the destructive impacts we can see in a given winter storm include: 

  • Ice: The weight of freezing rain on trees and power lines can have a crippling impact. Damage can begin with a quarter inch of accumulation. There can be widespread destruction with power outages lasting for days with thick accumulations of a half inch or more.
  • Wet Snow: Snow sticks easily to trees and power lines when it's moisture-laden. Much like ice accumulation, this adds extra weight and stress, increasing the chance of damage. This is particularly a threat in fall and early spring storms.
  • Snow on Roofs: Accumulations of several feet from one or multiple storms can add stress to roofs, causing them to collapse.
  • Coastal Flooding: On the East Coast, strong winds blowing onshore in combination with high tides can inundate the coastline, causing damage to structures and significant beach erosion.
  • High Winds: When strong winds accompany accumulations of snow and ice it can add stress and enhance the potential for tree damage and power outages. Strong winds from winter storms can also trigger power outages and cause tree damage even in areas where there is no significant snow or ice.
  • Flooding After the Snow: A sharp warm-up or heavy rain following a winter storm with an expansive snowpack can set the stage for major flooding.

HOW DO YOU PROTECT YOUR OMAHA HOME FROM WINTER STORM DAMAGE?

Protect the outside of your house by checking downspouts and making sure water will be diverted away from your house. Trim any low-hanging tree branches that can freeze, become brittle, snap and damage your house or power lines. Use weatherstripping or caulk to seal drafty windows and doors. Disconnect garden hoses.

Sewage Backup from Stormy Weather

9/22/2019 (Permalink)

It is no secret that the Midwest has recently been covered in water from flooding. These heavy storms including rainwater and snow can create problems for businesses and homeowners, as sewage systems might be suddenly draining more water than they were initially designed to handle. Too much water being forced through a narrow opening can create the reverse effect of pushing water backwards causing a sewer backup. 

Three noticeable signs you are having back flow problems:

1. Multiple drains will experience the affects of a clog. A common blockage can occur when too much hair, debris or food particles have remained in a drain pipe, but to find several clogs at the same time in a big indicator of an issue.

2. Water will back flow out of other open drains. If water is gurgling and bubbling up from your kitchen drain after running the dishwasher, or you find black water filling your shower floor to the brim after flushing the toilet, you can be positive of a sewer backup. 

3. Flushing the toilet becomes difficult and you have unsuccessfully tried plunging, you have a bigger problem. Some bubbling in the toilet is normal, but if excessive amounts of bubbling occurs after flushing that is a sign of a problem.

Clogged drains and gurgling back flow in bathrooms and kitchens are the usual places to check but, make sure you check the basement or lower level rooms for standing water, being careful where electricity is present. 

It is extremely important that you call in the experts as soon as possible to keep your family safe and healthy. Sewage backups bring wastewater into the home, making unsanitary conditions for families and businesses. 

When it is especially stormy make sure to check all available drainage areas for backups. 

Storm Supplies Kit

9/12/2019 (Permalink)

With warm winds from the South and cold winds from the North, the Midwest is a hub for tornadoes, thunderstorms, floods and snow storms. 

Sometimes extreme weather changes can occur within the same day, when severe weather hits unexpectedly, the risk of injury and death increases. Be prepared ahead of time with having an easily accessible grab and go Storm Supplies Kit.

To assemble your kit, store items in airtight plastic bags and put the entirety of your storm supplies kit in one or two easy to carry bags or containers such as a duffel bag or plastic bins.

A basic emergency supplies kit could include the following recommended items:

  • Water: one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation. If there are pets, one gallon per pet per day for at least three days for drinking.
  • Food: at least a three day supply of non-perishable food. If there are pets, a gallon size bag per pet full of non-perishable food should last for three days.
  • Battery powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert.
  • Battery operated or hand crank flashlight
  • Extra batteries (AA & AAA are most common)
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • One dust mask per person to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to maintain a shelter
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • First aid kit: non-latex gloves, assortment of adhesive bandages, antibiotic ointment, sterile gauze pads in assorted sizes, absorbent compress dressings, tweezers, scissors, adhesive cloth tape, aspirin packets (81 mg each).
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Cellphones with chargers and a backup battery

How to Prepare your Company for a Storm

9/12/2019 (Permalink)

snow covers the ground and large commercial buildings are in the distances Downtown Omaha buildings during the Winter

Summer is over, Fall is here, and Winter is right around the corner! While not every storm will cripple a business, it is still necessary to be prepared. Along with frigid temperatures and snow, winter can create problems with plumbing and operations. Therefore, it is essential to make a plan for the worst-case scenario.

  1. Prepare Your Building-Make sure you check your plumbing and electricity regularly, but even more so when a winter storm is heading your way. Outside plumbing should be shut off and cleared to prevent freezing and possible burst pipes. Additionally, it may be a good idea to secure a generator if your business does not already have one. If your company does have a generator, it is a good investment to have it serviced before the winter weather sets in.
  2. Plan for Ice and Snow-Any winter storm is going to bring issues of snow and ice. Being prepared for this situation means having a plow service on contract and ensuring that all walkways and driveways are cleared and salted. It is vital to do everything in your power to ensure that customers do not get hurt on the way into your business.
  3. Focus on Inventory-Also, as storms have the potential to cause significant business interruption as well as property damage, it is vital to take an accurate inventory of all your assets. This inventory will be used for insurance claims if property damage results in an inventory loss. You should move stock to a secure and climate-controlled area, photographing and documenting everything. This will help streamline the process if a claim is made.
  4. Make a List of Contacts-While taking inventory is necessary, it is also crucial to make a list of emergency contacts. This list should include all personnel who are essential to your operations. Additionally, you should include a disaster restoration specialists in the Omaha area in case of an emergency.

