Recent Storm Damage Posts
Help for Homeowners Without Flood Insurance
There may be FEMA assistance available to you in the event of a major disaster.
Flood Insurance Assistance for Homeowners
The bad news is that your house has flooded in Manhattan, MT. The worse news is that you do not have flood insurance. Fortunately, there is good news. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) coordinates federal support for those involved in a disaster. Learn if you are eligible for assistance and how to take the next steps.
Homeowners or renters must fit all criteria below in order to apply for FEMA assistance. Review the following to see if you qualify:
- A major disaster is federally declared for your state and county.
- The declared disaster-caused damage to your home, personal property or vehicle.
- A member of your household is a US citizen, qualified alien or non-citizen national.
- You are not applying to duplicate homeowners or flood insurance coverage. You must provide proof of insurance benefits.
How To Apply for Assistance
If you meet the eligibility requirements, take these next steps:
- Go to https://www.disasterassistance.gov to complete the application.
- An inspector then calls you to set an appointment to survey the damage.
- If you receive grant money, it does not have to be repaid. However, the money is supplemental in nature and not designed to cover the complete restoration of your property. Rather, it helps you repair your home to a safe, livable condition.
- In addition, to grant money, you can apply for a disaster loan that needs repaid. This allows you to return your home and belongings to preloss condition with the help of a restoration specialist.
If you live in a flood plain in Manhattan, MT, ask your agent about flood insurance. However, whether or not you have this specialized insurance policy, there may be FEMA assistance available to you in the event of a major disaster. If a federal disaster is declared in your county, confirm your eligibility status and follow the above steps to repair or restore your home and personal property.
Essential Tips for Declaring Store Damage on Your Taxes
Storm damage in Alder, MT.
Tips for Declaring Store Damage
Hurricanes pack a major punch, destroying structures with intense winds and flooding. As a result, storm damage adds up quickly as commercial owners in Alder, MT, must face expensive and lengthy repairs. Proprietors may face roof rebuilds, water remediation and complete facility overhauls. Financial help is vital for many to afford these procedures, and a tax break is a welcome option. If you want to declare the loss, consider doing the following four things.
1. Keep Meticulous Records
An itemized tax-deductible list should be provided with your annual filing. Be as thorough as possible. Write out what was harmed, what was thrown out and what you paid to fix. Provide receipts for everything, and then fill out the appropriate forms. Note the name of the object, the original price, and the replacement amount.
2. Check the National Disaster List
Only a federally named disaster is eligible for compensation. Your storm damage must be timed with the occurrence of the weather system. Check the FEMA website to see if your event qualifies. Provide documentation from a storm restoration company that proves your situation coincides with the event.
3. Consider Which Year You Want Payment
You may apply for funds on your previous tax year or the next. It depends on whether you require cash immediately or have the time to wait. If you would like to go back a year, speak with an accountant to filing an amendment.
4. Know Your Numbers
To qualify for payment, you must not have already received full compensation from insurance or another government program. Calculate the difference. Begin by subtracting any reparation already incurred. Then, you must deduct an additional $100 for each storm. Finally, take off 10% of your gross income. Whatever is left could qualify for aid.
Don't let the price tag of storm damage prevent you from success. Seek financial payment through taxes. Gather paperwork that shows the weather event impacted your business and that you still deserve monetary assistance.
The 3 Most Important Parts of a Business Continuity Plan
Business impact analysis.
Important Parts Of A Continuity Plan For A Business
Planning for the unexpected always poses challenges. A plan to resume business as soon as possible after a major storm or an on-site disaster is essential for business owners. Learn more about the three most important parts of a continuity plan for a business operating in Twin Bridges, MT.
1. A Business Impact Analysis
Analyzing business impact is an attempt to account for the effects of a shutdown caused by a disaster or emergency. Closure due to flooding may be a practical scenario for a business located in an area with high flood risk. A BIA should account for the event, its effects on business activity, potential losses, and timeframes for recovery.
2. An Implementation Checklist
In addition to the calculations that inform a continuity plan, it is also important for business owners to make a checklist for implementation. In the event of a disaster, the measures that should be taken may be less obvious than they were while planning ahead for eventualities. A checklist of measures to take for each type of damage along with current contact information for your insurer and preferred restoration service can be helpful.
