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NorthStar Restoration Services Frequently Asked Questions

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When it comes to choosing a qualified damage restoration company, there are four basic things to look for. Of course, there are more qualifications, but the big ones are:

Availability

The ideal company should be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They will answer their own phones and be able to have a technician out to your home or business within an hour or so, even if that hour is at 2 AM on a Sunday. Disasters do not keep regular office hours, so why would you want to choose a damage restoration provider that does?

Trained Personnel

The ideal company will have a complete staff of trained professionals, proficient on all the latest damage restoration equipment and procedures. They will be able to do the work and communicate effectively with your insurance provider or claims adjuster to ensure prompt, courteous service and timely completion of the work required.

Services Offered

The ideal company will offer a complete range of services designed to return your home to its pre-loss condition. This will include water extraction and drying, carpet cleaning and mold remediation, as well as any structural repair or restoration that may be required. Any subcontracted work will be performed according to strict industry standards.

Industry Certifications

Make sure the company you choose has been certified by an industry leader, such as the Institute For Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC) or the Restoration Industry Association (RIA).

You should call a restoration company whenever you notice a problem. This may sound like common sense, but people often think they can do-it-yourself a minor damage issue and that usually results in a lot of trouble. Unless you are a licensed professional, do the safe thing and call your local certified restoration company.

Yes. No. Maybe. The single most confusing element related to water, fire, and mold damage is what is and is not covered. Find out what you have, or don't have, and learn what you need when it comes to water damage and your insurance.

Homeowners Policies

Water damage is probably the single most common reason that people make claims on their homeowner's policies. Unfortunately, it is only then that they actually discover what is and is not covered. Flooding is not usually covered under insurance, and if water damage can be in any way traced back to negligence on the part of the homeowner, it will not be covered. Sudden and unforeseen problems are usually covered.

You need to take the time and sit down with your insurance provider and determine the extent of your coverage. Making too many insurance claims for situations that are not covered can come back to haunt you when you try to shop for different insurance in the future.

Secure your property to prevent additional damage. Make any temporary repairs necessary, such as putting a tarp over your roof or boarding up your windows. Do not remove any evidence of damage and this may cause you to have your claim denied because you did not follow the correct policy procedures.

[company,data=name] provides these temporary services as well as full-service water, fire, mold and storm damage restoration. Call us today for help with tarping and board-up services.

Every situation is different. The amount of time it takes to clean fire, water, mold or storm damage depends on the extent of the damage, how many rooms were affected and other factors. [company,data=name] will clean as quickly and efficiently as possible to complete the job and get your home back to normal.

The cost of increased electrical usage is usually less than people think. It is often a cost that is paid for by your insurance provider if your policy allows for it. Usually, the cost is between $25-75.

Talk to your claims associate about what you should do and should not do before the clean-up team arrives.

Check your policies and speak to your insurance professional to learn exactly how your particular deductibles work.

Depreciation is the amount by which the value your home or personal property has decreased in since you bought it. Depreciation is caused by a combination of factors including:

  • Age – how long ago something was purchased
  • Condition – the amount of wear and taer or other damage
  • Obsolescence – whether newer models have been released

Based on this, recoverable depreciation is the portion of the depreciated amount that you can get back or "recover" from your insurance company when you make a claim on a policy with replacement cost coverage.

Water damage to your home may or may not be covered by your insurance, depending on your policy. Generally, home insurance covers "sudden internal" water damage. This accounts for things like a leaking roof, toilet or sink overflow, and vandalism.

If the water damage is the result of a flood or any sort of homeowner neglect, your insurance policy usually will not cover the costs. If you're unsure what's covered and what's not, it's best to touch base with your insurance provider to get an answer. You can normally add extra insurance coverage for floods in $5,000 increments for about $50/year.

It can be clean, dirty, or anywhere in between. Knowing what kind of water problem you have will go a long way towards telling you how to fix it. You should understand the various categories of water and why they are classified as such.

The type of water damage you have and its treatment depends largely on the category of water involved. According to the IICRC S500 Standards and Reference Guide for Water Damages, water damage is typically defined by one of the three following categories:

Category 1 Water

Also known as Clean Water, this is water that is uncontaminated at the source and as such does not pose a threat if exposed to or consumed by humans or animals. Broken water lines or overflowing tubs or sinks would be examples of Clean Water.

Category 2 Water

Also known as Grey Water, this water may contain some varying degrees of contaminants at the source and may cause discomfort or illness if exposed to or consumed by humans or animals. Examples of Grey Water would include toilet water with urine present, sump pump failures, and discharge from dishwashers or washing machines.

Category 3 Water

Also known as Black Water, this refers to water that is highly contaminated at the source and may cause serious illness or even death if consumed by humans or animals. This water contains grossly unsanitary agents, harmful bacteria and fungi, and is usually the result of sewage based spills. Other sources may include seawater, rising water from rivers or streams, ground surface water or standing water.

While flooding is impossible to miss, some events may be hard to notice, especially if you're dealing with smaller water damage problems. Here are some signs you are experiencing water damage:

  • A damp smell, especially if accompanied by early signs of mold that might look like spots of dust or dirt.
  • Cold rooms that have a difficult time retaining heat. This not only increases your energy costs — it's also an indicator that the inside of your walls might be damp.
  • Discoloration on ceilings or walls, especially if it appears in streaks.
  • A sound of dripping or running water in a place you usually don't hear it, which can indicate that water damage is happening behind-the-scenes.

Sometimes water damage is inevitable, like when a massive storm strikes with little warning. Often, though, there are steps you can take to prevent your home or business from being damaged in the first place.

  • Regularly check for cracks and leaks. It doesn't take a large opening in your roof, ceiling, or walls for water to get through and cause damage. If you notice anything that looks unusual, get it checked out immediately.
  • Clean your gutters at least twice a year. If water can properly drain from your roof, the chances of it building up and leaking into your home are quite small.
  • Keep your sump pump in working condition. Basement sump pumps do wonders for preventing floods from damaging your lowest level by keeping water levels low. Perform annual sump pump maintenance checks to make sure yours is always up to the task. It's also a good idea to have a backup sump pump in case something goes wrong with the first one — we recommend a battery-operated unit in case the power goes out.
  • Make sure your yard allows water to drain away from your home. Certain types of landscaping can help reduce the risk of a flood damaging your home by helping water drain away and out of your yard.

Not many things are more of a headache to clean up than water damaged carpet. Even in the smallest of cases, there is always a scramble to get everything dried and cleaned to avoid unsightly stains and musty odors. So you can imagine the damage that even an inch of water in your living room may cause.

In many cases, simply throwing the carpet out and starting over with new would be the preferred course. If you wish to save your carpet, the good news is that you probably can, as long as the carpet has been wet for less than 48 hours, and if the water involved was not sewage based. Mold often takes no longer than 72 hours to form and spread. It can be difficult to clean thoroughly after that time. Your best course of action is to call [company,data=name] immediately for help. Our experienced professionals will help you determine if you should replace your carpets after water damage.

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