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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Flood Risks, Property Damage and How to File an Insurance Claim

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) defines a flood as a general and temporary condition where two or more acres of normally dry land or two or more properties are inundated by water or mudflow.

Many conditions can result in a flood: hurricanes, overtopped levees, outdated or clogged drainage systems, and the rapid accumulation of rainfall. Flooding can cause devastating damage to a home or business so it’s important that people understand flood risks in their area, especially since most standard homeowners insurance policies don’t cover it.

People need to understand that just because a flood hasn’t occurred in a particular area in residents’ memory, that doesn't mean it won't occur in the future. Flood risks aren’t just based on history; they are also based on a number of factors, including rainfall, river-flow and tidal-surge, topography, flood-control measures, and changes due to building and development in the area.

Although flooding can happen anywhere, certain areas are especially prone to serious flooding. To help communities understand their risk, Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) have been created to show the locations of high-risk, moderate- to low-risk, and undetermined-risk areas.

1.     In a high-risk area, there is at least a 1 in 4 chance of flooding during a 30-year mortgage. All home and business owners in these areas with mortgages from federally regulated or insured lenders are required to buy flood insurance.

2.    In moderate- to low-risk areas, the risk of being flooded is reduced, but not completely removed. Flood insurance isn't federally required in moderate- to low-risk areas, but it is recommended for all property owners and renters.

3.      In undetermined-risk areas, no flood-hazard analysis has been conducted in these areas, but a flood risk still exists.

“If your home or business is impacted by a flood, you may face more than just damaged building materials and belongings or even structural damage,” said Douglas Waldie, President of Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters, LLC. “Issues ranging from mold, bacteria and viruses to chemical contaminants are common.  Older properties with lead-based paints and asbestos-containing materials are also often a potential hazard during cleanup, demolition and repair activities. These issues make fixing the damage that much more expensive and may be overlooked by insurance companies when a claim is filed. This is just one of the many reasons why people faced with an insured flood claim should look to the expertise of an experienced public adjuster to represent their interests.”

The experts at Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters work solely on the behalf of policyholders to comprehensively document any flood damage and negotiate to have it properly addressed so policyholders receive the full benefits of their insurance policy. They also recently sponsored an educational video about flood risks and property damage that can be seen at:

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Leaking Water Heaters and Filing an Insurance Claim

For many people, so long as there is hot water at the tap they don’t think much about water heater maintenance, preventive care or energy efficiency. However, water heaters do have a finite life span and many older models consume large amounts of energy.  In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, water heating is the second largest energy use in homes, accounting for 17% of residential energy consumption.

To prolong the life of a water heater, sacrificial anodes are located in many models to help protect it from internal corrosion. Over time, these may need to be replaced according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Many plumbers also recommend that hot water heaters are flushed once per year to help remove sediment or rust that may have built up in the unit.

The building science and insurance claims professionals at Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters provide the following tips that a water heater likely needs to be serviced or replaced soon.
·         The unit makes cracking or popping sounds when heating water.
·         Water takes longer to heat or doesn’t get as hot as it used to.
·         Hot water has a metallic taste or visible rust comes from the faucet.
·         Rust is forming on the outside of the heater.
·         The burner units appear rusty or clogged.
·         There is leaking water below the heater.

“It’s important to pay attention to the condition of a water heater because its failure could result in thousands of gallons of water entering a property that could cause tens of thousands of dollars in damages,” said Tom Allen from Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters, LLC. “People faced with property damage should call their insurance company and then a public adjuster to represent their interests in the claims process.  Relying just on the insurance company could result in some damages being overlooked that should have been covered under their policy.”

Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters also recently sponsored an educational video about water heaters and water damage that can be seen at:

Residential and commercial property owners in Arizona, Utah, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey can turn to the insurance claims professionals at Hudson Douglas Public Adjusters for expert help. Their team represents only policyholders to ensure that all damages are recognized, documented and properly handled. 


toll free phone: 800-898-4290

local mesa, az phone: 480-625-3434

fax: 480-656-3501