We All Know to Prepare before the Storm.
Fact Is Most Do Not. Where will you go?
According to Time Magazine in 2011, their take on Storm Preparedness or the lack there of for Tornadoes and other Illinois Storms was this; “Midwesterners can surely be forgiven their twister fatigue. But it nonetheless pays to have an emergency plan rehearsed and always know where the nearest shelter is. Tornadoes play rough, and as the past few months have shown, they also play for keeps.”
In addition to Time Magazine’s comments on Tornado Preparedness in the Midwest, decided actions need planned for Floods, Severe Winds and the ever-present Torrential Rains or Blizzards.
Rehearse ‘Your’ Plan.
That is actually the end result of preparing a plan that your family knows and agrees to follow. Once you have rehearsed the plan, review and update it each year. For the little ones, be sure to make it seem just like they are following a storm drill in school. Some educators even suggest giving rewards when the little ones follow the parent’s instructions. Check out these tips from Illinois Ready Gov.
But first, let’s make sure you understand the various types and causes for storms by definition. This list of tips on storms is provided by the Illinois State Weather System. Tornadoes, Storms, Flooding, Severe Winds, Torrential Rains and Blizzards all have their variations for preparedness and exacting plans for execution. Study up to be sure your readiness plan is worth executing.
The list from the Illinois State Weather System might seem boring and actually unnecessary until that time comes when you have to implement a plan, … only to discover you do not have one. So, we are back to the Time article from 2011, folks in Illinois become somewhat numb and really immunize themselves from developing a Sound Storm Preparedness Plan. A very risky action plan at best is to have none.
Rather than go over all the lists of items, topics, directions and steps needed to prepare for any type of storm, let’s focus on one of the final steps first.
Where Will You Go with your family, friends, pets or even relatives if you like them, When the Storm Strikes?
Now before you are quick to answer, where you might go for a Flood or Torrential Rain is entirely different from a Tornado or Blizzard. Yep blizzards are storms, and should be totally prepared for should your power go out. It might be days before you get plowed out and even get your power back in Fulton County.
Most all agree that depending on your capability to escape forthcoming flood waters, it is best to do so. If flood waters should catch you off guard, which many floods have when structures are located next to streams or moving bodies of water, take to the highest point possible for rescue. These tips from the IL Gov on Emergency Preparedness on Floods and other Common Preparedness Needs will assist in you not being caught off guard. Higher ground note to remember. Many homeowners rush to the attic when caught off-gurard from rising flood waters. Only to discover as the water continues to rise, they are now trapped in their attic. Work out your plan for each possible storm scenario so that you too are not caught in a trapped situation which could lead to your peril.
Earthquake Month in Central Illinois
Did you know that February in Illinois is Earthquake Preparedness Month? How is your Earthquake Plan? Earthquake Insurance? Better yet, where do you go for shelter In your home or business should an Earthquake strike? After the quake, what assistance might you need and where would you find such? Although technically not a storm, Earthquakes and their aftermath need planning just like a storm.
Enough on the Earthquake Preparedness for Mason and the surrounding Counties.
Central Illinois is No Stranger to Tornadoes
When most people are preparing for storms in Knox County, their thoughts go towards Tornadoes. Most homeowners and business owners have some idea or plan regarding where to direct their family or staff in the event of a severe storm or tornado watch or warning. Most males still have difficulty rationalizing the difference between a tornado warning or a watch. Male viewpoint is that you can still grill outside up until the siren blows or the lawnchairs fly. Once that happens, it is time to take the meat off of the grill and run to the basement. At least there will be hot brats from the grill for the storm. Some may perish but the brats will survive.
All kidding aside, Watches and Warnings need to be taken seriously. Especially if you have guests, elderly relatives or family members or staff with disablities. Every precaution needs taken to ensure the safety of all. Yet most have not really prepared their structure for such an event. Here is a source of information from FEMA on preparing structures for severe weather, inclusive of prints for building a safe room. Additional information from Texas Tech University can assist you in retro-fitting your present structure or even purchasing Pre-Fab Storm Shelters that are developed for your backyard, garage floor or even storage rooms or closets. Many will find that there are many affordable alternatives to securing the structural integrity of their dwelling to further ensure the safety of the occupants during a variety of storms.
Yes, there might be some research involved to properly develop the correct Storm Preparedness Plan for your home or business. But, the end product will produce an invaluable asset for your family or staff to endure and re-establish after a storm. Check out the Federal Government tips offered here. Plus, additional measures taken to secure your structure should add to the value of the structure in the long-run.
Storms are never expected and as research shows, seldom prepared for. Just like a bandage, no one needs one until the accident has occurred. Seek assistance and get your plan in place before hand. HelpPro1 is pleased to offer a host of services for Storm Recovery, Storm Encapsulation, and Storm Restoration inclusive of Water Damage Restoration. Call us today for any assistance you might need. Be sure to review our Supplemental Services to understand all of HelpPro1 capabilities at your service.
