If you live in Boca Raton knowing how to prepare for a hurricane is a must.

If you live in Boca Raton then hurricane preparedness must be a requirement.  I myself live in Palm Beach County, and I must say, I have been lucky.  We have had some nasty storms that have left floods, wind damage to trees, roofs and other parts of our and our neighbors homes.  As a Public Adjuster in Boca Raton the past storms have kept us busy.  However, a direct hit from a large hurricane has not hit our area in several years.  This doesn’t mean that several hurricanes have not come close.  Several have, and we have had to prepare for potential hurricane damage in Boca Raton several times.  The truth is, South Florida residents never know when a major hurricane will hit.   I remember when we were recently tracking Hurricane Isaias residents were scrambling to get ready for it’s arrival.  People were wondering, will this hit Boca Raton as a category 5?  or will Isaias fizzle out to a category 1, or a tropical storm?  A a resident, of South Florida, you never know.  However, one thing is for sure, if you live in Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Parkland, West Palm Beach, Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, Lake Worth, Fort Lauderdale, Delray Beach, Pompano Beach and you own a home, you should know how to prepare for every hurricane season.

Working as a Public Adjuster in Boca Raton I hear about a wide range to damages that happen as a result of storms and hurricanes. I hope you will find this article helpful before, during and after a hurricane hits Boca Raton.

Recently, I was asked for some tips and information regarding hurricane preparedness.  As a public insurance adjusters, we have seen everything, so we were very happy to offer our advise and knowledge.  In the article below, I’m providing the same helpful information I shared with the publisher.   As a reader, if you find this information helpful, Please share our insights and tips.

Dear publisher, thank you for reaching out to us and requesting information on how to prepare for an approaching hurricane.   As a Boca Raton Public Insurance adjuster we have seen our share of hurricane damaged homes.  Some of the home damage we have seen could have been easily prevented, if only the homeowner was prepared.  Unfortunately other homes never stood a chance, they were going to get damaged no matter what.  It’s heartbreaking seeing a damaged or destroyed home that could have survived easily, if only the homeowner properly prepared.  In addition there is also a safety factor associated with hurricanes.  Often evacuating is the safest choice a Boca Raton resident can make.  For the residents that decide to stay home, preparing properly is the best choice.  It’s our hope that the information included in these notes is put to good use, and helps a homeowner escape hurricane damage and prevents injury.

Since we are based in South Florida, we see a huge amount of hurricane related damage. We also see plenty of storm related damage as well.   Most of the home damage results from broken windows that have not been shuttered properly.  In a hurricane, once a window becomes compromised, there is a very good chance that the entire home will be destroyed.  This is due to the negative air flow which shifts the air pressure inside the home.  If the roof is not bolted on with special hurricane fasteners the roof could detach from the home.    Using hurricane shutters is the best way to protect your home from hurricane damage.

Roof damage in Palm Beach County
Before a hurricane it’s important to protect your windows, and have roof bolts installed.

Most of the new homes in our area include metal bolt on hurricane shutters.   The problem with the bolt on shutters, is the fact that they could be dangerous to install, especially if there is any wind.  Because metal hurricane shutters are thin metal with sharp edges, there is a huge risk of getting cut while installing them or removing them.   The other problem with bolt on hurricane shutters is that they need to be installed before the hurricane gets close, and removed soon after the hurricane passes.  In addition, homeowners spend hours installing metal bolt on shutters, only to find that the hurricane either steered away, or died down to nothing before hitting the coast.  Given that these shutters must be taken up and taken down whenever a hurricane approaches they are a short-term solution.  Having installed hurricane shutters often, we have found that as  they get installed and removed with every approaching hurricane, the screws get bent and striped. Homeowners are faced an extra level if stress, just thinking about putting up those metal bolt on shutters.  When a homeowner calls a Boca Raton public adjuster after a hurricane it’s sometimes the result of the homeowner failing to install shutters correctly.  My advise, is if you live in South Florida, spend the money on slider shutters or hurricane glass.  Hurricane shutter injuries

I can tell you from experience, installing hurricane shutters in a major PIA.  In Boca Raton there is a large population of senior citizens.  Most people over 65 are not prepared to climb a ladder, with a metal sharp edged panel in hand.   Installing slider hurricane shutters or hurricane glass is a great idea.

