What Riders Should Homeowners Include in Their Policies?

How familiar are you with your homeowners insurance policy?

Many people erroneously believe that their homeowner’s policy will cover anything that ends up damaging their property. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case, and we’ve dealt with several restoration projects that would’ve been much less expensive or even free if the client had carefully reviewed their policy. It’s critical to have homeowner’s insurance, but you also need to consider any extra factors that can impact you based on your lifestyle and the area that you live in. For example, people who like to buy a lot of jewelry should definitely add on a jewelry rider so that all of their expensive pieces will be covered if they’re stolen or damaged in a natural disaster.

What About Water Damage Restoration?

Water damage can happen at any time, and it’s not necessary to live in an area that’s prone to floods in order to experience this problem. You could end up with extensive water damage restoration needs as a result of a burst pipe, accidentally leaving a window open during a storm, or even a sewage backup issue. Insurance companies are traditionally very reticent about openly discussing potential water issues because they don’t generally cover this type of damage in their basic policies. Due to this, you need to ask specific questions and read through the entire policy in order to determine if it will be necessary for you to add on a rider. Keep in mind that floods are the least likely type of damage to be covered, and anyone with a basement or a house located near a body of water needs flood protection.

How Does Fire Loss Restoration Work?

Several of the restoration jobs that we get each year are caused by a fire. This can be an extremely devastating catastrophe, and it often leaves people needing to have entire sections of their home rebuilt. The good news is that fire damage is one of the items that can almost always be found on a basic homeowner’s policy. It’s still important to take a close look at the total amount of coverage that will be provided and at any specific exclusions that could negatively affect you if your house does catch fire. Again, every homeowner should be cognizant of the exact type of coverage that they’re purchasing before they move forward with a new policy.

If your home needs fire or water damage restoration, contact Paul Davis Restoration & Remodeling to schedule an estimate. Our experienced team can work with your insurance agent to ensure that you get the best results from your claim.

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10 Tips for Preventing Home Fires Before They Start

Are you at risk for a house fire?

According to the National Fire Protection, over 1,000 house fires occur every day in the United States. Heating equipment, kitchen appliances, and tobacco products trigger the majority of residential blazes. In light of that harrowing statistic, it’s crucial to thoroughly inspect your home for fire hazards and learn techniques that help minimize the risk.


1. Watch your kitchen appliances closely and be sure to remain in the kitchen while using broilers or grills. Finish cooking and shut off all appliances before you depart.

2. When you turn on a stove or oven, always use the timer. This ensures that you’ll remember to remove the food when it’s done. If possible, set the appliance to automatically turn itself off.

3. Don’t forget to switch off cooking equipment when an electrical outage occurs. If the utility restores power after you leave home or fall asleep, an appliance could cook the food until it ignites.


4. Consider installing an arc-fault circuit interrupter. This device often prevents dangerous electrical fires. Indiana is the only state that doesn’t require it in new homes.

5. Exercise caution when using outlet splitters or power strips. Don’t connect more than one high-wattage machine to the same outlet. Such devices include heaters, air conditioners, and cooking appliances.


6. Avoid smoking indoors, especially when you drink alcoholic beverages or feel drowsy. The NFPA warns that tobacco products trigger almost 3,600 U.S. home fires in an average year.


7. If you own a clothes dryer, take the time to regularly clean its vent. A fire may occur after lint accumulates and the vent becomes clogged.

8. Hire a professional to examine and sweep your chimney. It’s best to inspect pipe seams, flue pipes, and other components every year, according to the city of New Castle, Ind.


9. Keep all flammable objects at least 36 inches away from space heaters, and avoid using this equipment while you sleep. These devices cause one out of three heating-related blazes.

10. If your home has a furnace or boiler, confirm that the emergency shut-off switch works correctly. Your entire family should know how to find this switch and when to use it.

These safety precautions could prevent thousands of house fires each year. At the same time, it’s impossible to stop every blaze from happening. Homeowners can expedite the recovery process by contacting Paul Davis Restoration & Remodeling. Our experienced technicians in northeast Indiana know how to fully recondition homes with fire damage.

For more details or a free quote, visit our website or contact us today.

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After the Disaster: How to Deal With Insurance Claims

After a fire or other life-altering event, you may be thankful just to be in one piece. Nonetheless, it’s important to start rebuilding, and the quicker you begin, the sooner you’ll be able to resume life as normal.

While additional responsibilities are probably the last things you want to deal with at this point, restoration and reconstruction usually go better when you handle them proactively. If you’re like most homeowners in such dire straits, this probably means you’re going to have to negotiate your way through an insurance claim. Here are some key steps that might help you file for the damages and still keep your cool.

