Three Excellent Reasons Not To File a Homeowners’ Insurance Claim

You have an incident in your home that you think can be turned in to your homeowner’s insurance agent. Be careful, though. There are times you should definitely not file that claim, or even disclose the incident to your insurance agent. More on that later.

All insurance companies pay very close attention to their customers who file claims. Every time one asks them to pick up the tab for a claim, they flag the account. Too many, even only two, claim flags and an insured becomes the dreaded unprofitable customer. The company will either opt to raise their rates – or cancel/non-renew the policy. Often without regard to how long that customer has been loyal, premiums-promptly-paid.

It is wise to think of your homeowners’ policy as being there to protect you from big financially devastating losses, not as a reserve fund for the relatively minor maintenance mishaps. With this in mind, it may be less costly over the long run if you don’t file that claim and pay for the repairs from your own resources. This is called self-insuring a loss and prudent people do this all the time, even though it feels painful at that time.

When a problem occurs in your home it is perfectly fine to speak to someone knowledgeable first, other than your insurance company or its agent. By looking at all your options before initiating a claim, you can then make a more informed and rational decision to protect your financial situation. Sometimes it can be better to be your own insurance company and preserve your cordial relationship with BIG Insurance Company for the long haul.

Here are three situations where self-insuring is the way to go:homeowners-insurance-policy-300x214

1. The loss is water damage.                                                                                               If you’re thinking of filing a smallish claim on your homeowner policy due to water or mold, please think twice. Also, discuss this with a reputable restoration company. Since water problems can involve complicated repairs, and may be persistent, insurance companies hate to see them. Most policies also specifically exclude any coverage for mold and fungus, so without a mold rider on the policy all you’ll get is shallow sympathy from a claim adjuster.

One small water-related claim can cause you significant future challenges. Not only can it give your insurer justification to drop you, but there will likely be a record of your claim in the national insurance company database called CLUE. CLUE is now queried by most all personal lines insurance underwriters. The next agent might refuse to sell you an affordable policy if you do get cancelled by your current carrier. The history also can later lead to difficulties selling the home, if prospective buyers find that they can’t easily get insurance for it. (CLUE records the property address where a claim originated.)

Moral: What they don’t know about doesn’t ding you later!  Protect your CLUE score!

2.       The claim isn’t more than your deductible.                                                      What is your deductible? If your policy has a $500 deductible, you really should not bother filing a $600 claim, as the policy will only pay $100, and the claim still counts against you – especially if you should end up having to file another within the next few years. So don’t file the claim or even visit with your agent, again to keep your CLUE score squeaky clean. Be aware that in Montana the agent works for the insurance company not you and is often obligated to notify your insurer of your mishap – even if zero dollars are ever paid out on a claim!

You should also consider setting your policy’s deductible at a higher level.  $1,000 or greater deductibles can significantly reduce your annual premiums. The more you can comfortably self-insure, the less your insurance costs – up to a point.

3. The damage could have been prevented.
Before asking the insurance company to cover damage in the home, ask yourself whether you contributed to the damage by failing to do basic preventive maintenance which led to the bigger problem. Insurance policies were designed to cover specific, unforeseen perils, not pay for maintenance of aging properties.  So, negligence in anticipating the problem and proactively maintaining the home will generally not be reimbursable.

As an example, you sustain serious water damage and mold in your living space from a leaky, worn out roof that should have been replaced years ago. Your water problem was then foreseeable and could have been avoided with responsible home maintenance. That’s different from the sudden and unforeseen incident, or peril, that quickly damages your roof. Water and other damage from perils like a hail storm or tree blown onto the house will usually get repairs paid from the standard homeowners’ insurance policy.

Damage from pests such as bats, vermin or insects, mold and mildew, however, is never covered because the presence of pests in the home signals an ongoing lack of normal, attentive care in maintaining a property to keep pests away. Don’t think this might be a claim. You’ll effectively signal an insurance company that you don’t take care of your property. Alarm bells will then sound loudly in the home office at Big Insurance Company.denied stamp picture

If trouble from Water, Fire/Smoke, or Mold, even Packrats appears in your home, FLOODCO should be your FIRST CALL. We have many years of experience helping homeowners with these and other mishaps and can assist you to an informed decision on whether to call in an insurance claim – while quickly taking all necessary steps to prevent further, expensive damage to the home or its furnishings.

