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If a water leak happens should I file an insurance claim?

When a water leak occurs, the initial reaction is to stop the leak. Once stopped, most people will attempt a quick clean up by themselves. They sop up all the water and notice some damage to the floors, walls, base moldings and doors. They review their insurance policy and see it has a $1,000 deductible and wonder, “how much will all this cost to fix?” They call their insurance agent for advice, and luckily their agent is knowledgeable and committed to high levels of customer service, and recommends that they call in a trusted restoration contractor for a free consultation

The recommended restoration contractor arrives and tests the affected floors, walls and finishes for signs of trapped moisture with a moisture meter. He explains that even though the puddles are gone, the water has soaked up in-and-behind the sheetrock and trim. Without proper water mitigation and de-humidification, this trapped moisture can rapidly start dangerous mold growth within the unseen walls.

The estimate for the mitigation is $3000 to $5000 and the repairs including replacement of the ripped-out floors and walls is $10,000 to $12,000. If all this wasn’t traumatizing enough, the restoration contractor explains that most homeowners’ policies won’t cover mold growth unless the mold condition was created by a “covered” water loss. He says, “I’ve seen this a countless number of times, there is a profound trapped moisture condition that people don’t feel they need to start a claim for and try to mitigate it themselves…unsuccessfully. Months later, they discover the presence of mold and can’t get coverage because they never started a claim for the water condition. They should have started a claim immediately, got it covered as a water loss and with this “covered loss” status, they would have had mold coverage protection.

The motto of this story is had they first called in a full-service restoration contractor who did the complete job from start to finish it would have only cost the homeowner their $1,000 deductible. Also, they would have been no fear of mold growth because the job was done correctly from the beginning!

Water Removal Only?

Water Damage Cleanup And Restoration Long Island NYWater damage in Long Island is not uncommon, with it being surrounded by water and all. But it doesn’t mean you should take it lightly. The water pooling up on your floor may get sucked up but the unseen water & moisture behind walls & under the flooring can wreck tremendous havoc if not dealt with properly. Have a professional take care of flooded basement water removal as well as detecting, exposing & drying hidden, trapped moisture before mold growth occurs will ensure the safety of you and your family. True Restorations, a top company dedicated to water damage restoration in Long Island NY, ensures complete removal, cleanup, and restoration of your home.

You wake up one morning to find 1” of water throughout your finished basement. You search for the source but are unable to find a broken pipe or cracked plumbing pipe. You remember that there was a torrential downpour late last night & that somehow this build-up of water must have found some way to get into your basement. You think “this is going to be a lot of work”. After a call to your insurance agent, you learn that groundwater entering your home from this situation is known as ‘seepage” and that there is no coverage under your current policy for this type of work. Now what??

You go to your laptop computer, open up Google and type in “flooded basement water removal company near me”. After perusing a few sites & make a few appointments for site visits for an evaluation & quote, then, and only then does the magnitude of the coming cleanup occur to you.

The first company to respond in for an assessment & quote was a local, reputable, highly rated water restoration company. Their assessment echoes your insurance agents, there likely will be no coverage, this work will have to be paid “out of pocket”. The restoration tech also explains many other aspects of a proper clean-up that you have never heard about. Terms like: category 3 water, elevated moisture readings showing trapped moisture in sheetrocked walls, potential harmful mold growth as a result of improper dry down of the affected structure. They present you with a quote for full water restoration services as per the IICRC guidelines. You think…..”Wow, this is way more work than you were thinking, all you want is the water removed”. You thank them for the quote and then wait for a second evaluation.

The second company to respond to your request for help is a local plumber who specializes in pump-outs, typically sewer backups. He is not trained in water restoration and doesn’t even own a water meter that can detect elevated moisture readings in sheetrock, wood or even concrete or other surfaces. The plumber says, “only 1” of water….this is a piece of cake, I will have this water soaked up in 45 minutes”. He recommends that you set up a few fans to help dry everything down. He also recommends to maybe spray some bleach and do additional precautionary clean up.  He gives you a price that is about one-quarter of what the restoration contractor quoted.

After the two assessments & quotes and some thoughtful reflection, you make your decision on what to do. This scenario will play out for countless property owners, over & over again…… every day. Which direction any particular property will be determined by factoring available monies coupled with risk tolerance. If you can afford to pay to have the restoration contractor who is licensed, insured & trained to perform a full water restoration project with complete dry down and anti-microbial treatment and you absolutely are risk-averse to exposing your family to the potentially harmful affects of improperly cleaned surfaces or potential mold infestation. If your situation presents you with limited unavailable disposable income and an inability to access credit to pay for services, you may be forced to hire the “cheap guy” even knowing or wanting the full restoration & cleanup offered by the trained, competent restoration contractor.