Installing metal bolt on hurricane shutters in Palm Beach County
Installing bolt on hurricane shutters is labor intensive and must be done before an approaching hurricane gets too close. Once hurricane generated wind takes effect installing metal shutters becomes a dangerous task.

A better option that is longer term,  is slider hurricane shutters.  These shutters are installed on tracks along the sides of the windows, when a hurricane heads toward your home, the sliders could be quickly slid closed..  Opening them is just a matter of sliding them open after the threat is gone.  Slider hurricane shutters cost more money, but they are safer and easier to open and close.  In Palm Beach County, there are plenty of companies that specialize in the installation of slider type shutters.  The fact that you can easily slide them closed and then slide them open makes them an excellent choice.  There is also no reason the stand on a ladder with slider shutters.  Homeowners can open and close them from inside their home.  Eliminating the need to stand on a ladder while holding a metal shutter is much safer.

Hurricane shutters in a Boca Raton home.
Slider hurricane shutters like the one pictured above are much safer to install than hurricane shutters that need to be bolted into a home’s window frame.   Once installed the shutter slides open and closed along this special track that is mounted into the window frame.

The longest-term and best solution, is hurricane glass.  Hurricane glass replaces the home windows with a special glass that won’t break leaving the home compromised when hit by a piece of debris.  The best aspect of hurricane glass is that, the homeowner doesn’t need to do anything if a hurricane approaches.  In addition your Boca Raton home will look like any other home without an of those ugly shutters.  I actually spoke with a Boca Raton fire fighter who told me his home has hurricane glass, for the simple fact that, when he is on call, there is no time to install any type of hurricane shutter.  With hurricane glass, a homeowner could just lock the door and leave.   One of the downsides of hurricane glass, is the fact that it will still crack if hit by flying debris.   We wrote a complete article on protecting your home from hurricane damage.  You can read the article using this link.  Protecting you home from a storm.

After the hurricane leaves town.

Once the hurricane has passed, your Boca Raton neighborhood usually sits in an unusually quite and calm eerie state.  At one point your were held up in your home.  If you had the hurricane shutters up, everything was dark, because the power was most likely out, and you heard the sound of very violent winds, maybe even some crashes, blowing outdoors.  Often, then the hurricane passes; the outdoor noise suddenly turns into silence.    Venturing out doors, homeowners and residents, get to see the damage.  There are trees down, roofing shingles, some floodwater, and other pieces of debris scattered everyplace.  If your home wasn’t hit too hard, you home may look ok. However, this may not be the case.  A word of caution, When walking around outdoors after a hurricane, it’s important to watch for serious hazards, such as downed power lines, broken glass, pay attention to smells, such as escaping gas from a broken pipe.  Try not to step in puddles.  If a downed power line falls in a certain spot a short distance away, and a connection is made close to a puddle, you can be electrocuted, if you step into that puddle.   Don’t believe me, check out this news story about a firefighter who died while clearing hurricane debris.,Firefighter dies while clearing hurricane debris.  Here is another story about how hurricane shutters can keep the fire department from doing their job. Home fires and hurricane shutters.

After a storm check for live wires, broken glass, gas leaks
After the hurricane leaves follow these tips from a Boca Raton public adjuster

As soon as possible, a homeowner should check the roof for any damage and leaks.  By checking inside the attic an inspector could find water leaking through the roof.  Roof leaks that create slight water intrusion could easily go unnoticed, these leaks and the stagnant water, often starts the growth of mold.  It’s important to remember, mold is a living organism, it eats the sugar contained in the structural parts of your home.  As the mold grows removing it becomes more difficult because, the mold will fight for survival. Any broken roof tiles should be replaced, as soon as possible.  If you have a broken roof tile and a hurricane hits, the wind will get under that tile, lift it off the roof, and send it flying.  Once one roof tile flies off the ones next to it will most likely follow. If you suspect your home’s roof has taken a hit from a tree branch, neighbors roof tile, piece of gardening equipment or other times you should call a Boca Raton Public Adjuster in your area.