3. A Recovery Strategy
A business should consider whether it is possible to operate off-site in the event of a fire or localized disaster. Incidents that also affect customers and suppliers such as major storm damage may have a different timeline and set of expectations. It can be helpful to account for as many contingencies as possible, as plans may be useful even if they do not completely predict adverse conditions.
Making a continuity plan grants business owners and stakeholders a good opportunity to assess every element of operations. Calculating the impact that an interruption could have on a business over days or weeks is helpful for obtaining business interruption insurance to offset lost revenue and helping management plan ahead for any eventuality.
3 Reasons You Should Purchase Flood Insurance After a Wildfire
Obtain more information about how flood insurance can help protect your home
Three Reasons To Purchase a Flood Policy
If you have been fortunate enough to make it through a wildfire without significant fire damage to your home, the last thing you want to have to worry about is flood damage. Unfortunately, the aftermath of a wildfire significantly increases the occurrence and severity of flooding in the burned area. These are three reasons you should consider purchasing a flood policy through the FEMA NFIP program after a wildfire.
1. Your Homeowners Policy Probably Excludes Flood Damage
Because the charred ground is unable to absorb much water, even small amounts of rainfall can cause flash floods and mudflows in the area in and around wildfire damage. Most standard homeowners policies do not cover damage caused by flash floods and mudflows. As little as one inch of water in a home can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage. Purchasing flood insurance can help you avoid this potentially devastating financial impact.
2. FEMA Assistance Can Be Difficult To Obtain
FEMA assists some homeowners who experience flood damage who have not purchased a FEMA NFIP policy. However, the amount of assistance available is limited and not everyone qualifies. Additional money is available through loan programs, but that money must be repaid and when you are already dealing with the cost of flood restoration, you may not be able to afford the payments.
3. Insurance Can Save You Money
The cost of your insurance premiums, even in areas at higher risk for flooding, pales in comparison to the cost of repairing flooding damage. Additionally, many flood insurance policies provide reimbursement for costs associated with taking flood prevention measures, such as placing sandbags, which can help you avoid damage.
The FEMA NFIP program exists to help homeowners protect themselves against the severe financial impacts of flood damage. Contact an insurance professional in Adler, MT, to obtain more information about how flood insurance can help protect your home after a wildfire.
What is Business Interruption Insurance?
Business interruption insurance can help your company stay afloat during an expensive rebuild
There are a lot of moving parts to worry about when it comes to purchasing insurance for your company in Adler, MT. One policy that many business owners tend to overlook is business interruption insurance. This type of coverage helps cover your losses while you rebuild after your commercial building suffers massive amounts of property damage.
What Does Business Interruption Insurance Cover?
Business insurance is extremely handy when a covered loss forces your company to close down temporarily. It covers operating expenses such as:
- Relocation costs, if applicable
- Taxes, both monthly and quarterly
- Rent, lease and mortgage payments for your commercial building
- Employee salaries
- Any necessary loan payments
- The revenue you'd normally take in if your business was open
It's important to remember that these types of policies only cover operating expenses. They do not reimburse you for the actual damages, as those are listed under separate policies. Interruption insurance also does not reimburse you for utilities during the rebuild, as there's no reason to have electricity, water or gas running in a building that no one is using.
How Much Does the Insurance Policy Cost?
There are several factors that contribute to how much you'd personally pay for your closed business insurance. These include which industry you work in, the amount of employees you have, your building's location and the amount of coverage you actually want. Buildings that are located in areas that are more prone to natural disasters, such as hurricanes or wildfires, might have to pay more than companies that are located in places that are less danger prone. Talk to your insurance agent to see which types of policies you can acquire and how much you would have to pay for them.
Don't let expensive property damages destroy your company. Business interruption insurance can help your company stay afloat during an expensive rebuild. In the meantime, contact remediation experts for assistance resolving any property damages your commercial building may have suffered.