Finally, review your Insurance Plan. What exactly does it cover? Do you have photos, videos or appraisals of your possesions in the event a storm does strike? Is your Insurance Agents contact infomration included in your plan? Do you have emergency contact information included in your plan? As you can see, preparedness can literally pay for itself if a storm should ever strike. HelpPro1 sincerely hopes you will never need us for storm scenarios. Stay safe! Stay Prepared!
Homeowner’s Insurance Guidance
Know Your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy
According to the statistics, over 70% of homeowners are not exactly certain of what their homeowner’s insurance policies actually cover. Many perceive that figure to actually be very low.
Homeowner’s Insurance Premiums in Illinois
The average premium for 2016 Homeowner’s Insurance in Illinois was $1,042 thus ranking Illinois 28th in the nation in insurance premium costs to homeowners. (The average cost of homeowner’s insurance across America was estimated to be $1,173 in 2015.)
Courtesy of the Insurance Institute. https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-homeowners-and-renters-insurance#Expenditures%20homeowners%20and%20renters%20insurance
Homeowner’s Insurance Claim Frequency
- The Costliest Claims by Homeowners are Related to Fire and Lightning
- Followed by Homeowner’s Insurance Claims from Wind and Hail.
- One in twenty homeowners have an insurance claim on their homeowner’s insurance each year.
- One in fifty homeowners have an insurance claim due to wind and/or hail.
- One in fifty homeowners have an insurance claim for water damage or freezing.
( Many states are now requiring insurance carriers to also include a level of coverage for mold due to water damage. Check with your carrier to see if your policy covers such or if mold coverage can be added.)
- One in three hundred and sixty have an insurance claim due to fire and/or lightning.
Incidentally, and we will talk more on this later, the aftermath of water damage, damage due to freezing plus fire and lightning damage can all produce severe mold damage if not treated and addressed properly. Be sure to ask your policy agent if you are covered for mold in the event of these disasters.
Homeowner’s Insurance Inventory Lists
So, what percentage of homeowners actually prepare a list of their insured possessions to be covered by their policy? 40%? 80%? Well, the number actually varies by the region of the country.
In the Midwest, we have the distinction of having the lowest number of homeowners that actually prepare an inventory list for their policy providers. Poor Form! The Midwest on average has ‘only’ 43% of homeowners preparing a list of household inventory for their carriers. In the South, 57% prepare a list. In the North East and West, they respectively prepare a list at the rate of 56% and 50%.
Why all of this information on Household Inventory Listings for Insurance Carriers? Simply put, it is in your absolute best interest. In addition to providing your agent and insurance company with a list of inventories, inclusive of photos, be sure to secure copies in a fireproof safe or lockbox. It could save you thousands of dollars in the future. Best practices for list development are provided by your carrier.
(See your insurance agent for additional details that might be needed such as appraised values on collectibles, receipts on special furnishing purchases, and history records for family heirlooms.)
Homeowner’s Insurance Losses Ranked by Claims Frequency
Average Weighted 2013 – 2017
Homeowner’s Insurance Losses for Claims by Category & Severity
Average Weighted 2013 – 2017
As you will note, with the exception of Bodily Injury & Property Damage, Fire, Lightning, Water Damage, Freezing, Wind and Hail top off the list of losses. Each of which can lead to further damage from mold and loss of use. Courtesy of the Insurance Institute
Please Note: Frequency of Claims bases on incidents per 100 policies. Wind, Hail, Water Damage and Freezing top the Frequency of Claims Category. Each of these three occurrences can also lead to mold damage if not addressed in a correct manner. Courtesy of the Insurance Institute
Homeowner’s Insurance Claims Severity & Frequency
The recent Midwest weather patterns and their severity have caused all to take a closer look at their homeowner’s policy and declared coverages. HelpPro1 strongly encourages all homeowner’s to annually review their policy and possible changes needed with their local agents to ensure there are no surprises in the event of a claim. One hour of attention now, can save you thousands of dollars and a tremendous amount of peace of mind. Be safe. Be secure. Be well prepared with appropriate Homeowner’s Insurance Coverage to avoid potentially greater personal losses and unnecessary surprises.
What HelpPro1 Experience Has Seen
HelpPro1 along with its Sister Companies, Basement De-Watering Systems and Spoon River Pest Control has seen a plethora of situations throughout Central & Western Illinois over the last four decades. Sadly, one of the greatest disappointments for the homeowner is finding that a recent disaster or accident is not covered by their homeowner’s insurance policy. Situations that could have been covered if the homeowners would simply ask their insurance agents about specific coverages to address potential risks of loss in their homes or offices.
