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Frozen Pipe Damages

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Frozen Pipe

What’s worse than a major home maintenance disaster? How about several major home maintenance disasters at once? For the quarter-million families who have their homes ruined and their lives disrupted each winter because of frozen water pipes, frigid nights can very quickly turn to ongoing, inconvenient, extremely expensive ordeals.

In cold and warmer climates alike, pipes freeze for a combination of three central reasons: quick drops in temperature, poor insulation, and thermostats set too low. Both plastic and copper pipes can burst when they freeze, and recovering from frozen pipes is not as simple as calling a plumber. A 1/8-inch crack in a pipe can spew up to 250 gallons of water a day, causing flooding, serious structural damage, and the immediate potential for mold.

Broken Pipes

In the United States, frozen pipes cause a huge amount of damage each year; unlike natural disasters, this disaster is largely preventable. By taking a few simple precautions, you can help save yourself the mess, money, and aggravation frozen pipes cause.

When water freezes, it expands. That’s why a can of soda explodes if it’s put into a freezer to chill quickly and forgotten. When water freezes in a pipe, it expands the same way. If it expands enough, the pipe bursts, water escapes and serious damage results.

Broken Pipe

Why Pipes Burst

Surprisingly, ice forming in a pipe does not typically cause a break where the ice blockage occurs. It’s not the radial expansion of ice against the wall of the pipe that causes the break. Rather, following a complete ice blockage in a pipe, continued freezing and expansion inside the pipe causes water pressure to increase downstream — between the ice blockage and a closed faucet at the end. It’s this increase in water pressure that leads to pipe failure. Usually the pipe bursts where little or no ice has formed. Upstream from the ice blockage the water can always retreat back towards its source, so there is no pressure build-up to cause a break. Water has to freeze for ice blockages to occur. Pipes that are adequately protected along their entire length by placement within the building’s insulation, insulation on the pipe itself, or heating, are safe.

If your water pipes have already burst, turn off the water at the main shutoff valve in the house; leave the water faucets turned on. Make sure everyone in your family knows where the water shutoff valve is and how to open and close it. Then call AFTERMATH Public Adjusters right away.  They can get a certified water remediation contractor to your home right away to mitigate and stop further damages as well as clean up and dry out the mess. AFTERMATH will also contact your insurance company on your behalf to make sure a rapid, fair settlement to compensate you for your damages so you can quickly get your home back to it’s pre loss condition.

Scott A. Richter

Aftermath Public Adjusters

 

 

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Preliminary FEMA flood maps for New Jersey reduce high-risk zones

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New preliminary flood maps for Atlantic , Ocean and two northern New Jersey counties drastically reduce the high-risk zones that would have required many homes to be built on piling.
Overall, though, the flood hazard zones are still increasing from what has been in place for decades.
The “velocity,” or V zones – which would have required homes with flood insurance to prepare for 3-foot waves – were reduced by 80 percent in Atlantic County , said Bill McDonnell, FEMA’s hazard mitigation branch director, while Ocean’s V zones were reduced by 45 percent.
Gone are V zones that included large sections of Margate , Ventnor, Atlantic City and Brigantine, as well as sections of Little Egg Harbor, Tuckerton and Long Beach Island .
Preliminary maps for Monmouth and Hudson counties also were released Monday, with other counties, including Cape May and Cumberland , to come in the coming months.
McDonnell said that the state Department of Environmental Protection, which adopted the advisory maps shortly after they were initially released, will now be able to transition to the new preliminary maps because of language in the statute that refers to the “best available data.”
The maps are not yet effective, FEMA officials stressed, and municipalities won’t officially receive the preliminary maps until this summer. Municipalities are also asked to continue to provide information and data for any appeals.
Adoption is expected some time in 2014 or as late as 2015, FEMA said, and Flood Insurance Rate information will also be released soon.
FEMA also reminded residents and homeowners that the overall flood hazard zones will increase from the current, active flood maps, despite the proposed V zones being rolled back.
Many areas currently not in “A” flood zones – in which flooding could be expected during the worst “one percent” of storms, formerly described as the “100-year storm” – will be in flood hazard zones if the maps are adopted. The overall flood hazard zones increased by 6 percent in Ocean County , while exact numbers were not available in Atlantic County .
Homes in the A zone would have a recommendation of base elevations of 9 to 11 feet for homes with flood insurance, which is required for any homes with federally backed mortgages. New Jersey also has a minimum standard of one foot on top of minimum federal requirements, McDonnell said. But unlike in V zones, piling are not required to defend against waves, and building restrictions are not as stringent.
So why were the proposed V zones so much larger than they ended up being?
McDonnell said that FEMA was already in the process of revising its flood maps, many of which had not been changed since the 1980s, when Hurricane Sandy hit in late October. Even though its Overland Wave Analysis Study was not completed, “we provided the state of New Jersey with what we knew.”
That’s why New Jersey was unique in the nation in seeing its Advisory Base Flood Elevation maps – with its preliminary V zones – released so early, McDonnell said in defense of the decision.
“All indications showed that the risk would increased in the state of New Jersey ,” McDonnell said. “The risk was increasing and the elevation rising. If anyone wanted to rebuild during the recovery process, it would have been hard to do so without the advisory elevations and zones. It was prudent on our part to provide what we had to the state of New Jersey .”
The wave analysis study showed that there were more obstructions to waves in the back bays than originally estimated, especially in Atlantic County .
McDonnell advised those who had already built or rebuilt to V standards – and who now find themselves in a proposed A zone – that “they built to the standard recommended at that time, which was based on the best available data. They will have a more resilient structure and see a benefit in insurance premiums as a result of that.”
McDonnell also praised local officials for their input.
“‘Sometimes we had what we refer to as ‘heated discussions’, but all of it was productive,” he said. “Information we were able to exchange with them obviously proved to be (helpful). We do applaud local officials for their engagement.”
McDonnell made sure to add, however, that “We’re not changing the maps because of any political pressure, or any pressure at all.”
Local officials praised both FEMA and the local engineers and zoning officials, including the Downbeach-based Coastal Coalition, who spearheaded the efforts to change the maps.
“The whole town had been under a V zone, and now they rolled it back,” said Little Egg Harbor Assistant Administrator Mike Fromosky, though officials had not thoroughly examined the maps yet. “Just after a cursory inspection, we don’t have any residents in the V zone anymore.”
Brigantine Mayor Phil Guenther said that for residents, “this has been an incredible relief for them, and a reduction of anxiety,” Guenther said. “Those suffering significant damage now have a clear message on how to rebuild.” Guenther said.
The city cautioned those homeowners who were anxious to rebuild that they should wait until these new maps came out, he said, and he now expects an increase building permit requests.
As to those who already put their homes on the pilings required in a V zone, “that was a personal decision they made because they wanted to move as quickly as possible to get into their home,” he said. “But we did counsel people to wait.”
To see the maps
Preliminary maps can be viewed at http://fema.maps.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html?webmap=2f0a884bfb434d76af8c15c26541a545
Residents can search where their property is in the new preliminary flood maps at http://www.region2coastal.com/sandy/table .

