Recent General Posts
THE IMPORTANCE OF RENTERS INSURANCE
Protect yourself and your family- have insurance!
If an unexpected disaster occurs, could you afford to replace the possessions in your home? Renters insurance is a cost effective way to replace personal belongings in the event of theft, fire, or water damage. It will also include liability protection, covering the medical expenses of someone hurt inside your residence. At SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach/Signal Hill, we witness customers getting back on their feet much more quickly with the appropriate renters insurance policy.
While renters insurance is not required by law, your landlord may require it as part of your rental agreement. It is important to note that their insurance policy will only cover the building and not items within the establishment such as furniture, electronics, and appliances.
Most people’s possessions are worth more than they realize. The average person has over $35,000 worth of items that are not covered under their landlord’s policy. Thankfully, renters insurance is relatively inexpensive. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ data, the average policy costs $184 per year, or about $15 per month for coverage that ranges from $30,000 to $50,000 (depending on where you live) with a $500 to $1,000 deductible.
In order to determine which insurance policy is right for you, it is important to take an inventory of your belongings which can later be used in your claim. Coverage for certain types of property such as collectibles, gold ware, jewelry, and bank notes may have a dollar limit, and the amount of money you can recoup depends on the terms of your insurance. Cash value coverage will reimburse the cost of the item at the time of the claim, whereas replacement cost coverage will reimburse the full value of a brand new item. Also be aware of multi-policy discounts or reductions if your home is equipped with smoke alarms or a security system. Should something happen and you need to file a claim, do not attempt to clean the area but document everything with photos and be prepared to pay your deductible.
Moreover, renters insurance will not cover you in the event of a flood. Floods are the number one natural disaster in the U.S., and you don’t have to live in a high risk flood-zone to be affected. Flash floods can occur anywhere, including the beaches and the deserts, and only an inch of water can begin causing damage to your building. Consider shopping for flood insurance in addition to your renters insurance.
SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach/Signal Hill is here to help get your life back on track. Our trained professionals and specialized equipment can help ease your stress by taking care of you in the event of water and fire damage. Additionally, renters insurance will give you one more reason to be worry free.
Spring into Action for a Fresh Start!
Spring is here...so is annual cleaning time!
Spring is here and with it the sense of a fresh start. We bought a new home in August and I’m committed to enjoying my new environment which includes keeping clutter to a minimum and cleanliness at a premium. I do believe we all need a safe haven. Some place we know is always there as a retreat, or a comfort or a place to call ours. For me, if that space feels restful and clean, I’m at peace. Being in the emergency restoration business (I work for SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach/Signal Hill), I see a lot of unstable, unsanitary situations so having a serene spot at the end of the day to come home to is especially important to me.
So I’m on a quest – a mission to have a place for everything/everything in its place; a path to cleanliness so my home is always welcoming myself and guests, and a commitment to maintenance so I’m living in a safe and healthy space.
Where to start in my new home? I’ve gotten pretty organized and I’ve cleared out the knicks that lost their knack (Check out Donna Garlough’s book: Your Home Your Style. A teaser “Rethink declutter… Don’t feel like you have to get rid of stuff just to have less stuff; get rid of it so you have the right stuff”). So now I’m tackling some key maintenance items. I figure if I set up a schedule, once upon each Spring, I’ll be stepping in the right direction on my path.
I noticed a grimy oven when we moved in that can’t be denied. I love my refrigerator, dishwasher and washer/dryer and want them to last forever- how can I help?! We finally have an air conditioning system but I’m clueless about what to do to keep it humming along. So those, along with a couple others make my list.