Document Everything Under the Sun

Successful insurance claims depend on accurate, extensive documentation. Remember that there’s never such a thing as submitting too much paperwork.

At some point, you may disagree with how your policy provider is handling your case. For this reason, experts say it’s vital to maintain records of all communications, including emails and calls. You’ll also want to document your new living expenses so that you can claim various unusual hardships, like the cost of having to lodge in a hotel or travel further to and from work.

Note that this is all in addition to photos of damaged property and professional restoration estimates. Make things easier on yourself by being as organized as possible.

Learn Your Policy’s Boundaries

You can save yourself a lot of heartache by finding out what your policy covers early on. For instance, if a fire damages your roof, your terms may only compensate you for an amount equal to the value of the damaged roofing prior to the blaze, and this figure might include depreciation. Understanding these differences can stop you from having to pay out of pocket for restoration work that exceeded your limits.

File Your Claim Sooner Rather Than Later

Filing early is by far the most important part of the claims process. Most policies only permit payments for those who submit claims without delay. Letting too much time elapse between the event and when you file might even cause your provider to earmark your claim for potential fraud.

If you plan on reoccupying your existing property someday, this is also the time to obtain estimates on repairs and restoration. For example, letting flood-ruined building materials sit around may allow damage to spread and result in you requiring more extensive corrective work. Since insurers are less likely to pay higher claims, controlling costs by staying on the ball could give your request better chances.

Wondering how you’ll fare during the insurance claim process? Chart out a restoration plan that eases the burden by getting in touch with Paul Davis online.

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Electrical Safety Tips to Follow After Flooding in a Home

Flooding in a home is among the most stressful things that can happen to a homeowner. In the immediate aftermath, it’s natural to want to get inside and start getting things back to normal right away. However, flooding also means water and electrical components come into contact–a very dangerous mix. It’s crucial to take steps to protect yourself before getting down to business. Keep the following points in mind to stay safe:

  • Don’t enter the home until it’s been disconnected from the grid – Electrocution is still a major risk even when the power is out in a home. All it takes is someone operating a generator nearby and back feeding electricity into a storm-damaged grid. This causes damage to disconnected switches and circuit breakers–the very components that are designed to protect you. To ensure safety, the home’s electrical meter must be removed from the socket, which is a job for a licensed electrician, the fire department or the utility company.
  • Never enter a flooded home alone – Even after the meter has been disconnected, never enter a flooded home by yourself. In such a dark, wet environment, it’s all too easy to get seriously hurt–or even killed. Bring someone along to stand by in case something goes awry, and wear chest waders and a clip-on flashlight for optimal safety.
  • Be cautious with electrical equipment – After things have dried up a bit, you’ll hope against hope that your electrical equipment and appliances still work. Chances are that most won’t. Very few household items are designed to survive even brief submersion. Everything from fuse boxes to fans and blowers are likely to be completely destroyed. The heating and cooling system may be damaged too, and a licensed contractor can tell you for sure. Even when electrical appliances appear to have survived, they are often dangerous to operate, so take care using them as well.
  • Have the grounding and bonding system checked – In addition to the electrical system used for normal operation, a home has a grounding and bonding system that carries currents to the ground if something goes wrong. It is a crucial safety feature, and it should be checked by a licensed electrician right away. If it is damaged enough, it may not function properly and could put your entire family at risk.

As upsetting as a flooded home or basement can be, it can be handled and put behind you. In the meantime, however, make safety a top priority. Fixing things up is important, but avoiding electrocution is even more crucial. When in doubt, always have a licensed professional look things over. With electricity, there aren’t often second chances. As far as your restoration needs go, Paul Davis has you covered in northeast Indiana. Visit our website today to learn more.

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Extreme Weather Damage

When winter weather gets more extreme, so do the consequences of not preparing for the worst. Small issues like an overhanging tree can turn into a tree in the living room after a cold-snap and strong winds. Foundation cracks can turn into foundation failures when exposed to freezing ground-water. Pipes can burst in winter, leaving you without hot water, or causing damaging flooding, which can be incredibly dangerous in cold weather. Regardless what kinds of catastrophes you face, a disaster restoration plan are something that no homeowner should be without. Here are some of the risks that you could encounter and ways to cope effectively.

Don’t believe that Indiana homeowners are at risk of high-water events in the midst of cold weather? Just look back to 2005, when severe winter storms and flooding in the state prompted the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to declare a major disaster that lasted for the entirety of January and much of February. Or consider the fact that the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program says that floods are the number one natural disaster in the country.