3 Ways To Prepare for a Major Storm
Close storm shutters to protect your home from broken glass and flying debris
Protect Your Property Against Hurricane Damage
You never know what the weather has in store in Twin Bridges, MT. Unprecedented weather events are happening all over the country. What can you do to keep people safe and protect your property against hurricane damage? Below are a few tips to help you get prepared.
1. Make Emergency Plans
Do you know where you and your family would meet during or after a storm? Creating a hurricane preparedness plan is an important part of storm safety, and it’s easy to do. Determine the safest room in your home to meet (one without windows in best) and make sure you’re able to get community emergency alerts. You can even pack an emergency bag with supplies for each person and pet in the event you’re required to evacuate.
2. Educate Yourself
What are the known risk factors in your area? Do you live in a place prone to major weather events such as tornadoes, hurricanes, or fire? Is the landscape at risk for floods, coastal erosion or hurricane damage? Do some research on the kinds of emergencies your area has had in the past. Wind, fire, and water events can happen almost anywhere, so preparing for these will help keep you safe no matter where you live. It’s a good idea to find the number of an emergency restoration service you can keep on hand if destructive weather occurs.
3. Secure Your Property
If high-speed winds are predicted, you'll need to prepare for emergency property management. If possible, board up windows or close storm shutters to protect your home from broken glass and flying debris. Bring in loose outdoor items like patio furniture, toys, and yard tools. If there’s time, you’ll also want to move cars, boats and recreational vehicles to a safe place.
Preparing for hurricane damage doesn’t have to be overwhelming. By knowing the risks and creating a plan, you can keep your family and property safe until emergency help arrives.
Dealing With Frozen Pipes During the Winter
Frozen pipes can cause water damage to your property
New property owners are sometimes unaware of the full range of hazards a building will be subjected to during its lifetime. Additionally, some business owners assume that commercial properties are more robust than residential ones when it comes to enduring winter weather. Sadly, commercial properties that suffer a burst pipe or other winter weather disaster can sustain serious damage as a consequence.
How Pipe Freezing Causes Damage
Generally speaking, pipes that run throughout a building contain standing water, even when not being used. When pipes run through areas that are not well insulated, or when a building loses power—and heating as a consequence—the water in pipes can freeze, causing significant expansion. The kinds of pipes that are most likely to freeze are:
- Those that run against exterior walls
- Pipes that run through basements or crawlspaces
- Lines that service outdoor amenities, such as swimming pools or sprinklers
How to Prevent a Burst Pipe
Because hoses and lines that run outdoors are particularly vulnerable to weather, you should drain these whenever you are not using them, especially when the weather is cold. Always keep your thermostat at or above 55°F, even when a building is unoccupied. When this is not possible, you should locate any pipes that are not heated properly by the surrounding air during especially cold outdoor conditions. During extreme cold or a power outage, run water slightly to make sure it is in motion, and, therefore, above freezing temperatures. Space heaters or other direct means of heating pipes can significantly improve your chances of preventing a frozen pipe, although you should never use an open flame device to achieve this.
If your Big Sky, MT, business has already suffered a burst pipe, you will want to prevent secondary damage caused by water infiltration. As soon as possible, you should contact an expert experienced in water remediation who can help to salvage your property and valuables.
Is It Safe to Clean Out the Bathtub After a Sewage Backup?
If it’s coming up from the drain in the bathtub, it’s sewage
The last thing you want in your life is a sewer backup inside your home. Part of the invisible infrastructure, your plumbing can occasionally act up, sending you scrambling to look for quick answers.
Sewage is disgusting. Regular storm runoff in Ball Place, MT, may or may not contain sewage, which is defined as water that:
- Comes from a toilet, sink, or your sewer line backing up.
- Mixes with human or animal waste during flooding.
- Contains viruses, bacteria, or other toxic constituents.
How Can Sewage Get Into a Bathtub?
All the wastewater from your toilets and washbasins run into the same sewer line. It’s gravity-fed, meaning that the wastewater’s going to run downhill. When a clog forms, the water is going to flow wherever gravity finds the lowest path.
Another possible problem is a blocked plumbing vent. The air pressure needs to be regulated for the wastewater to flow correctly. When the vent is blocked, you’ll hear frequent gurgling sounds and may see sewer backup in a sink or tub.
