Water Damage Side Effects More Than Just Property Damage

Water damage affects many each year and the cause of origin can be any number of things you can imagine.  Did you know that on average at least $12 million of water damage is the cause of headache and loss in California each year? Some of the most common causes are broken or frozen pipes, heavy rain and believe it or not, sprinkler systems! When this happens depending on the humidity and present weather conditions, mold can start growing in as quickly as 24-48 hours.  Mold will spread fast and cover areas thoroughly and extensively.

Seemingly small areas can appear easy to fix but there should be no delay in action of this process as there are many more dangers that should be considered.

Why does mold grow so fast, especially indoors? The reason is that elements such as wet wood and drywall, for instance, encourage growth of mold in humid environments.  Water and heat creates this humid environment making it a breeding ground for mold.

Once mold has grown in an area that has been damaged by water, it can cause various illnesses and unwanted symptoms, especially in susceptible individuals with lowered immune systems. Mold also attracts various insects such as dust mites that also thrive in these areas. Some of the health problems that are caused can be the direct attack mold launches on your immune system.  Dr. John T. Chiu of the Allergy Medical Group, Inc. outlines the dangers and effects that mold can have on his site here.  Dr. Chiu is an allergy expert and his expert testimony has been used in various legal matters concerning mold and the body’s reaction to mold.  Mold is a volatile organic compound that can irritate the respiratory system and entire immune system at various levels.  For many others, symptoms remain unknown.  He says that the prime reason for mold’s ability to inhabit the body as it does is due to the microbial nature of the bacteria strain.

“Genetically susceptible people often develop allergic reactions to these agents. The most frequently detected molds in these structures are Aspergillus, Penicillium, and Stachybotrys, but elevated spore counts of other mold species are often detected as well. Such measurements can be obtained through an environmental assessment firm usually headed by an industrial hygienist or a Ph.D. in microbiology.”

“Diseases such as bronchial asthma, allergic rhinitis, allergic conjunctivitis, and occasionally hives (urticaria) are usually the consequence of allergic sensitization to the molds detected and/or house dust mite droppings.”

Please be careful when dealing with wet environments and do not deal with any mold you may encounter directly.  If you suspect mold please call a professional immediately. Public adjusters or Insurance Claims Adjuster can help you recover damages from water damaged areas in your home or building and coordinate restoration services so that your area can be cleaned and restored to proper conditions.

Filing A Property Damage Claim

Public Adjuster Image

Do you have property damageBusiness property damage, commercial property damage, industrial property damage, and even home property damage is something no one or corporation is ever totally exempt from.  Natural disasters happen. Things eventually wear out and break down over time.  Vandalism and theft happens.  This is one of the many reasons property owners and homeowners purchase insurance.

If your home, business or industrial property has been affected by property damage or especially  water damage, many try to sort through all of the confusion themselves often settling for less without knowing there is someone to help.  If you have found yourself in a situation where you have sustained damage to your property, a Public Adjuster is the first person you need to speak with.  Why?

First, let’s go over some of what is involved when damages occur.  You will need to contact an emergency contractor.  Before the contractor arrives you will need to take lots of pictures and give an extensive account of all details you observe from the damage, so write everything down!

You will need to go back over your insurance policy to ascertain what is and is not covered.  Some types of property damage is not covered by all insurance so you will need to make sure of which policy covers the specific damages you have sustained, and proceed according to the proper contact(s).  It is not uncommon for some types of insurance to require a rider.

Next you will have to make many phone calls and in many cases wait on hold for an extended amount of time, deal with voicemails, no call backs, and run arounds to name a few.  Also, be expected to receive low-ball offers from the insurance company once the claim is filed and processed.  Be wary of these.  Many will offer you a partial check that states in legal terms that by expecting the low payment that you are agreeing to payment in full by cashing that check, so be careful!  However, there is no need become any more frazzled then you may already be from the damage.  A Public Adjuster will not only file your claim, get processing underway, but also assist in coordinating any contractors that need to be involved as well as other aspects of your case.  This is our specialty. We will advise you on all aspects of your damages and claim. We work hard to not only get you a quick payment, but on average it is much higher than anything the policyholder would receive on their own.