With dangers like ice jams that cause rivers to spill over and snow-melt that can overwhelm normal drainage channels, flooding hazards are real. Even if you follow FEMA’s advice by purchasing flood insurance, you’ll need to consult with restoration experts right after your disaster to get the most out of your policy.

Indiana winters can make you think of moving somewhere much warmer, but the frigid cold doesn’t protect your property from blazes. For a variety of reasons, such as increased cooking and heating activities, house fires are more common in winter than at any other time of year.

Fires can be worse in inclement weather because they eradicate your property’s barriers against the outside world. For instance, flames that burn through roofing or exterior walls subsequently allow moisture to get inside and cause additional damage by freezing. Without expert disaster management assistance, repairs may also take longer.

Ice and Snow
Ice storms don’t just cause water to freeze uncomfortably close to your home. While these events can indeed result in the formation of ice dams that tear roof shingles apart or make gutters fall, they can also impact the trees and power lines around your property. When these features collapse, the aftermath may be even more catastrophic.

In some cases, snow buildup itself damages homes. This is especially concerning with older properties that may not be quite as structurally sound as they once were. Heavy snow that causes your roof plane to bend or warp can create weaknesses that worsen with every passing season. No matter how minor the problem seems now, failing to take immediate action is almost certain to cost you down the line.

In winter, rapid emergency restoration needs to be one of your primary concerns. The risks of waiting around after an incident are undeniable, and your real estate’s equity will suffer for every second you delay. To learn more about extreme weather disaster restoration, contact a Paul Davis expert now.

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Fire Restoration Technology Helps Life Get Back To Normal After A Fire

Once you know your loved ones are safe and sound, the first thought likely on your mind after you’ve suffered smoke or fire damage to your home is, “how can life get back to normal?”

In order for this to happen, it can take multiple trips from estimators who spend hours reviewing and documenting every square inch of your home before your insurance company gets involved.

But Paul Davis recently adopted a state-of-the-art piece of technology that speeds up this process: the Matterport Pro 3D Camera.

“We cover such a large territory in the greater Fort Wayne area that we would have our estimators spend eight hours of their day in a car just bouncing between two job sites, depending on the distance,” said Robert Sterling, a project manager/estimator who is spearheading the use of the Matterport Pro 3D Camera at Paul Davis. “The Matterport actually allows us to take the people with the knowledge and put them behind the computer and get them away from their windshields.”

Now, technicians are able to go to each site, set up the Matterport Pro 3D Camera and, in roughly an hour, have an interactive 3D video that documents the entirety of a home or building. This allows estimators to then walk through the home with the click of a mouse and label areas that were damaged by fire or smoke.

An Expedited Process

For Paul Davis, estimations that once took 48 to 72 hours can now be completed in less than a day. Additionally, it minimizes mistakes because now if an estimator wants to double check a measurement or grab a picture of a particular wall, it can be done from their computer screen as opposed to spending hours in the car for a couple minutes of actual work.

Because the Matterport utilizes a 4K camera, there’s almost no pixilation when zooming in on a wall or another damaged portion of the house. This allows the estimator to still get up close and personal with any space.

Better yet, this information can be shared easily.

“I can share the link with you,” Sterling said. “Let's just say you're the insurance adjuster, you pull measurements from that app. Let's say if you wanted to verify a cabinet's linear footage or damage to drywall, but then with everybody working remotely, it's kind of hard to tell a story without sitting there with them.

“With this, you can actually put in notes called Mattertags. I can tell you, ‘hey, go to the living room and click on that Mattertag on the wall. I put in a description of what needs to be done.’ That way you can zoom in on it and all of the information is right there.”

The Matterport software can also develop floor plans in a matter of minutes—a task that once took hours to complete.

Less Person-To-Person Contact During the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought on a number of challenges to United States businesses, which now need to accomplish more tasks than ever while also practicing social distancing. This can be difficult, but with the Matterport 3D Camera, estimators typically only need to spend an hour at your home.

“It allows for fewer people and limited touches,” Sterling said. “The homeowner doesn't necessarily have to be home if they don't want to be. Then instead of having the homeowner, the adjuster and a couple other people on the job site together, you have one person.”

This keeps the homeowner and Paul Davis employees safer and, overall, can help limit the spread of the virus.

In Need of a Fire Restoration Specialist?

The aftermath of a house or building fire is a stressful time. Emergency Services experts like Robert Sterling of Paul Davis of Northeast Indiana will be there for you after a fire to your home or business, helping to restore your property and your life back to normal.

For more information, call 260-436-7510.

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Fire Restoration: How Paul Davis Restores Buildings After Fires

House fires can start in an instant. All it takes is an unattended pot catching fire on the stove, poor interior wiring, malfunctioning electrical equipment or a candle that’s accidentally knocked over.