We at True Restorations are realistic & understanding about any one person’s particular financial situation and ability to pay for services will vary. We will respond to these types of emergencies for a free consultation. We will provide pricing for full restoration services as well as ala carte pricing for less than a complete water restoration project as we realize that without proper insurance coverage, some clients will need a modified scope of work that they can realistically afford.  We do however seek an indemnification from our clients for protection against not following the IICRC guidelines for proper restoration along with executing the modified cleanup & dry down of the affected structure.

If your home or business is affected by water in any way, please call us right away at 631-757-0212 for an immediate response, consultation & quote for services.

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True Restorations Inc.

“One Call Does it All”

Long Island NY’s Trusted Partner in Complete Mold Removal and Remediation

Your Trusted Partner in Mold Removal and Remediation

A top Mold Remediation Company, True Restorations specializes in complete mold removal and damage restoration in the counties of Suffolk and Nassau of Long Island NY covering mold cleanup, mold mitigation, and mold abatement. Being at the top should make them trustworthy, right?

At True Restorations, it is not the company that upholds our service, it is our people. Composed of a team of mold removal experts who have experience remediating mold, True Restorations ensures that the NY state mold testing & remediation guidelines are followed.  The guidelines dictate that only a licensed mold testing company can determine the type of mold along with developing a remediation plan to safely remove all mold affected interior finishes affected. Additionally, the testing company cannot perform the remediation work, a separate licensed mold remediation company is needed to execute the mold remediation plan….True Restorations possesses the NY state licenses for mold remediation & license to provide supervisory of the mold remediation plan.

Mold infestation can attack anyone’s home or business. So long as you have a water source in your working or living space, you are at risk of getting exposure to mold.

Mold can generally spread within 24 to 72 hours but there are different strains of mold, some more aggressive than others. True Restorations are experts at solving mold-related problems just one click and you can consult them to know what kind of mold you’re dealing with.

Do you reside in Long Island? Our mold specialists in Nassau County, Suffolk County, Massapequa, Northport, and Sayville of Long Island NY are just one call way to help you guide with the whole process for elevating the levels of the mold by identifying & testing the issue. True Restorations is an NYS Licensed mold remediation contractor who not only remediates the mold condition but also provides the necessary repairs to restore the interior finishes removed during the process.

Understanding Mold And It’s Effects

The truth of the matter is, mold is found everywhere in the atmosphere both indoor and outdoor. Mold spores are microscopic and can enter your home through doors, windows, air vents and even air conditioning systems.

However, once mold spores start growing into colonies as a result of exposure to water, then you have a problem. Mold spreads by attaching onto biological food sources such as cellulose that is found in some building constituents such as drywall and wood. Once exposed to water, mold grows fast.

Exposure to mold can cause breathing difficulties, allergic reactions, skin irritation, headaches and even aggravation of asthma symptoms.

How To Detect Mold

A visible indication that you might have mold are dark spots on your walls, floors, and/or ceiling. Mold also produces a musty odor which may precipitate respiratory and allergic reactions. A definitive identification can only be made by having a mold sample taken & sent to a lab for evaluation, this is typically done by an industrial hygienist (IH). The IH (mold identification expert) will not only determine the type of mold but will also establish a mold removal protocol for the licensed remediation contractor. Upon completion of the mold removal, the IH will also provide site testing to ensure the complete removal of the mold.

Mold can also compromise the physical structure of your residence so ignoring it is not an option. You should also note that mold is not always visible; sometimes it grows in walls and under floors, therefore, you can’t rely on the visible signs exclusively to determine if there is mold in your home.

If you suspect or notice any of the signs above, call our mold specialist for a consult and they will be able to coordinate a mold inspection by an IH and determine the best course of mold cleanup.

Mold Removal And Remediation

The truth of the matter is that it is impossible to get rid of mold entirely. Why? Mold spores exist naturally in the atmosphere.

A competent company such as ours keeps it real with you. We understand the science behind how mold develops and grows. Our mold specialists carry out a thorough mold inspection and assess the mold damage if any. Next, they determine the cause of mold growth and develop a strategic plan to fix it; be it a leaking pipe or roof.

Next, we develop a mold remediation plan which includes first cleaning up existing mold while avoiding exposure to oneself as well as the home/office residents.

Once the cause of mold growth; be it from a leaked piped or roof has been fixed, we isolate the contaminated area. This means closing all doors and windows in the area. Doorways and any other openings should at this point sealed with polyethylene paper and duct tape to ensure the infestation doesn’t spread to any other parts of your home or office.

After that, you need to suppress dust and this is done by misting the contaminated space. Once misting is complete, all the wet and mold damaged permeable items are removed from the space.

Mold clean up follows thereafter to get rid of any visible mold from non-porous surfaces and items. Depending on the environment and extent of damage, we may use simple cleaning tools such as wire brushes and disposable wipes, or detergent solutions with vacuum cleaners.

Once cleaning is done, the space and all items therein must be air dried to allow any leftover moisture evaporate. Remember, mold thrives in moist environments so keeping the space dry and airy is key.

Lastly, replacement of the porous damaged items earlier removed is done. And Voila! Your home and/or business are now mold free.