Here at Priority Adjusters, we have the experience and education in dealing with insurance so there are no missteps.  We are  highly trained  as to how to report claims so that it gets open and filed right away.  A Public Adjuster does not get paid until you do, so there is no reason not to give us a call.  For more info you may contact us here.

Water Damage Insurance Claims

Water Damage Insurance Hotline:
800-602-9915

Hi, I’m John Morgenstern, President of Priority Adjusters, the premier Public Adjuster in California. You know, Water Damage is one of the most common claims on homeowner’s policies. Almost every day we get questions from clients like:

“John, I guess the cold water hose to my washing machine broke and water ran all through the laundry room and out into the hall. Will my insurance company blame me for not replacing the hose periodically?”

“John, our city sewer backed-up! It’s a mess. Do I contact the city or contact my insurance company to pay for the clean-up?”

“John, my roof leaked during yesterday’s storm. The wall by the fireplace is soaked? Should I call a contractor? Do I need to call my insurance company first? Will they call the contractor?”

My advice? – be careful how you report water damage to your insurer. While you must be truthful, of course, make sure you explain the situation with the right language. For example, don’t use the word “flood”. That may not be covered at all, while Water Damage from a sewer line or from a leaking pipe may be covered”.

You should call me right away to get help notifying your insurer and filing your claim…and for help using the correct terms to assure coverage is not limited or delayed.

Water Damage Insurance Hotline:
800-602-9915

Water and Flood Damage Claims

by John Morgenstern

Just last week I wrote about water damage and mentioned that actual flooding damage won’t be covered unless you have flood insurance. Wow – lots of feedback requesting further information! I hope this helps.

Homeowners and commercial property owners in flood plains are keenly aware of the need to purchase insurance to cover flood-related losses. The federal government, in conjunction with the insurance industry and local communities, formed the National Flood Insurance Program in 1968. This program makes flood coverage available nationwide.

Nearly twenty-five percent of flood insurance claims come from parts of the country that the NFIP considers low to moderate flood risk. NFIP reports that recent year average flood claims have been $24K per household. Often, for homes in moderate to high risk areas, lenders mandate the coverage. Don’t bank on disaster assistance from the feds. The federal government only provides it if the President declares a disaster. And, that assistance is loans, not grants.

To be eligible for flood insurance, you must live in a community that participates in the NFIP. In return, communities implement floodplain management specifications that minimize losses from floods. Determine if your CA community participates at FEMA’s Website. The policy is subsidized and administered by the federal government but you purchase it through regular insurance companies.

Costs – Flooding is currently in the news in Minnesota and Wisconsin. A quick check of rates there shows that homeowners in Stillwater, MN (on the WI border and on the scenic St. Croix River) pay over $100 per month for coverage, while a homeowner in Anaheim, CA may only spend $150 per year.

Limitations on coverage are about $500,000 for commercial property and about $350,000 for homes (including damage to contents).

Be cautious. You must know the definition of a flood before you purchase a policy! For example, damage from heavy rains may not qualify. The definition of “flood” used in the coverage is – a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area or of two or more properties (at least one of which is the policyholder’s property) from 1) overflow of inland or tidal waters, 2) unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source, 3) mudflow or 4) collapse of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels.

Myths and Misconceptions abound. For some reason there are lots of misconceptions about flood insurance. The truth is that you can get coverage

1. Nationwide

2. Flood plain or not

3. In spite of the fact that your property may have flooded in the recent past

4. Through your existing Agent/Company (likely)

I hope this helps you understand a little more about water damage from floods. Please visit our Water Damage Insurance Claims page for additional information and resources.

Water Damage Insurance Tips

Be careful how you report water damage to your insurance company. While you must  be truthful, make sure you explain the situation using the most accurate language — or you could find your claim denied.