Thanks in part to modern fire safety technological advancements, less than 2 percent of residential fires result in injuries, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. But in most instances, there may still be significant damage to your home or business. This can include your walls and carpet or various items such as clothing, furniture and electronics.

Even if the actual flames were not significant, smoke can near-ruin almost any item.

“Portions of the property that were not touched by the fire could still be affected by smoke damage,” said Rebecca Serratos, emergency services manager of Paul Davis of Northeast Indiana. “The severity of the smoke damage depends on what burned in the fire, how long it burned, the distance from the source of the fire, and many other factors.”

That’s why, after any fire, you’ll want to contact a fire restoration specialist immediately to begin the process of rehabilitating your home.

First Steps

After you contact a restoration specialist such as Paul Davis, the first thing you’ll be advised to do is to make sure your home is protected from outside elements. For instance, your roof or a hole in an exterior wall may need to be boarded up.

Just be careful to not do anything that might interfere with an ongoing fire investigation. Depending on the extent of the fire damage, you will likely need permission from the fire department to re-enter your home. Ask the department at this time what you can, should or shouldn’t do in your home, such as boarding up windows, and follow their instructions.

It may also be helpful to take both interior and exterior photos of your home to document the damage. From there, a restoration expert will arrive on site as soon as possible.

“When arriving on site, the first thing a restoration expert will do is evaluate the need for emergency services including additional temporary repairs, removal of personal property, and mitigating fire and/or water damage in the property,” Serratos said. “In regards to the home itself and all personal property, the salvageability is determined by the severity of the fire damage and the cost of restoration versus replacement.”

The Restoration Process

Some items are more affected by fire and smoke than others. When it comes to the amount of damage caused, the the origin of the fire matters.

“Fires where natural materials burn are the easiest to clean,” Serratos said. “Most fires are a mix of natural and synthetic materials, such as plastics. These can be more difficult because the soot is oily and smears easily. The most difficult type of smoke damage to remediate is from a protein fire. Protein fires have a strong odor, and they leave behind residues that are challenging to remove.”

Additionally, porous items are more difficult to restore because they more readily absorb smoke and undesirable odors. But even in cases of extreme smoke damage, not all is lost.

“With proper cleaning and deodorization, some items can be salvaged,” Serratos said.

Most items will be restored carefully with various cleaning solutions.

In the end, some items will be damaged beyond repair, but it’s important that property owners do not attempt to determine which of their belongings fall into this category. Leave that to a professional.

“Property owners should refrain from touching items and disposing of personal property until they have spoken with the adjuster and received directions for how to report non-salvageable items to the insurance company,” Serratos said. “I would also recommend that property owners consult with a restoration professional before trying to do any cleaning on their own. If the cleaning is not done properly, it can create more damage.”

In Need of a Fire Restoration Specialist?

The aftermath of a house or building fire is a stressful time. Emergency Services experts like Rebecca Serratos of Paul Davis of Northeast Indiana will be there for you after a fire to your home or business, helping to restore your property and your life back to normal.

For more information, call 260-436-7510 or visit northeast-indiana.pauldavis.com/services/fire-restoration/

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How to Negotiate With Your Insurer After a Fire

Contacting your insurance company is the first major step in fire restoration.

Learning how to negotiate with your insurance company can help you make the fire restoration process a little less stressful.

It may be the last thing you want to do after going through a traumatic house fire, but the sooner you open the lines of communication with your insurer, the faster you’ll get the home you love back in shape. Despite their reputation of being tough and unemotional, most insurance agents are more than happy to help their clients collect the benefits they deserve. They just need your help to do their job quickly and correctly. Here’s how to get the ball rolling in the right direction:

Take a Closer Look at Your Contract

If you’re like most homeowners who suddenly find themselves dealing with unexpected fire damage, chances are that you haven’t reviewed your insurance policy since the day you bought it. Going through it in detail before you call is the best way to up your confidence and put yourself in control of the negotiation process.

Remember to keep a copy in front of you whenever you speak with insurance agents to make sure they’re holding up their end of the deal and that you’re asking for compensation that fits within your contract’s conditions. When emotions are running high, it’s easy to forget that what your insurance agent can do is limited by the terms of your agreement.

Hang on to Damaged Items

In addition to structural fire restoration, insurance policies usually cover the majority of the items that were lost in the flames. Even if they’re beyond repair, holding on to damaged possessions can instantly give you the upper hand throughout the negotiation process.

In general, have a master list of all perished goods ready before the adjuster pulls into your driveway to make sure you don’t leave anything out later on.