How Can You Tell If It’s Sewage?
If it’s coming up from the drain in the bathtub, it’s sewage. Whether or not you see any solids in the water, it’s run in the same pipes and should be considered a biological hazard.
Can You Clean It Up Yourself?
If the amount of the bathtub backup is small, there’s no fecal matter and none of the wastewater gets out of the bathtub, you can clean it up yourself. Wipe down the area using any general detergent. Next, mix about 1 cup of bleach into a gallon of water. Spray or wipe down the entire tub and let it sit for 10 minutes. Careful! Don’t get it on any carpeting, fabrics, or wood – it can stain many items.
If any solids are left in the tub – or if the sewer backup gets out of the tub, you’ll need a professional sewage cleanup company to do the work. They use hospital-grade disinfectants to strip away germs and sanitize fabrics. They’ll also inspect for mold and help you determine if you need to make an insurance claim.
Tips for Safely Returning to Your Home After a Storm
A flooded home in Belgrade, MT
Tips for Safely Returning to Your Home After a Storm
A big storm can cause lots of damage and may even require you to leave your home for a period of time. When you do return, make sure the house is safe for you and your family members. Also, make sure you have contacted your insurance agent to begin work on a flood claim. Upon returning to your home in Belgrade, MT, take the following precautions:
- Look out for structural problems that could result in falling items
- Check for gas leaks and other fire hazards
- Be aware of electrical issues, especially if standing water is present
- Use battery-powered light sources
- Wear strong shoes, gloves, and eye protection
- Watch out for snakes and spiders
All water in your home from a storm or flood could be contaminated. Call a professional storm remediation team to deal with dirty water and cleanup.
The Insurance Claim
If the damage to your home is caused by a storm, your property insurance may cover some expenses and losses. Your insurance agent is the best source of information for what is or is not covered. If you do some work on your home, make sure to document everything with photos and in writing. Do not throw out damaged items, but keep items to verify losses. You may have to sign a proof of loss statement. For a flood claim, if you have flood insurance, you should contact your adjuster as soon as possible. If you do not have flood coverage, you may be eligible to apply for governmental assistance if the area has been declared a disaster area.
The Cleanup and Recovery Process
Water damage to your home caused by a storm or flood should be addressed quickly. A professional cleanup team can remove water, dry out contents, and clean and sanitize surfaces. Restoration of damaged walls, flooring, and electrical systems may be required, too. If you have flood insurance, a flood claim could provide payment for expenses and losses.
Yes, You Can Prepare for Business for High Winds
Prepare for high winds in Bozeman, MT
Yes, You Can Prepare for Business for High Winds
While many people believe water is the ultimate villain of hurricane damage, the real Cruella de Vil is wind. A category 5 storm can go up to speeds of 156 mph, turning even a rock into a serious projectile. For that reason, business owners in Bozeman, MT, should consider how to prepare their property for such an impact, including having the name of a storm remediation team on hand. While you can't completely avoid trouble, you can take steps to mitigate it.
1. Invest in Shutters and Roofing
Small objects picked up by the high winds, easily become hazards, capable of inflicting a great deal of harm. If they penetrate a window or smash into the roofing, they can open holes, allowing moisture to invade the premises. Many contractors sell shutters that can be installed over the frames, adding an extra layer of protection. Rather than shattering glass, it may make a dent or bounce off. If that's not feasible, look into keeping plywood handy. Your roofing should also have strength, so ask an expert to look it over, providing any tips on how to make it better. If anything, consistently repair any weak sections.
2. Remove or Tie Down Belongings
Outside furniture or valuables may look nice during a normal work day; however, it can cause significant hurricane damage. Either have a plan to move it inside at the first sign of a storm, or you can try to bolt it down. Whatever you do, make sure it cannot get off the ground.
3. Trim the Foliage
A third issue is gardening. Trees and bushes make lovely scenery; they do not, though, work well in a severe weather system. Weak roots permit those tall trees to fly, and branches easily break off. Take time to prepare the yard, pruning anything surrounding your area.
Mother Nature is a powerful force. You cannot predict what she'll bring. You can prepare for the hurricane damage she might incur.