“The way you initiate your claim may impact the settlement, especially in water damage cases” says John Morgenstern, President of Priority Adjusters.”

“Most people describe a house full of water as “flooded”, right? Well, if it’s not the result of a “flood” you don’t want to use that term with your insurance company! Believe, me!”

A “flood” may not be covered at all, while your damage from a backed-up sewer line or from a burst pipe may be fully covered”. To your insurance company, flooding means that the water came from an overflow of a lake, stream, or river. If it didn’t, don’t even use the word “flood,” says John.

Best advice is to call an adjuster right away to get help filing the claim…and using the terms that are correct to assure your coverage is not limited.

Frequent Questions

What in the world are Public Adjusters ?!?

(Answers to that and other frequently asked questions!)

A brief introduction:

Hi, my name is John Morgenstern, Southern California’s premier Public Insurance Adjuster.

Best case scenario, most people go through their entire life without a catastrophic event. So I urge you not to feel embarrassed if you have only a vague idea how I help folks like you. You may simply know (or suspect) a fair settlement isn’t going to arrive in your mailbox courtesy of your insurance company. That’s not merely a hunch. It’s basically an ‘open secret’ in the industry.

As Southern California’s premier claims adjuster my single-minded goal is to right that wrong and put more money in your pocket. My settlements are routinely 35% (and as much as 300%) higher than the ‘full and fair’ offer the insurance company.

Please enjoy the information I’ve provided below. I believe an educated and savvy property owner is Big Insurance’s worst nightmare.

This is my field of expertise and it would be my honor to advocate on your behalf. When you are ready, pick up the phone and call me so we can talk about the specifics of your situation – absolutely no cost or obligation! Call me now at 800-602-9915 (24/7). If possible I’ll take your call myself. Call now.

Your ‘Top Gun’ Public Insurance Adjuster,

California Public Adjuster

John Morgenstern
Because you deserve more…

Call me now at 800-602-9915 (24/7)


Frequently Answered Questions!

Q: What on earth is a public adjuster?!?

Great question. The truth is most people have never heard of my occupation. That’s a good thing if it means you have not suffered a loss. Sadly, many people who could benefit never learn about our services. How would they? Big Insurance sure isn’t going to tell them (or you)!

Simply put, my job is to help folks like you – property owners. My expertise is in putting an accurate dollar value on your property loss. I work for you, only. I have zero ties with Big Insurance. I fight for you.

Your insurance company pays another adjuster to work on its behalf – these are called insurance adjusters or ‘independent’ adjusters (misleading, to say the least). So called independent adjusters and insurance adjusters are paid by insurance companies. Perhaps worse, many are unlicensed and inexperienced. Their job is justify
the smallest possible settlement for you.

I am a State licensed professional Public Adjuster. I have logged more than 20,000 hours negotiating with Big Insurance. My expertise is determining how much you rightfully deserve. I achieve an accurate settlement by comprehensively documenting your claim, aided by experts in construction, labor and law.

You probably have enough to deal with right now. Part of my job includes the preparation of building damage assessment reports, creating estimates, building inventory lists and documenting your other losses. I handle all the tedious tasks of compiling and filing claims – as required by your insurance policies. The same is
true for all negotiations with your insurance company, consider it done.

I hope this information has been helpful. I look forward to discussing the specifics of your situation – no obligation or cost. With so much at stake I urge you to call me now at 310-890-8224 (24/7). If possible, I’ll answer your call myself.

Your ‘Top Gun’ Public Insurance Adjuster,

California Public Adjuster

John Morgenstern
Because you deserve more…

Call me now at 800-602-9915 (24/7)


Q: Are you affiliated with insurance companies?

No. Absolutely not.

I work solely for homeowners like you. Isn’t that the least you deserve? I think so.

I hope this information has been helpful. I look forward to discussing the specifics of your situation – no obligation or cost. With so much at stake I urge you to call me now at 310-937-5126 (24/7). If possible, I’ll answer your call myself.