Smell for gas leaks, leaking gas could build and one tiny spark can cause a huge explosion.

Remove debris from your homes gutters.  A clogged gutter usually creates a wide range of problems. These problems include, home foundation problems, leaks to walls and ceilings and in some cases, (Remember, leaks can lead to mold.

Last, after a hurricane the shutters must be taken down.  In most gated communities with a HOA the require shutter removal within three days.   After a hurricane, the amount of people injured by hurricane shutter removal skyrockets.  Injuries removing hurricane shutters include, major lacerations, and people falling off ladders.  Finally, there have been a number of fire related deaths resulting from hurricane shutters covering the windows after a hurricane.  In some cases, the homeowner can’t escape the burning home during a fire. In other hurricane shutter related deaths, the fire department, can’t get into a burning home, unless that saw the hurricane shutter off.

Now that hurricane season is over, its a great time to install hurricane glass or  slider hurricane shutters.

12-2020 Well we are now into December, well past hurricane season.  This is a really great time to start thinking about adding hurricane slider shutters if you don’t have them.   It’s now hurricane shutter and impact glass sale time, because hurricane season has passed many hurricane shutter installation companies are offering special discounts.  As I mentioned above, Boca Raton is the home of may senior citizens who have no interest in installing metal hurricane panels themselves.  This is the best time to call a hurricane shutter company in Boca Raton.   Waiting until the last minute to install your slider hurricane shutters or hurricane glass is not best idea.  As a Boca Raton Public Adjuster who has seen our fair share of home damage, we recommend having them installed in the non-hurricane season.  Another thing to consider is installing a back up power generator.  Once a hurricane shutter hits Boca Raton, most residents loose power.  This means that your homes air conditioner will also stop working.  Remember, hurricane season in South Florida happens in the summer.  Without air-conditioning, its going to get very hot.

We handle more than just storm and hurricane damage in Boca Raton.

We also cover all other areas of Palm Beach, Martin and Broward counties.

Boca Raton Public Adjuster Property Damage

At Fox Public Adjusters we handle much more than just Boca Raton home damage from storms and hurricanes. We often respond to homeowners who have had other types of insurance claims denied.    Usually it’s  water damage as a result of plumbing pipes or malfunctioning appliances that leaked water and caused flood damage.  Many of the homeowners who call us have had their claims denied by their insurance company because the company says the damage happened after the claim was settled.

When this happens it’s important to have your home re-inspected by our insurance damage experts.  Most of the time we find that the insurance company missed the really bad damage and only handled the visible damage.  Often insurance companies operate with the mindset of, if you can’t see the damage with your eyes, then the damage is not there.  This attitude saves the insurance company lot’s of money    Most of the Boca Raton home damage we detect is hidden under floors, behind walls or in a homes attic.  Check out these two pictures taken with a normal camera and our imaging camera.  To the naked eye, the wall looks normal, however when we take the same picture with our infrared imaging camera, you could clearly see water damage is present.

Boca Raton Water Damage

Working as a Boca Raton Public Adjuster we see this all the time.  A home plumbing system starts leaking behind a wall due to a poor weld, or an appliance hose leaks.  The water floods part of the home, resulting in a call to the homeowners insurance company.  The insurance company adjuster visits the home and determines that the water needs to be removed and the area dried.

Did you know that many insurance companies have agreements with preferred service providers?  This often means that the preferred provider has a negotiated cap regarding what they can charge the insurance company for a particular job.  This often results in a job that is only partly finished.  For example, the preferred water damage company may use suction equipment to remove the water, then they often place commercial air movers around the area to get extra airflow traveling through the room.  If they are really ambitious they may use a dehumidifier to try and remove moisture from the air.   The problem with this type of limited water damage restoration is that once the preferred service provider says, job finished, and they make the homeowner sign a clean up complete form.  The water or moisture is still sitting behind the wall, appliance.  This water will soon start the mold growing process.  Did you know that it only takes 24 to 48 hours for mold to start growing?  One the process of mold growth starts, removing the mold becomes a very difficult process.   Mold thrives in dark moist places, and if you can’t see it the mold will continue to grow.  The only way to remove the mold is to get to it, which means remove the appliance and in many cases the drywall.