Questions? Call FLOODCO FIRST (406) 892-1717. We’ll respond with care 24/7/365 days a year.

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When Unhealthy Indoor Air Is The Elephant In the Room

ImageHas your home become a dust bowl? Can’t go even a few days without seeing a layer of fine dust on furniture or countertops? When searching for the cause of dust in your home, look first at your old vacuum cleaner. That old Hoover could easily be the worst offender, spewing dusty micro pollutants every time you turn it on. Most vacuum models 10 years or older were designed with one porous filtration stage, a cloth or paper bag filter which traps large particles but allows finest dusts to exhaust throughout your living space.

Replace the ancient vac with a newer design using double, triple or spin-down filters. Look for true HEPA rating. To really eliminate this source of harmful, fine dust, invest in a central vac system which isolates the canister and filter from the living area in a garage or mechanical room. Investing in better quality vacuum cleaners will pay off in lower incidence of asthma, allergy and other respiratory diseases. The costs of being chronically sick and miserable are far greater than the purchase price of a sophisticated vacuum cleaner and frequent filter replacement.

Are you running a humidifier in the home? It could be making you sick. Without doing frequent disinfecting and thorough cleaning, plus replacing filters regularly, a humidifier becomes a serious source of bacteria or irritating minerals. Locate your owner’s manual – searching Google if necessary – and follow closely all maintenance procedures. If you can’t frequently maintain a humidifier, you are probably better off not having it in the house.

Build an inexpensive whole house filter. The home’s existing forced air heating and cooling system evolves into a giant air cleaner when that standard fiber filter is replaced with a more effective pleated or electrostatic filter. To overcome difficult problems such as odor or mold and mildew spores, you can easily find filters utilizing charcoal and spore killing coatings. Better quality, more expensive filters do provide your home safer, better quality air.

Breathe a lot easier with these tips.

For large concerns with indoor air issues, including mold or mildew, there are specialists who can help you with your unique problem. We are happy to answer questions and assist you to a place where you can breathe easy again. Send us an email or call. We care about your indoor air!

892-1717 or email office@floodco.net.

HOUSEPLANTS FOR INDOOR AIR QUALITY

It turns out that houseplants aren’t just a great way to spruce up or decorate a room, they can freshen the air in a room as well. NASA researchers, while trying to determine a veritable method for cleaning the atmosphere, discovered that many common indoor plants can double as air purifiers for the home. (To learn more about actual air purifiers for the home, see Finding The Best Air Purifiers For Allergies.)

Through photosynthesis, houseplants can pull volatile organic compounds such as benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene out of the air and absorb them through the soil. In some cases, this can render the chemicals harmless, making the air clean and healthy to breathe. If you’re looking to improve the air quality in your home, put down the chemical-based air freshener and try one of these air purifying plants instead.

CHRYSANTHEMUMS

While most air purifying plants are not flowering plants, chrysanthemums are one of the few exceptions. Chrysanthemums work best at ridding the air of benzene, a chemical that is used in many laundry detergents, glues and plastics. These flowers will need sunlight to bloom, so place them in a sunny spot near a window. Since this plant is a flowering plant, it probably won’t last year-round as other types of house plants do.

GERBERA DAISIES

Gerbera daisies, which are most commonly known as Gerber daisies, are bright and cheery, and a symbol of springtime. They’re also good at clearing the air of benzene, which is also found in many types of paint. So if you have a room that’s freshly painted, you may want to add a vase of Gerber daisies to it to get rid of the benzene particles that may be floating in the air.

AZALEA

While daisies may be the choice plant for spring, azaleas may be your best choice in the fall since they thrive in cooler temperatures. They mostly absorb formaldehyde, which can be found in insulation and wall finishes. For that reason, azaleas are a good option for a basement or for the kitchen.

ALOE VERA

Aloe vera is probably known best for its healing properties. The leaves contain a gel that can soothe and heal burns, cuts, bites and other skin irritations. But aloe vera actually does double-duty as both a healer and an air cleaner. This plant can easily absorb both benzene and formaldehyde. Aloe vera does well in the sun, so it’s best to keep it on a sunny windowsill.

