Recent Storm Damage Posts
How Long Will it Take to fix my Home After A Storm
Back in February, our team went to Texas to help out with the Polar Vortex that happened in the Midwest. Our crew decided to go to the storm approximately two weeks after it had finished, since we were wrapping up a large San Diego project. As soon as we got settled into our hotel, we called the homeowners that had been assigned to our team and had quickly found out that most of them had not received any plumbing service at all.
Now to clarify, SERVPRO doesn't do plumbing. Typically, when there's a water damage, one of the first steps is to turn off the water in your home so that no more leaks out, from there we start our restoration work. Somewhere in between, a plumber usually goes out to fix the leak and turn on the water again.
When the storm hit, hundreds of plumbers, roofers, restoration companies, carpet cleaners, etc. came to town to assist everyone that needed help. Even so with all of the help, these homeowners would call for service and be put on a list, waiting for when they get a call back. Our team would do an inspection and start working within the next two days, and in between our crews would be working overtime so they could help everybody. I'm sure all of these companies that were in town were doing their best to help everybody, and the reality is that no one knows when these storms are going to happen.
If there's ever a storm and you need help, call SERVPRO, since our storm teams are trained to be faster to any disaster.
What Happened After the Large Snow Storm in Texas
Some of our team members after our breakfast meeting.
I remember in February reading the news about the big freeze that happened in Texas; I was shocked at how much water damage there was from the freezing pipes. Working as a SERVPRO franchise, you really get to see their system shine when there's a natural disaster. SERVPRO has storm teams that receives a large influx of claims from our partners at AAA, State Farm, Farmers, etc. When this happens. they activate the alarm for all of the franchises to mobilize. The storm team advised us that help was needed in Houston so after some quick planning, we decided to start our trek.
Our estimator Reynaldo and myself flew out first while our trucks hit the road for a 2 day trip. When I arrived, the snow had just cleared but the city still had a large amount of water damage. I handle logistics for the company, so it was my role to secure a place for our team to stay, make sure that we have a storage for our equipment, and extra vehicles for inspections, estimates, monitoring, and late night Whataburger cravings.
Once Rey and I got settled the following day, we decided to call through some of the people that were assigned to us. If there's one thing to note, it's how great the SERVPRO system is; we didn't have make cold calls or knock on doors. Since the Storm team already received the files, they would just assign them for us to call. We would get between 40 and 80 homeowners at a time to call through and see if they had received service.
As Rey and I started to call these people, we really got to see something that we don't experience in San Diego; real catastrophe. Here at home, when there's a water loss, the home owner is in immediate need and can usually call someone to get assistance within a couple of hours. In Texas, it had been two weeks since the snow had affected the area and many people were still on lists to get help. Many of these homeowners have a similar set up where there's a water heater in the attic that burst after freezing, affecting 1-2 floors of the their house, and were waiting for a plumber to fix the pipes. The people that we inspected still had debris from the sheetrock on the floor, mold, soaked carpets and cabinets, and in many instances no water.
After some inspections, our crew arrived on a Saturday night and got to work. The rest proceeded as it normally would at home: we inspect the damage and mark the affected areas, we communicate with the insurance, and once we have the green light we start the work. Our team would prepare the area, do demolition on all affected walls, dispose of all the debris, clean everything else, and leave equipment for drying. 8 weeks later and dozens of houses fixed, our crews are scheduled to come home in a couple of days.
We're truly grateful for our team; they worked long shifts, adapted to a new city, spent time away from their families, and really dedicated themselves to serving people when there was no one else to turn to. After this experience, we are planning on traveling more in the future. There is a tangible impact that our crews left with the clients and we're happy that we have an opportunity to keep making an impact with our company.
How to deal with falling trees. Who is responsible? Do I need to involve my insurance?
A family sees a tree in their front yard after a storm in San Diego
With lots of heavy winds and rain coming lately, I was researching what typically happens when there is a tree that falls in a property. I remember back in early 2016 when there was an awful storm, there were trees on the roads everywhere and our business received a lot of phone calls with homeowners that had actual trees fall into their house and damage their property.
The source for this information is from an article in Consumer Reports that I linked at the end, as well as some of our personal experiences working in these environments. The article is dated for July 2019, but the information is still relevant.
1. Will my insurance cover me?
The article sites that the short answer is “Tap your own coverage. Make a claim through your insurer for tree damages to your property, even if the tree was rooted in your neighbor’s yard. “ In our experience, insurance companies may cover these damages due to high wind incidents, but it’s important to check with your carrier first.
2. What if the neighbor’s tree falls on my house?
When this happens, you can still open up an insurance claim to get help right away. It’s possible that your insurance will seek to recover their expenses through what’s called “Subrogation”. This would be the same process but reversed if your tree fell on the neighbors house.
3. What if the tree falls in my yard and not on the house?
The article states two different points. It seems like if there is no damage your house, your may have to pay for the clean up yourself. But in other instances, the article cites that the homeowners policy may reimburse your for damaged landscaping.
4. How costly is a tree claim?
The average reported amount was $4110 for tree claims, although this can vary depending on how much damage was involved to your house and what was affected as a result.
Often times these incidents can cause water damage from pipes breaking or structural challenges that need to be repaired. Our team would be able to assess the damage and make a plan to restore your house to its original condition.
If there is an instance where something like this happens, feel free to give us a call at (619) 482-1131 and we would be glad to answer your questions!
Link to original post: https://www.consumerreports.org/homeowners-insurance/when-a-tree-falls-who-pays-for-the-damage/