Moisture test meter used in a Boca Raton home.

As a Boca Raton public adjuster I sometimes get calls simply because the homeowner senses their home is musty or has an odd smell.  Many people describe the smell of mold as wet socks, or rotten wood.  Sometimes the occupants don’t smell anything.  Eventually they start to become sick or find themselves with symptoms such as watery eyes, unexplained rashes, coughs, sneezing and a wide range of other symptoms.   Because these symptoms are common and related to a wide range of other illnesses, pinpointing the mold of the source is often difficult.  In many cases the discovery of mold is accidental.   For example, if kitchen fixture such as a cabinet warps and needs to be replaced the mold is found hiding behind.  Once the mold is removed and the source of the moisture has been removed the occupants start to see their mold related symptoms disappear.   Check out this true story of a condo occupant who became deathly ill as a result of hidden mold.   A true story about mold sickness.

Stories like this are common because the symptoms of mold poisoning are so closely related to a wide range of other illnesses.  Most of the time the home occupant can’t imagine mold is the reason they feel sick.  This is why it’s critical to always be on to lookout for potential mold situations.  For example, if your carpet always feels damp, don’t simply sprinkle baking soda on the carpet and leave it at that.  There is always a reason why your carpet is damp.  Working at a Boca Raton public adjuster we have spoken to many people who have simply said, well it’s humid here, so of course the carpet is damp.  This may be correct,  however a damp carpet will likely start mold growing.  Maybe this means you should add a dehumidifier to your room, maybe your air-conditioning unit is leaking and needs to be checked.  Situations like this require further investigation and possibly some helpful equipment.  It may be only a ceiling fan is needed, or additional ventilation.  In any case you should not try to cover up the smell.  You need to get to the source of the problem.  For more on musty smelling rooms read The science of keeping your room smelling fresh.

 How can you tell if your Boca Raton public adjuster is one to avoid.

Having been a public adjuster in Boca Raton since 1993 it’s safe to say we are very experienced.  In addition we have worked as a construction contractors as well as an insurance agent.   Like any industry there are always now people starting businesses.  Some have experience working for other public adjuster, some may have relocated from other towns, and others are just starting out with little or no experience.  As a homeowner facing a home damage situation, it’s always best to hire a public adjuster who has the most experience.   How can you tell the really experienced public adjusters from the newbie?   Below are some tips to help you avoid hiring an inexperienced public adjuster or one that is simply unethical.

Boca Raton Public Adjuster storm damage
When your home suffered damage as a result of a storm or hurricane only hire a licensed professional

Don’t hire a contractor who does not have a Florida mold assessor license and a home inspector license.  Many roofers or general contractors will tell homeowners, yea I also do mold.  It’s always in the homeowner’s best interest to look them up to make sure.  Our mold license # is Florida License # W086764 If your public adjuster can’t produce a license number do not hire them.  

A public adjuster must visit your home and test for mold.  It’s not appropriate for an public adjuster in Boca Raton or any other part of South Florida to tell you there is a mold problem over the phone or at your home with out running a test.  While it’s true that we have developed a sense of smell for mold spores and we can visually tell you if there is mold, we always use test equipment to confirm our findings.  In addition we will retest for mold spores once our work is complete.

You should never accept a price quote over the phone, or a simple one-line quote.  If you receive a mold removal or water damage removal quote that just says, “Mold clean up or mold removal” without a detailed breakdown of the work call another public adjuster or water damage expert.

Another reason why you should expect a detailed quote is unforeseen issues that may present themselves during the clean up or repair work begins.  Having a detailed written estimate and price or insurance claim that outlines the damage situation is critical and must be done. Receiving a detailed estimate and contract protects everyone involved.