SPIDER PLANT

The long spider-like leaves of the spider plant are great at absorbing benzene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene, a chemical that is used in the leather and rubber industries. This plant is very resilient, so it’s great for those who don’t have much of a green thumb.

SNAKE PLANT

The snake plant, which is also known as mother-in-law’s tongue, is a common house plant that is actually poisonous if ingested. Ironically, it also filters toxins, such as formaldehyde, out of the air. Like the spider plant, the snake plant is also resilient and great for those who can’t devote a lot of time to taking care of plants. Since formaldehyde is commonly found in personal hygiene products, it would work best if placed in the bathroom.

GOLDEN POTHOS

Another good formaldehyde-fighter is the Golden pothos plant, which is a vine-like plant. Unlike some of these houseplants, the Golden pothos doesn’t need a lot of sunlight to survive. In fact, its leaves will remain green even if the plant is left in the dark. Because of this, the Golden pothos would be beneficial in a room that doesn’t get a lot of sunlight, such as the garage.

ENGLISH IVY

Although this plant can also filter formaldehyde, studies show that English ivy filters airborne particles of fecal matter as well. This plant needs bright, sunny weather to survive, so the best place for it is on the bathroom windowsill. (For information on where fecal matter can turn up, see 9 Surprising Places Where You Might Find Fecal Matter.)

BAMBOO PALM

This plant, which is also known as the reed palm, often produces flowers and berries and is best kept in a shady place. It filters both benzene and formaldehyde as well as trichloroethylene, which is a chemical used in the dry-cleaning process. This plant would be beneficial in the laundry room or in room with furniture that may be giving off formaldehyde, such as the living room or bedroom.

PEACE LILY

The peace lily is at the top of NASA’s list for filtering chemicals from the air. Not only does it absorb formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene, it also pulls xylene and toluene, a chemical found in gasoline, from the air. The peace lily can survive in the shade and only needs to be watered once a week, so it’s also a good choice for those who don’t have the time to care for a plant. Since it absorbs so many chemicals, it will work well in any part of the house.

Since plants absorb chemicals through soil, they work best when the lower leaves are clipped away so that the soil is exposed. According to an article from the University of Minnesota Extension Service, NASA recommends using 15 to 18 plants for a house that’s 1,800 square feet. The better they thrive, the better they’ll clean the air.

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Do-It-Yourself Home Restoration Tips Using WD-40!

Restoration Tool for the do-it yourselfer.

Restoration Tool for the do-it yourselfer.

  1. Does wet, heavy snow stick to your snow shovel? Lighten the lifting with a coat of WD-40 on the business side of your shovel. Will also help prevent rusting of steel scoops and edges. Spray on wood handles to prevent slivering. Also use on the throat and impellers of your snow blower to prevent buildup. Snow plows, too!
  2. When winter approaches it’s time to clean the BBQ grill. WD-40 is super for brightening the grill to loosen char and grease build-up. Apply to a cool grill and scrub aggressively with the grill brush. Also wipe down the exterior with a cloth and a light spray of WD-40.
  3. Quickly loosen tar and insects from the front bumper, grill and trim of your car.
  4. The golf clubs won’t see the light of day for a while, so fall is the time to treat the club shafts and heads to a little WD TLC. An old tooth brush will help scrub the grooves.
  5. Before storing the boat for the season, coat metal surfaces with WD-40 to prevent corrosion.
  6. Young kids marking up the walls with crayons? WD-40 will soften waxy Crayola marks so you can wipe and wash the marks away. Good idea to test wallpapers or fabrics first to be sure dyes won’t be harmed.
  7. Leather responds well to a WD- 40 massage. Apply to leather furniture in the home, car or RV. Buff with soft towel. Shoes and boots will shed water after a WD spraying.
  8. Remove glued on labels, decals and stickers from glass and jars. Soften, peel and then wash with warm, soapy water.
  9. WD-40 works great to remove last year’s ski wax from skis and snowboards.
  10. Reportedly, WD-40 works to repel wasps and yellow jackets from nesting under the eaves of a home. In early summer plan to spray where you’ve previously seen nest building activity to discourage those troublesome bees.

Hope these tips help you make quick work of common restoration challenges around your home. When things get too difficult when water damage, mold, or fire and smoke occurs in your home, call FLOODCO. We know the big tricks to solve the toughest challenges.                                  406-892-1717

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