Your ‘Top Gun’ Public Insurance Adjuster,

California Public Adjuster

John Morgenstern
Because you deserve more…

Call now at 800-602-9915 (24/7)


Q: What can you accomplish on my behalf?

Thanks for asking! Just a guess, but I’ll bet you probably have enough to deal with right now.

Part of my job includes the preparation of building damage assessment reports, creating estimates, building inventory lists and documenting your other losses. I handle all the tedious tasks of compiling and filing claims – as required by your insurance policies. The same is true for all negotiations with your insurance company, consider it done.

I hope this information has been helpful. I look forward to discussing the specifics of your situation – no obligation or cost. With so much at stake I urge you to Call me now at 310-937-5126 (24/7). If possible, I’ll answer your call myself.

Your ‘Top Gun’ Public Insurance Adjuster,

California Public Adjuster

John Morgenstern
Because you deserve more…

Call me now at 800-602-9915 (24/7)


Q: My insurance company adjuster told me he is independent. Is that like you, John?

No. Absolutely not. And I appreciate you bringing this up because it is a constant source of confusion. An Independent Adjuster is NOT a Public Adjuster. The term ‘independent’ simply means they are freelance adjusters (as opposed to salaried). The ‘independent’ adjuster is employed by your insurance. His livelihood depends on an ongoing stream of business from Big Insurance companies, like yours. His loyalties are – at best – divided.

I work solely for homeowners like you. Isn’t that the least you deserve? I think so.

I hope this information has been helpful. I look forward to discussing the specifics of your situation – no obligation or cost. With so much at stake I urge you to call me now at 310-937-5126 (24/7). If possible, I’ll answer your call myself.

Your ‘Top Gun’ Public Insurance Adjuster,

California Public Adjuster

John Morgenstern
Because you deserve more…

Call me now at 800-602-9915 (24/7)


Q: Couldn’t I just negotiate a settlement myself?

Of course. You could certainly spend your time calling contractors for double and triple opinions. You could also simply accept the insurance settlement.

The problem with that approach is too often non-professionals are limited to a defensive posture. That is to say my work involves much more than simply asking for money than you are offered. On the contrary, property owners need an offensive comprehensive approach, for any hope to negotiate the fair settlement. A simple example would be fire, smoke or water damage. Insurance will often pay for repairs – and you could spend your time arguing over the quality of materials. But as an experienced professional I know the repair is often of secondary importance. Of critical importance is understanding and anticipating the long term issues – mold, structural integrity, moisture and irritating smells that can linger for the life of the property. Believe me, 5-years from now you do not want to be forced to demolish the ‘fix’ you settled for today.

My experience helps folks like you get your life back 100%. It makes sense that my daily experience handling, preparing and negotiating claims would result in a higher settlement for you.

I hope this information has been helpful. I look forward to discussing the specifics of your situation – no obligation or cost. With so much at stake I urge you to Call me now at 310-937-5126 (24/7). If possible, I’ll answer your call myself.

Your ‘Top Gun’ Public Insurance Adjuster,

California Public Adjuster

John Morgenstern
Because you deserve more…

Call me now at 800-602-9915 (24/7)


Q: What about my insurance agent or broker? Shouldn’t this be his job?

No. But it is a common misconception that an agent/broker has expertise in determining value of lost or damaged property. The insurance agent/broker has expertise in sales. Adjusting claims is simply not part of your agent/broker’s job. It’s unreasonable to expect loss adjustment from your agent/broker.

On the other hand, I have put countless hours and effort into education and training. The result is I have an enormous specialized knowledgebase I put to work on your behalf. It makes sense that my daily experience handling, preparing and negotiating claims would result in a higher settlement for you.

I hope this information has been helpful. I look forward to discussing the specifics of your situation – no obligation or cost. With so much at stake I urge you to Call me now at 310-937-5126 (24/7). If possible, I’ll answer your call myself.

Your ‘Top Gun’ Public Insurance Adjuster,

California Public Adjuster

John Morgenstern
Because you deserve more…

Call me now at 800-602-9915 (24/7)