There are two main reasons why you need to have your home personally inspected for mold or water damage.  Any reputable water damage or mold removal contractor must identify the source of the damage and how to prevent future problems.   As a public adjuster we not only look at the water damage, but also determine how the water damage started and how can it be prevented.  In addition water loves to travel.  Water damage in one part of a home could easily find it’s way to other parts of the home.

Second, how can a public adjuster price quote be provided without an actually visiting a damaged home?  The only way to determine the full extent of the damage is to inspect the entire area and considers the water flow pattern.   There is no reason why a homeowner should not expect a home damage inspection.  Our home damage inspections are free.  If your home suffered damage from a hurricane, storm, broken pipe or appliance, call us at (561) 789-4369   Are service all of South Florida including Palm Beach County, Martin County, and Broward Counties.  While this article is aimed at Boca Raton, we also inspect homes in West Palm Beach, Jupiter, Palm Beach Gardens, Lake Worth, Boynton Beach, Delray Beach, Pompano Beach, and Fort Lauderdale & Wellington.

Never fall for high-pressure sales tactics.

Dealing with home damage could be an upsetting and very scary situation. With this said.  If your home has suffered water damage from a damaged roof, or from any other situation and you suspect you have mold as well and make sure you get all the information needed in order to make the best sound decision.  If you find that you are pressured into making a quick on the spot decision, step back and take the time to think before hiring a contractor or accepting an insurance companies preferred service contractor.

How does a public adjuster work and should I hire a public adjuster if I’m in Boca Raton?

Unlike an insurance company adjuster a public adjuster works on a different scale.  Your typical insurance adjuster is paid by your insurance company.  Actually, most are insurance company employees.  This means that the job of a insurance adjuster is to inspect your home and report the damage needed for repairs.  Because the insurance company needs to make a profit, and sometimes pay a dividend to it’s shareholders keeping the settlement amount to a minimum is in the best interest of the company.  I recently wrote an article on the profits insurance companies make.  You can read it here: Public Adjuster information and insurance company revenue.   Once you read this you will realize the huge profits many insurance companies make. If you do an internet search for the best dividend paying stocks, you will learn that many insurance companies pay their shareholders good money just for holding their stock.

Now, lets consider the public adjuster.  A public adjuster gets paid by the insurance company as well.  However, any public adjuster, whether in Boca Raton or in any other part of South Florida received a portion of the settlement.  Not a huge portion, in Florida the amount is 20%  However, if the home damage is in an area that has been declared an emergency by the governor the fee is reduced to 10%.   After reading this you may think.  Why would I want to give part of my settlement to a public adjuster?  Well there are plenty of reasons.

Number one,  It’s most likely that you will receive a much larger settlement with a public adjuster.  Don’t take my word for it, read these articles. Check out this settlement chart.  Rest this one.  Once you look at the statistics you will realize just more much more money you receive with a public adjuster in your corner.

Number two, If your insurance agent doesn’t see the damage, it must not exist.  Often the home damage is hidden within the walls or attic of a water damaged home.  In the case of mold damage, it’s often hidden.  Look at the photo below and you will see how the mold is hidden behind the kitchen cabinets in this Boca Raton home.

Boca Raton Mold Growing
Imagine, how dark this area under a kitchen sink would appear. In this case enough moisture was present for mold to grow. Sometimes a preferred contractor will remove the water damage and leave just enough water for the mold to grow. Ugly isn’t it. Not only does it not look good, the mold spores can cause a wide range of health issues.  For the public adjuster, it makes sense that tracking down this hidden damage is worth the effort.  

Number three, The public adjuster is on side of the homeowner and not the insurance company.  Wouldn’t you feel better knowing that your insurance adjuster is working for you?

There are many Boca Raton Public Adjusters, however not to many that have the experience and skills that we have at Fox Public Adjusters.  Many years before we started our public adjusting company we were home contractor experienced in home construction.  This means that unlike other insurance adjusters, we know how homes are constructed and how storms and hurricanes can damage a home.  Many insurance agents only see the visible home damage.  However, given our extensive experience we can also determine how some storm damage in one part of your home can effect other parts of your home.   When it comes to hurricane damage, flood damage, mold problems we could help homeowners get the insurance settlement they deserve.

 

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *