Water Damage – Prevention is Key

Water, our most basic source for survival.  It’s also a dangerous culprit in the destruction of many of our homes and businesses. Did you know that water damage is the second most frequently filed insurance claim? So, while we can’t control rainfall, floods and other natural water disasters, we can do our best to protect our homes and businesses from possible water damage.

The best way to prevent water damage is to ensure that the inside and outside of your home is well maintained and ready to withstand whatever may come its way. Follow these tips to keep your home protected against water damage:

  • Inside Your Home
    • Regularly inspecting appliance hoses, faucets, showers and tubs for any leaks that may lead to leaks or drainages.
    • Checking for leaks regularly also prevents long-term damage caused by mold and mildew.
    • Knowing the location of the main water shut-off valve in your home will ensure you can quickly address a damaged hose or burst pipe before it enters your home.
  • Outside Your Home
    • Much like the inside of your home, you’ll want to regularly inspect the sprinklers and irrigation systems surrounding your home.
    • Clearing out any accumulated debris in your rain gutters and downspouts (or installing gutter guards) helps direct the flow of water away from your home.
    • Being mindful of the plants and trees thriving in your yard can also prevent water damage. Many plant roots tend to wrap around water pipes and destroy them. Landscaping away from utility pipes should always be taken into consideration.
  • Upgrade, Install and MonitorWater Damage Infographic
    • Water loss in the home can also be caused by older, leaking washing machine hoses. Upgrade your hoses periodically and check the water pressure in your home to ensure they don’t break down under pressure.
    • Installing water detection devices near water heaters, sump pumps and dishwashers can detect when slow leaks and low moisture levels emerge.
    • After upgrades and installations, make sure to monitor your water bill to expose any possible leaks that might be lurking around your home.

If you’ve already experienced some form of water damage to your home or business, here is a handy infographic that highlights the immediate steps for you to address the issue right away.

Contact a Bankers agent if you have any questions about water hazards or water damage prevention.

Assignment of Benefits – Everything You Need to Know

Mother nature has done it again… She brings in a strong natural disaster that damages your home or business that you’ve worked so hard on. With it being one of your largest assets, it’s your priority to get it fixed as soon as possible. You hop on a call with a contractor to have them assess the situation and give you an estimate of the cost. You know the insurance company will want one anyway, so why not get a head start. Well believe it or not “getting a head start” may sound like a simple process, but it could turn into a nightmare. The reason why you ask? Assignment of benefits.

What you need to know

Assignment of benefits is a legal document that allows a third party to be paid for certain services that they do for an insured homeowner, in which the homeowner would normally be reimbursed by the insurance company directly after making a claim. Assignment of benefits (AOB) is commonly used when a homeowner experiences roof damage, a leaky pipe, a damaged appliance, etc. and they contact a contractor for assistance. Most Assignment of Benefits agreements presented to the homeowner allow the contractor to stand in the shoes of the homeowner for insurance collection purposes. This causes legal battles between the contractor and the insurance company leaving the homeowner left out of the picture.

How to avoid an Assignment of Benefits (AOB)

If the form says anything related to “I transfer and assign all insurance rights, benefits, and causes of action under my property insurance policy to the contractor” then you are probably signing an Assignment of Benefits. You are signing away your rights to the claim under your homeowner’s insurance policy. Educate yourself. If you experience a loss, be sure to contact your insurance company first, before doing anything else. This will help you avoid dealing with an AOB issue completely.

Here are some red flags to watch out for:

  • Someone knocks on your door to tell you about damage to your home that you had no idea about
  • Someone says you will get a free kitchen or free roof for no particular reason
  • They claim the damage is a lot more than it clearly is
  • Permanent repairs start before your insurance company is allowed to inspect or is notified
  • They claim to cover your deductible

If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t be a victim of AOB. Contact your Bankers agent if you have any questions or concerns if you need to sign any contracts. Our agents are available every day of the week to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Don’t hesitate to call 800-627-0000.

Free Disaster Service Program Provided by Bankers Insurance Group and GIS

Bankers Insurance Group is monitoring Hurricane Irma very closely as it continues to threaten South Carolina and Florida. Our claims team is ready and willing to assist. Rest assured we are prepared to respond quickly and efficiently.

In times of need, we all come together to support one another. Global Institutional Solutions is providing immediate assistance to Texas, Louisiana, Florida and South Carolina families and business customers of Bankers Insurance through our Disaster Services Program. Services can be accessed by mobile and desktop/laptop devices and cover the following;

Family Disaster Services:
-Planning, Proactive Steps and Communication
-Children, Seniors, Special Needs and Pets
-Emergency needs, such as prescription replacement and identification documentation replacement
-Ongoing assistance, including working with insurance carriers
-Business Disaster Services
-Business Continuity
-Risk Assessment
-GIS Specialized Services, including contact with customers, vendors and employees
-Achieving Rapid Recovery and operating business while displaced, including replacement of business documentation

Please go to the following link to access your services. www.gisandco.com/hurricane-harvey

You may also dial 888-465-5515. Due to heavy call volume, you may be asked to leave a message. A disaster advocate will return your call.

This is a free service available to all Bankers customers.

Bankers is here for you. Our claims team is ready and waiting to assist. To report a claim call 800-765-9700.