In my next post I’ll include more information for cleaning or maintenance suggestions for each item. In the meantime, if we can help you with your bigger cleanup or restoration needs due to fire, water, mold or biohazard damages, please give SERVPRO Downtown Long Beach/Signal Hill a call (562-591-1788)
Spring Cleaning Part II
Time to Freshen Up Your House
Spring Cleaning Part II
Okay, it’s time to put my elbow after that grease and get some cleaning done before spring is sprung and all I have to show for the season is a dingy haze over everything. I’ve made my top 10 list, now it’s time to check things off. I’m going to follow some of these helpful hints. You can too:
Oven Cleaning: Not only does a dirty oven look unappetizing, but spills and residue can undo all your culinary efforts by imparting odors and flavors into the meal you’ve prepared. At its worst, an unclean oven can lead to smoke that’s detrimental to lungs and can become a fire hazard. AHAM (Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers) notes that warm soap and water or vinegar and water are unlikely to damage any finish and can be used for those spills (but recommends looking at your oven’s manual for cleaning instructions)
Refrigerator: To reinforce my commitment, I remind myself that an unclean fridge can act as a breeding ground for harmful bacteria like E. coli, salmonella and listeria. It really doesn’t take that long (especially if I time cleaning day before grocery shopping day!) All shelves can be cleaned with hot soapy water and dried thoroughly. To wipe down the outside of the fridge, mix a cleaning solution made of half vinegar and half water (avoid the rubber seals as the vinegar can cause them to crack/lose their seal). Use a coil brush and vacuum to banish dust, dirt and debris build up. Pull out the fridge yearly so cleaning under and behind can be done. (This and other tips from Ambient Edge: https://www.ambientedge.com/blog/3-spring-cleaning-tips-appliances/)
Dishwasher: The Dishwasher is one of those appliances that, because it’s a cleaning machine, we figure it doesn’t need cleaning. However, studies show that bacteria can grow in the wet, dark environment. Ambient Edge shares 3 easy steps to keeping our dishwasher fresh and fungi free. First, take out racks and simply wash with warm water and dish soap. Next, fill the detergent cup with white vinegar and run an empty cycle. This will remove lime deposits. Finally, vacuum the outside of the appliance’s fan slats using the brush attachment and wipe down the door with warm water and dish soap.
Washing Machine: When thinking about cleaning my washing machine, the initial point made in consumer reports reflected my view, “Cleaning an appliance that’s designed for cleaning might sound a little counterintuitive”. But the article went on to explain that this appliance, if left unattended, can harbor mold, mildew and odors that don’t belong with clean clothes. Included in their recommendations are wiping down the door and rubber gasket after each load, cleaning out the soap dispenser to prevent residue build-up and, every few months, sanitizing the machine. This can be done by adding 1 cup of bleach to the bleach dispenser and then running a hot wash cycle without laundry. The disinfecting bleach is effective in getting rid of mold and mildew spores that grow in the environment (warm, moist, dark) existing in washing machines.
Dryer: I really like my washer and dryer set and I want to keep them humming along. The only way to help with this is to keep them clean, and in the case of the dryer, lint free. This will assist with drying efficiency and will eliminate the possibility of a fire hazard. Bob Vila shares a quick 30 second cleaning routine and a quarterly maintenance to insure the best is done for one’s trusty appliance. Vila says that lint should be cleaned from the screen after every use to insure it doesn’t travel to places it’s not meant to be. As a follow-up, once every 3 months, he has a simple 30 minute deep-clean routine that only requires a vacuum, all-purpose cleaner and a microfiber cloth. Vila’s step-by-step tips can be found here: https://www.bobvila.com/articles/how-to-clean-a-dryer/
Water Filters: Although whole house water filter system’s generally require very little maintenance, it is important that they are replaced on a regular basis so that impurities are eliminated from the supply and so that they can continue functioning correctly. These filters are trapping sediments and debris, so they may become backed up with these substances after months of use. If they get too clogged, it becomes difficult for water to pass through. Being diligent about replacing your filters will keep your Whole House Water Filter operating at optimal performance. Read more: http://filterbutler.com/blog/how-often-should-i-change-the-water-filter/#ixzz5CrfHkkmH
HVAC: We’re so lucky to live in beautiful California where our weather is moderate most of the time. On those days when we need our AC though, we really need it! So, it’s a good idea to stay on top of maintenance so we’re never caught without a cool, manmade breeze when needed. Experts advise a scheduled tune-up once a year (or if you’re a DIYer, check this out https://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/maintenance-and-repair/cleaning/10-easy-steps-to-keep-your-air-conditioning-unit-running-smoothl). Then, according to Ambient Edge, there are some quick, easy steps you can take to maintain your system. First, switch out the filter every 1-3 months. Also, look over your condenser periodically. Make sure that grass, leaves and other debris haven’t collected that might interfere with circulation.
BBQ Grill: Sunny days mean BBQ to me and my family. To insure that burgers are tasty the grill has to be clean inside and out. A good soap and water scrubbing and/or soaking of the piece parts and scraping away any rust spots that formed over winter will do the trick. Also by checking the fuel tank hose for damage lets you avoid the possibility of hazardous situations in the future.