Ascertaining If Remediation Worked

So your space is not cleaned up, dry, and airy. But how will you know if the mold clean up worked?

To be 100% sure that your mold problems are over, you must ensure that the issue which caused molding in the first place has been adequately fixed to avoid a recurrence.

Secondly look out for health symptoms that were present during the mold manifestation. If you and/or your family/ colleagues continue to have allergic reactions or irritations even after the mold cleanup, consult a mold specialist to come do another inspection so as to ascertain if the health conditions are as a result of a greater underlying issue.

Keeping Mold At Bay

Like earlier mentioned, mold spores are in the atmosphere and it’s impossible to get rid of them entirely but you can prevent an infestation or recurrence using the following simple guidelines:

1.    Keep the humidity levels in your home or office low. How you wonder? Opening windows or running fans when showering is a good start. Ensuring that all appliances that create moisture in your home have a vent is also a great way of managing humidity levels.

2.    A good number of mold infestations stem from leaking roofs because most homeowners don’t pay much attention to their roof until a problem arises. Keep tabs on your roof ensuring that there are no leakages; the gutters are clean and stable.

3.    Clogged air conditioner pans and drain lines can contribute towards moisture buildup so ensure they are always clean.

4.    You may consider investing in a dehumidifier which helps keep the temperatures in your space up while getting rid of excess moisture.

Remember, mold removal, clean up and remediation is not a Layman’s task especially if the damage is severe. We at We at True Restorations and Construction are absolutely available 24/7 to help you deal with your mold challenges.

 

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Hiring the Best Restoration Contractor for a water leak Job

In this post I will touch on some of the operational differences between Restoration Contractors as well as some points of interest concerning insurance claims processing, negotiations, responsibilities & payment processing of an insurance claim.

It’s game day…..it’s 2 am, you are awakened by the sound of running water, you just realized that a pipe froze, broke & is leaking in the ceiling area between your 1st & 2nd floor. You also realize that your insurance agent is not available so you Google “pipe burst contractor Long Island”. You call a plumber, right? That’s not wrong, the plumber will come fix the broken pipe but there are many other choices and facets that should be considered.

Option 2: You could call the national franchise restoration contractor like Servpro or Servicemaster, they will come & stop the leak, make insurance notifications to start the claims process & they will soak up the standing water, demolish & expose any wet areas & continue for the next few days until the mitigation of the water & moisture has been extracted & dried down to acceptable levels, then they leave. Let me repeat that last part…..then they leave, did you catch that, they leave, as in they don’t finish the job. You are on your own to find your own contractor that you will have to negotiate a repair & replacement for all necessary repairs so that you can be brought back to pre-loss condition. At the same time, you will have to negotiate with your insurance company on payout for the same & hope that you don’t have to pay huge sums of money out of pocket.

Option 3: You could call a “full service restoration contractor”, one that not only does mitigation but also does the repairs. This class of restoration contractor will also vary in size & skillset, really good, versatile contractors will also be able to handle upgrades in scope of work as a lot of small water leak jobs will upgraded with the thought of “we might as well renovate the whole space” rather than just do a small repair or replacement. Once you move a project in this direction, your project is best handled by a full service general contractor that also has an emergency restoration division.

Another very important reason to consider a full service restoration contractor for both mitigation & repair is financial. Most of the profit potential for restoration work is on the mitigation side. The mitigation side is equipment intensive & also emergency work which gets a contractor paid at a premium. Additionally, the restoration contractor can lock the job in without providing a bid, there are industry standard pricing for just about all facets of mitigation work and once a scope of work is agreed between the restoration contractor & the adjuster, the payout on the job is as per the restoration contractors invoice.

On the repair side, the insurance payout is very tight and barely enough for a contractor to make a profit plus the homeowner’s deductible is applied to the repair side which leads to out of pocket expenses for the homeowner. Another huge point of note is the typical subcontractor or even general contractor who doesn’t specialize in restoration work doesn’t estimate with the industry standard database that the adjusters use, this cause a lot of pricing disparities and delays in negotiating the repair payout with the adjuster. The software & estimate it generates is the language of the industry, without it there are a lot of issues. Hiring just a mitigation contractor who will do ½ a job & make off with all the profit and leave a homeowner to fend for themselves hardly sounds like a solution to an already stressful situation.

The best scenario…..Hire the full service restoration contractor / general contractor who has the equipment, the database, the team to handle any situation, the ability to negotiate with the adjuster speaking the language of the industry. This contractor will combine both the lucrative mitigation and marginally profitable repair side into one good paying job and the homeowner will be rewarded with a “one call does it all” job as well as a much quicker, less frustrating return to pre-loss condition.

Perhaps I forgot to mention……True Restorations is just that kind of company, we are general contractors 1st & foremost and we can handle most mitigation conditions (water, fire & mold) and can repair those job as well as handle any phase of home remodeling & new house construction. Check out our website for more particulars www.truerestorations.com

Kevin Bevilacqua
President True Restorations, Inc.

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