    Winter storm season can produce significant threats to business operations. Massive snowfalls and ice storms can wreak havoc on you Omaha business, so it is essential to have a plan. 

Call SERVPRO of Omaha Southwest today at (402)408-0134 and schedule one of our marketers to come to your business to help you with an Emergency Readiness Plan at no cost to you!

What Should I Do if my Omaha Home is Flooded?

9/11/2019 (Permalink)

A white and maroon home surrounded by flood water during the 2019 floods in Omaha These Omaha homes were surrounded by flood water during the May of 2019 floods in Omaha, Nebraska.

There are so many questions after your Omaha home is flooded due to a storm. What Should I do now? Who should I call? Follow these steps to assure your taken care of: 

  1. AVOID ADDITIONAL RISKS-Disconnect all the Electronics in your home, these can start fires if left on. Check for any visible structural damage of your home such as warping, loosened or cracked foundation elements, cracks, and holes. Contact utility companies if you suspect damage to water, gas, electric, or sewer lines.
  2. TAKE PICTURES-Before you remove any water or make repairs, fully document the damage of your home by taking photos or videos. Digital photos are best so they can easily be transferred and shared.
  3. PROTECT YOUR HEALTH-Even if the water in your home is clear, it could be contaminated by sewage or household chemicals. Wear gloves when removing water-damaged possessions, throw away any food that may have come in contact with the flood water, and boil water until authorities declare the water supply is safe to drink. 
  4. CALL YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY-Call your insurance agent as soon as possible after the flood. Always have their number on hand in your emergency bag. Document the damage, communication, and notify them of any repairs. 
  5. REMOVE WATER/MITIGATE MOLD DAMAGE- Have a Restoration Company like SERVPRO of Omaha Southwest Remove the Water, extraction of water helps with the drying process and will save your home from future problems. Mold can also develop within 24-48 hours after a flood. SERVPRO of Omaha Southwest can mitigate the mold by our cleaning/drying processes.  

Call SERVPRO of Omaha Southwest today at 402-408-0134. If your home or business has been affected by water damage our team is here to help! We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days per week, including holidays.

Disaster Preparedness For Your Home

9/14/2018 (Permalink)

Fire Damage, Water Damage Storm Damage, Mold Damage, Sewage Backup.  These are just a few types of disasters that can affect your home.

National Preparedness Month is a great time to evaluate and elevate your level of preparedness.  Our years of experience helping the Omaha community to recover from disasters large and small have proven the value of preparedness. Preparedness is vital to being better able to recover from most forms of loss and allow for peace of mind before anything even happens.

SERVPRO of Omaha SW encourages you to review the following links to find no-cost ways to be better prepared:
Family Emergency Plan
Family Communication Plans
Wallet-sized Communication Cards
Emergency Supply Checklist (BASIC)
Build An Emergency Kit

If you or your family are affected by a disaster such as fire, water, mold or sewage; call the trusted professionals at SERVPRO of Omaha Southwest at 402-408-0134.  Our experienced crews are always here to help.

Record Rainfall Causes Flooded Basements in Omaha, NE

8/20/2018 (Permalink)

Heavy rains cause local flooding in the Omaha Metro.

Heavy rains are causing water damage from flooded basements in many parts of the Omaha Metropolitan area. This article in the Omaha World Herald featured our owner, Pat Nosal commenting on the storm event.  Over 6 inches of rain has fallen by mid-afternoon on Monday, while the a light rain continued.

Heavy rains frequently cause water seepage into basements, which is not usually covered by standard homeowners insurance. Keep gutters clear and downspouts running away from your foundation to guard against basement flooding.

It is also a good idea to check your foundation for low spots, particularly after a heavy rain. Sometimes, gutters overflow during a heavy rain and cause the ground to sink. These low spots collect rainwater near your foundation and can lead to water seeping into the basement.

If your Omaha-area home or business needs water damage cleanup, call the trusted professionals at SERVPRO of Omaha Southwest at 402-408-0134; we are always here to help.

Severe Weather Preparedness in Omaha, NE

7/2/2018 (Permalink)

Recent heavy rains and severe storms in the Omaha area are cause to be mindful of severe weather preparedness.
As a premier fire and water restoration provider, SERVPRO of Omaha Southwest wants you to be prepared for dangerous weather events.

A few simple actions will increase your readiness today:

Check the weather forecast regularly. Know when there is an increased risk of severe weather in your area.

Obtain a NOAA Weather Radio. You can purchase a weather radio from the Red Cross store or from Midland USA or at local stores such as Hy-Vee, Bakers, Shopko, and others.

Learn about Wireless Emergency Alerts. These are emergency messages sent by authorized government-alerting authorities through your mobile carrier. Government partners include local and state public safety agencies, FEMA, the FCC, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Weather Service. Visit www.ctia.org to learn more about Wireless Emergency Alerts, including how to determine of your mobile device is WEA-capable.

Learn more about severe weather safety. The Red Cross is an excellent source of severe weather safety and warning information and tools. Visit the Red Cross Preparedness website to learn more about preparedness for disasters of all kind. Be sure to check out the app store for the FREE Red Cross Tornado App.
If you experience storm damage, call the trusted professionals at SERVPRO of Omaha Southwest at 402-408-0134. We are always here to help.