Rain Gutters: Bob Vila has a great guide to cleaning out rain gutters (https://www.bobvila.com/slideshow/done-with-winter-12-things-you-can-do-now-to-prep-for-spring-51868#how-to-clean-rain-gutters). He reminds us that over the winter all types of things collect in our rain gutters. If downspouts become clogged, we put ourselves at risk for leaks and flooding. A good yearly removal of sticks, leaves and other outdoor material is critical.
Wild card: Each year this might change- this year our garage makes my top 10; you may have a different choice. I’m not going to list cleaning hints… that would take more room than this article could handle!!
So that’s it!! By staying on top of appliance maintenance we’re taking steps toward health and safety for our homes and families. At SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach/Signal Hill we see a lot of damages due to water, fire and mold, some that could’ve been prevented by proactive efforts like these.
Good luck with your Spring Cleaning!
• FAQ : WHAT IF I WANT TO MOVE MY OWN CONTENTS AND BELONGINGS AFTER WATER DAMAGE OR FIRE DAMAGE AT MY HOME OR BUSINESS?
Do you want to move your Contents yourself after water or fire damage?
SERVPRO Downtown Long Beach can help you with moving, evaluating, storing, or repairing your contents, personal belongings, or business furnishings if you have had fire damage or water damage at your home or business.
Part of the remediation process may require moving or removing items in the way of remediating your home or business.
- For example, if the water line to your refrigerator causes water damage to your kitchen, the affected cabinets may need to be temporarily removed so the walls behind them can dry out. In this case, the contents inside your affected cabinets will need to be packed and stored while the remediation is taking place. Do you have the time and energy for this?
- Another example would be water damage at a commercial business. There may be equipment, desks, or important paperwork to move, assess for damage, or restore. Do your employees have the time and energy for this?
- Some claims require extensive repairs, so a customer may need to be moved to a temporary location. We have had business customers who need to be up and running ASAP. In these cases, the contents are moved to our 18,000 sq ft warehouse for cleaning and then moved to a new location. Do you want to risk one of your valued employees getting injured while moving contents and equipment?
SERVPRO Downtown Long Beach/Signal Hill/Lakewood is ready to respond quickly to move, assess, or store your belongings. If items have been damaged beyond repair or restoration, our Contents Department uses special software to capture important data and photos of each item that needs replacement. If you file a covered claim, this compiled list is sent to your insurance provider so they can assess the value of the damaged items in order to issue you a reimbursement check.
For those do-it-yourself customers with the time and strength to pack and move their belongings, we are happy to provide packing materials. For our customers who are busy or cannot physically move their belongings, we have a fully trained Contents Department who can do the delicate packing and heavy lifting. Our Contents staff can pack, assess items for repair or replacement, and bring in specialty vendors for wet paperwork, damaged furniture, or heavy equipment in need of restoration.
Once remediation is complete, our Contents Department will schedule a day to return all of your items and put them back in place. Some customers use this opportunity as a “Spring Cleaning” to purge their belongings, so they prefer to place back the items themselves. Other customers want our team to place all the items back as they originally were. Our goal is to get your life back to normal or your business up and running as soon as possible. That is what we are trained to do. If you have a preference, please communicate it to your SERVPRO Downtown Long Beach Project Manager or give our office a call.
Experiencing a water damage or fire damage at your home or business is a stressful event for our customers. SERVPRO Downtown Long Beach/Signal Hill/Lakewood are at your service if you need your contents or personal belongings moved, evaluated, or stored. From our Emergency Service Project Managers to our Contents Department and Construction & Repair Department, we can help alleviate some of the stress by taking care of your water or fire damage insurance claim from start to finish.
FAQ: I AM A RENTER AND MY RENTAL HAS WATER DAMAGE– WHO WILL PAY FOR MY DAMAGED PERSONAL BELONGINGS?
What happens to a renter's personal belongings when a water damage occurs?
SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach Recommends Renter’s Insurance. Here is why.