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Public Adjuster’s main responsibilities

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Aftermath Public Adjusters“The Public Adjuster‘s main responsibilities are to:

  • Evaluate existing insurance policies to determine what coverage may be applicable to a claim
  • Research, detail, and substantiate damage to buildings and contents and any additional expenses
  • Evaluate business interruption losses and extra expense claims for businesses
  • Determine values for settling covered damages
  • Prepare, document and support the claim on behalf of the insured
  • Negotiate a settlement with the insurance company on behalf of an insured
  • Re-open a claim and negotiate for more money if a discrepancy is found after the claim has been settled

Typically a policyholder hires a Public Adjuster to document and expedite their claims, obtain a more satisfactory claim recovery, more quickly, and completely restore their residence or business operations, and insulate themselves from the stress of engaging in an adversarial role with a large corporation.” (Wikipedia)

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Public Adjuster – Legal

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Aftermath Public AdjustersAftermath’s adjusters are accredited by Vale National Training Center in Residential Building Damage Estimating. Aftermath is licensed and bonded by various departments of insurance throughout several states.Our services are:

  • Claim Appraisal Representation
  • Handling Inspections by the Insurance Company
  • Litigation Support Services
  • Expert Witness
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Fire coverage

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Have you ever really thought about what would happen if you lost your home in a fire?

“It will never happen to me.”
“Gosh, I hope everything is OK.”
“If we get through this, I’ll be more prepared, I promise.”
The first thing you must do is make sure you have adequate insurance coverage.

Causes of loss are the perils of the policy. Fire is a peril. The peril of fire has been defined by the courts as “oxidation sufficiently rapid to cause a flame or glow.”

Friendly fire, which is a deliberately ignited flame or glow that stays within its intended confines, such as fire within a heating, cooking or lighting unit.

Hostile fire is fire that escapes its intended confines. For example, a log rolls out of the fireplace or a hot ash falling from a cigarette.

 Property insurance policies are generally written on a Basic Form, Broad Form or Special Form basis.

The Basic Form – the most limited

The Special Form – the most comprehensive.

The named peril FIRE is covered under all three types of policies.

Named Perils: Basic Broad Special

Fire                     X        X           X

Direct losses are losses that are the direct physical result of an insured peril. Fire (including water to extinguish it) is an example of direct losses. It is the type of loss that has actual physical damage to the property or the actual loss of the property.

Indirect or consequential losses are losses that are the result of a direct loss. For example, if an individual’s home or business was damaged by fire (a direct loss), that individual or business owner would incur the consequential loss of renting another place to reside or conduct business.

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