Ask for Living Expenses

Depending on your policy, you may be able to get coverage for temporary housing while your home is being repaired. Since reimbursement is usually provided after you make upfront payments, get proof of coverage in advance if your insurance carrier agrees to foot the final bill.

Don’t Give Them a Reason to Say No

Remember that insurance companies have to be selective about which claims they approve to stay in business. Incomplete claims, lack of proof, and coverage limits are a few common reasons why claims get denied. To streamline the process, create a complete file that covers everything related to your claim, including receipts, pictures, records, and damage estimates. For more tips on filling out fire claims, read this report from ABC News.

Need more information about fire restoration in Northeast Indiana? Contact Paul Davis Restoration & Remodeling or head to our homepage for expert advice and local recovery services.

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Step by Step: After the Fire

A house fire causes emotional and physical damage, and the effects can last for years. After the fire, Paul Davis steps in and eases the strain, implementing careful procedures to secure your property and prevent complications in the future. House fires and the process of starting over or rebuilding may seem overwhelming. We’re here to ensure a smooth transition and outline our steps to make everything okay again.

5 Key Steps for Efficient Fire Restoration

  1. Cleaning Visual Damage

A fire leaves its mark and creates widespread damage in a short time. We use environmentally friendly methods to clean up the soot and any residue that is left after a fire. We make sure to remove all traces of damage without using products or methods that could pose a threat to your belongings or family.

  1. Purifying the Air

Smoke sticks to fibers and penetrates porous surfaces long after the fire has been extinguished. We specialize in smoke odor removal and air purification, making sure to extract and remove the smoke from affected areas and locations where the smoke has traveled and settled.

  1. Restoring Personal Items

We take careful inventory of your belongings and household goods before removing them from your home. Once removed, we take care in cleaning and restoring the items before returning them to you.

  1. Removing Water Damage

Firefighters use abundant water to douse the flames. Unfortunately, the water not only causes damage to the fire area but also to unaffected areas. We use industrial-grade water extractors, air movers, dehumidifiers and more to remove standing water and prevent additional damage.

  1. Protecting Against Mold and Mildew

If water steps into wood or fabric, it can promote mold and mildew growth. We use strong disinfectants to clean the water-soaked areas and apply antimicrobial solutions to combat mold and mildew before they sprout and spread throughout your home.

Paul Davis Secures and Restores Your Home

No matter how severe, a house fire doesn’t have to put an end to your happy home. You can start over. Contact Paul Davis to learn more about our fire restoration services. Our experienced and qualified team is here to help you recover, restore and rebuild after a fire.

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Summer Fire Safety For Your Home

Summer is finally here. It’s time to play outside, barbecue in the backyard and chill under warm evening skies. The season comes with its share of routine chores around the house too. As you gear up for lawn mowing and tree trimming, put these home fire safety tips on your must-do list, too.

1. Baby Your Grill – Without regular maintenance, your outdoor cooking station can cause serious fire damage. Keep drip pans and grates free of grease build-up that can turn open flames into dangerous flares. If your setup uses a gas tank, check lines for wear, and make sure connections are tight. Always keep kids and pets a safe distance away from the grilling action.

2. Keep Things Wet – Shrubs that shrivel under the hot summer sun are potential fire hazards. A stray spark from the grill or a carelessly tossed match can ignite flames in a dry backyard. Keep the lawn watered, replant dead areas, and cut back dry brush. Keep an eye on tree branches over your grill too. A flare-up that scorches burgers can also ignite that shady canopy overhead.

3. Keep Extinguishers Handy – When you’re cooking outdoors, always have an extinguisher within reach, and keep another one handy in the kitchen. Check the pressure gauge every month. Replace any extinguisher that shows wear on its hose or nozzle. If your extinguisher is older than 10 years, invest in a new model. It costs far less than addressing water damage and smoke damage to your home after a fire.

4. Play Safely With Fireworks – Fireworks are fun, but they can also be dangerous. Always light them a safe distance from the house, and keep them away from the kids. Don’t try to light up the sky all at once. Proceed with caution, and keep a bucket of water nearby for duds and spent fireworks.

5. Develop a Plan Now – Every home needs a solid fire evacuation plan. Get the family together, and determine multiple escape routes out of the house. Go over evacuation basics that include staying low to the floor to avoid smoke, testing door knobs for heat and using windows for exits if necessary. Identify safe routes out of the backyard too.

We want you to stay safe this summer and enjoy the season. If you’d like more ideas for home fire safety tips, contact Paul Davis today. We offer more than 20 years of professional reconstruction and restoration experience, and we’re here for you 24/7.

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