Operating our restoration business in Downtown Long Beach presents us with the complex world of working on water damage or fire damage in Multi-Unit or High-rise properties. Let’s give an example of all the players that can be involved in a water loss at a 4-story condo complex with 2 units being affected by the loss. Here is the setup:
- Rita rents Unit 1 on the first floor from her landlord Lucy. Owen lives above Renter Rita in Unit 2 on the second floor and he owns the property. At 2:00 am on a Saturday night, Owner Owen’s toilet starts to overflow. Owner Owen doesn’t get home until 6:00 am, at which time he discovers the water damage. He shuts off the supply line to the toilet (which actually work because he is a good homeowner who replaced them last year) and calls Renter Rita. Renter Rita answers her phone, telling Owner Owen she is on her way home from the airport after a redeye flight and in no mood to deal with this situation.
- When Renter Rita gets home, she discovers that the toilet water has saturated her bathroom and entire closet full of clothing. Renter Rita calls her Landlord Lucy in tears to give her the news. This is when Renter Rita finds out that her Landlord Lucy is not responsible for any of Renter Rita’s personal belongings. Landlord Lucy says, “Renter Rita, I told you to get Renter’s Insurance when you moved in!” Renter Rita starts to seriously panic at this point. She has a big meeting tomorrow with nothing to wear, not to mention she is already exhausted from her business trip. She starts to soak up water with towels, which does little good but she doesn’t know what else to do.
- In the meantime, Landlord Lucy calls her insurance hotline and asks a lot of questions. Landlord Lucy’s next call is to Owner Owen to yell at him, letting him know that he is responsible to fix her unit and pay for Renter Rita’s stay while the work is being done. Owner Owen tells Landlord Lucy to calm down, mentioning that neither of them is responsible. Alas, Owner Owen has reviewed the CC&R’s, which state that toilet overflow is covered by the HOA, with a few exceptions that they can work out later.
- At this point Owner Owen and Landlord Lucy start a 3-way call with HOA President Horatio. HOA Horatio is not a morning person, so he tells them that they both need to file their own claims immediately, including Renter Rita if she has insurance. HOA Horatio explains the HOA policy covers only part of the claim, and the final responsibility is worked out at the end of the claim between the insurance carriers. The HOA is required to meet to discuss the claim once it is determined who is responsible for which parts of the claim. This could be a month or more out. If they don’t call SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach, their preferred Water Mitigation vendor,
ASAP, then the claim price will most likely go up since the damage gets worse the longer the water sits.
- Owner Owen and Landlord Lucy hang up and call their insurance carriers back. They too are told by their insurance hotline that SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach is their preferred vendor. They decide to make separate claims and call SERVPRO.
- Before they know it, a friendly SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach team is on site, taking measurements, setting up equipment, and moving affected items aside for assessment.
- While the SERVPRO team is working, Renter Rita calls her insurance carrier, still in tears, hoping for a miracle. Mr. Insurance places her on hold for several minutes while he reviews her policy. Renter Rita bites her nails, waiting impatiently for them to give her the news. Mr. Insurance gets back on the line to tell Renter Rita that, Yes! You do have a renter’s policy. It turns out her local broker added it at her last renewal, per her request. Renter Rita works so much that she sometimes forgets all the ways she sets herself up for success. She was thrilled to find out that her policy covered her damaged clothing. Mr. Insurance issued Renter Rita an emergency check, as outlined in her policy, to buy a few items while her damaged clothing is evaluated for restoration or repair by the SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach team.
- A month later after the repairs are all completed and all affected parties are settled, Owner Owen, Renter Rita, HOA Horatio, and Landlord Lucy meet up at their local wine bar, to catch up and laugh about their big fight. The HOA ended up covering part of the claim and their personal policies covered the balance. They say a group “Cheers!” to their insurance carriers.
- This story could have ended very differently if all parties were uninsured or underinsured. Here are some helpful tips:
- Make sure you understand your coverage.
- Spend time with your agent asking questions to ensure you fully grasp what is and is not covered by your policy.
- Go through different made-up scenarios with your agent to find out what your coverage would be in different situations.
- For example, “What if I left a candle burning and there was smoke damage in my apartment?” Or “What if my neighbor’s refrigerator line leaked and ruined my ceiling?”
- Take the time to review your coverage if anything changes with your property or living situation.
- If you are a renter purchase a renter’s policy. If you are a landlord, encourage your renters to obtain a renter’s policy.
- Moral of the story – insurance is part of our daily American life. Set yourself up for success by purchasing an insurance policy that fits your needs.
Water Damage at your Rental Condo, Multi-Unit Property, or High-rise? We are ready to help. Call SERVPRO of Downtown Long Beach, Lakewood, Signal Hill at 562-591-1788.