Home risks like various causes and types of water damage. Risks like sewage back-up in basements or crawl spaces. Questions like; What happens if mold is found in the crawl space or any other part of your structure? Who absorbs the cost? Here is a partial list of risks, situations, areas and categories you might need to discuss with your carrier. Needless to say, it is not every possible scenario that presents potential damages to your structure. Just some of the more frequent problems we see on any annual basis that may not be covered in one’s homeowner insurance policy. Which potential risk can cost the most?
Potential Situations Possibly Not Covered by Homeowner’s Insurance
- Basement Flooding from Rain
- Basement Flooding from Power Outages
- Basement Flooding from Sump Pump Failure
- Basement Flooding from Sewer Backup
- Basement Flooding from Pipes Bursting or Freezing
- Basement Foundation, Wall Cracks & Floor Cracks due to untreated water seepage or structure settling.
- Crawl Space Flooding from Rain, Power Outages, Sump Pump Failure, Sewer Backup or Freezing
- Mold accumulating in the structure due to untreated water seepage or moisture accumulation.
- Mold accumulating on home’s possessions due to untreated water seepage or moisture accumulation.
- Mildew Odors accumulating in the structure due to lack of air flow or proper ventilation.
- Structure’s Materials Rotting / Decomposing due to untreated moisture or water seepage.
- Infestations of pests causing structure’s material destruction.
- Infestations of pests causing odors throughout the structure.
A footnote on Flood Damage. The description for flood damage and possible coverage changes state by state and carrier by carrier. The Federal Government also regulates Flood Damage Insurance very restrictively. Be sure to discuss your risk potentials for flood damage and possible remedies with your carrier’s agent. As noted in the Insurance Institute’s graph, Water Damage is by far one of the greatest causes of loss throughout the nation. That especially holds true in Central Illinois.
Ways Homeowner’s Can Avoid ‘Insurance Fatigue’
‘Insurance Fatigue’ is when the homeowner(s) reach a point of exhaustion in dealing with vendors, contractors, supply resources and all the persons affiliated with their claim. It can absolutely be exhausting to deal with the ever-changing scenarios affiliated with the remedies needing accomplished to restore your structure, possessions and family back to pre-claim status.
HelpPro1 completely recognizes the overwhelming homeowner’s anguish that can accompany any insurance claim on one’s structure, personal possessions and lives. That is the single most important reason why we deal directly with the insurance carrier on each and every subject matter. Even on a daily or hourly basis if needed. HelpPro1 works will all insurance providers.
Exactness in professionalism is the absolute minimum that a homeowner should expect in securing, protecting and restoring their personal possessions and home back to normal.
So, to be sure you avoid ‘Insurance Fatigue’, be precise in selecting an agent and carrier that you have absolute peace of mind with. Build a rapport where they understand you and you trust them. A good relationship has to be built, not just created. They should also stand by you through your calamity.
Finally, instill in your agent that you desire only certified insured professionals to restore your losses back to normal in an expeditious manner. Your life has been disrupted. You need proven professionals to assist your agent in restoring it. Ask for the facts regarding selected vendors track record, referances and above all the tenure in the given field of expertise.
HelpPro1 is pleased to offer our reputation and accredited professional services to those homeowner’s that have need. In serving Central and Western Illinois, our rapport with the Insurance Industry and Agencies overseeing our credentials is available for inspection on request. Contact us with any questions you might have at anytime.
Fires are as unpredictable as they are destructive. It’s impossible to know when and where a fire will strike, but being prepared only takes a bit of planning.
For most businesses, the only thing that’s worse than the damage a fire causes is its aftermath. Contacting a reputable restoration company as soon as the flames are extinguished helps owners and staff speed up the recovery process. While professionals take on the challenge of cleaning up the damage, business owners can concentrate on gathering information, making arrangements, and rebooting operations so that everyone can get back to work.
A Post-fire Checklist for Businesses
Fires can cause significant financial and emotional stress. Below is a list of eight essential actions that can help businesses recover quickly and securely:
- Contact the insurer(s) of the business and its property as soon as possible to begin the claims process.
- Document everything from the day of the fire onward, because not all damage will be immediately apparent or obviously fire-related.
- Identify all parties that may be legally liable and inform them of the situation.
- Secure the premises against being vandalized or further damaged, hire temporary or supplemental security if needed, and retrieve any unsecured valuables.
- Discontinue or pause all utilities and other business services as needed (e.g., janitorial, IT, office supplies) until operations resume.
- Provide updated contact information to all relevant authorities and affected parties. Update them right away if there are changes to contact information.
- Contact vendors, customers, employees, and all other affected parties as soon as possible to inform them of the current status. Provide updates regularly to keep everyone informed.
- Call an experienced fire remediation and restoration company as soon as possible to remove debris, remediate related issues, and restore the space.
Always Prepare in Advance
Businesses that have never experienced a fire have the benefit of time. They should prepare by fireproofing workspaces and processes. Fire preparation matters equally to the business’s owners, employees, vendors, and clients. By talking to a fire claims expert about the process ahead of time, companies will have a clearer understanding of what will happen if disaster strikes.
When businesses in Central Illinois have been damaged by fire, flooding, mold, or other emergencies, HelpPro1 is there to offer immediate assistance. Available 24/7, our certified fire cleanup services efficiently remove debris and reduce the stress of dealing with fire damage. To get help now, call us toll-free at 844-HELP-PRO (435-7776).
Recently, it’s become clear that a severe weather plan is necessary for families across the country, especially with Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael having decimated parts of the Southeast. In June, strong thunderstorms produced tornados that caused damage to homes, trees, and power lines in parts of our Central Illinois service area. Those caught off guard during natural disasters could face devastating consequences, from losing their possessions to losing their lives. These tips will help families create a severe weather plan to be prepared for Illinois’ next thunderstorm, tornado, or winter weather event.
Create an Emergency Shelter
Every family should have an emergency shelter in the home. It should contain a well-stocked supply kit at all times, which should include:
- Battery-powered weather alert radio
- Extra batteries
- Identification for every family member
- Map for tracking the storm
- Extra car keys
- Extra shoes for each family member
- Pillows or blankets to protect from flying debris
Every family member should know where the supply box is located and how to use the radio. It’s also wise to store important documents and valuables in this room, as well as emergency cash (debit and credit cards require electricity for processing).
Consider Every Family Member
The severe weather plan should account for the entire family. Tornados only give a few moments’ warning, and there’s no guarantee the whole family will be together when it strikes. Children should know what to do and who to contact if their parents aren’t home. Pets should always have up-to-date identification tags and vaccinations. The plan must also account for their whereabouts during the situation, especially if the family has to leave their home.
There’s no convenient time for disaster to strike, so families should have separate plans for daytime and at nighttime emergencies. If severe weather strikes during the work or school day, each person should know a meeting location or way to get in touch. In addition, gas and water often need to be shut off during emergencies to prevent secondary issues, like fire, so it’s important to know where to find these valves and how to work them.
After the Storm
We deal with all sorts of severe weather in Central Illinois—from brutally cold snowstorms to powerful tornados—so most people here know how to act in the face of bad weather. If your family doesn’t already have one, create a severe weather plan to help minimize the impact of a disaster on your family. If disaster does strike and your home is damaged, HelpPro1 will help clean up the mess with restoration and reconstruction services. We offer round-the-clock emergency assistance, so we can be there for your family when you need us. Call HelpPro1 at (844) 435-7776 to get help now!
Mold is well known for thriving in dark, damp environments—and unfortunately, this type of fungus can frustrate homeowners who strive to prevent and detect its presence in their homes. There are a few different types of mold that can grow in residential spaces, all with various appearances and effects. Here’s what you need to know to spot and prevent these common types of mold.
Green mold is a common type of growth that prefers cooler environments. Often, green mold develops on old food stored in damp or dark locations. Green mold can produce allergy-inducing spores or even mycotoxins that can be damaging to residents’ health. This mold can be prevented by monitoring humidity indoors, throwing out old food, and drying wet areas immediately, especially those with water damage.
Pink mold often grows on shower floors and curtains, as it thrives in environments that are high in moisture. Unfortunately, it is difficult to prevent pink mold, as bathrooms will generally stay damp, as well as the fact that pink mold can feed off of soap and shower products. However, it can help to use dehumidifiers in the space and get into the habit of spraying after-shower solutions to get rid of shower product residue that pink mold feeds on.
Also known as “slime mold” due to its similarity to slime at a glance, yellow mold is generally easier to spot, as it is very bright in color. Touching, inhaling, or ingesting yellow mold can cause a host of health problems, so the mold should be removed immediately when spotted. Certain strains of yellow mold can even destroy wood, causing damage over time.
Black mold is a dark, toxic mold that affects certain household materials, including drywall, carpet, insulation, and sub-flooring, that have been exposed to moisture. This type of mold is associated with respiratory problems, such as chronic coughing and sneezing, mucous membranes of the nose and throat, chronic fatigue, and persistent headaches. Much like other types of mold, black mold can be prevented with proper ventilation and moisture control, as well as by removing any household materials that have been affected by floods or exposure to moisture during renovation or restoration projects.
In general, for these and other types of growths, it’s important to ventilate areas exposed to moisture and monitor the household for leaks. However, if mold exists despite your prevention efforts, get help now by calling HelpPro1 toll-free at 844-435-7776 today! We provide effective, professional mold cleanup and restoration services throughout Central Illinois so that you can get on with life as usual.