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by Will Rohleder, 24/7 Disaster Group – Tulsa’s # 1 Fire, Water & Storm Damage Restoration Contractor!

Here at 24/7 Disaster Group our job is to respond quickly to fire, water and storm damage disasters in the Tulsa area. We see hundreds if not thousands of different scenarios each year from fire, water and storm damage and are continually surprised at the lack of knowledge some contractors, subcontractors and clients have when it comes to documenting the Cause and Loss of a fire, water or storm damage event.

When it comes to water and storm damage in Tulsa it is more important that the responding contractors understand to look for Cause and Origin and document it for potential subrogation to recoup the insurance restoration costs. When a fire occurs the Cause and Origin of the fire and smoke damage will be documented by the responding fire department. For the most part the scene will be on lockdown until a report is completed and the scene is released.

Cause and Origin, these three words could save you a lot of money and headache! If you have a fire, water or storm damage disaster at your home or business, chances are a restoration or trade contractor will be on site working before an insurance adjuster can visit the site. Properly documenting the Cause and Origin of the loss is critical to how the loss is covered and could allow your insurance company to Subrogate against a third party if necessary.

Consider this Tulsa fire damage example. JD has a fire that causes extensive fire and smoke damage and in turn burns part of his house to the ground. JD has a $7500 deductible and will likely incur $350,000 or more in repair costs. JD calls his insurance company and immediately opens a homeowner claim for the fire and smoke damage. The fire marshal determines the Origin of the fire was in the furnace closet and the Cause is later found to be a defective manufacturers part in a recently installed furnace. JD’s insurance company now has the option to Subrogate or recover the cost of the fire and smoke damage loss from the manufacturer of the furnace. In turn JD will recoup the $7500 deductible he has paid out of pocket.

Now let’s look at a complicated Tulsa water damage example. JD is the proud owner of an 8 story office building in downtown Tulsa. Because he owns multiple properties and carries all his insurance with the same carrier his deductible on this building is only $35,000. Early to work Monday JD notices water coming out from under the entry door of his building. He unlocks the door, turns on the lights and can see water pouring out of the ceiling and elevator shaft. JD panics because he doesn’t have a pre-disaster plan with 24/7 Disaster Group, so he calls the fire department, the building manager and the building engineer. The building engineer is first on site, determines the Origin of the leak is in a restroom wall on the 4th floor and the Cause is a bad solder joint in a copper plumbing pipe. The engineer just had a plumber replace the water pipe and install a new toilet 2 weeks ago. Fast forward, plumber completes the leak repair, brings the copper pipe to the engineer and points out a drywall screw in the pipe. The engineer KNOWS for a fact there was no screw in the pipe when he discovered the Cause of the leak.

BUT, the engineer failed to take 1 picture potentially worth $35,000. Plumber denies responsibility for leak and blames drywall installer. Unfortunately, in this case the building engineer had completed the drywall repair.

For the fire, JD could rely on the fire marshal report and interested party investigations to determine Cause and Loss. For the water leak, JD only has the word of his building engineer versus the plumber. It is a complicated case either way, but 1 picture and better documentation of the Cause and Origin would make the case less complicated.

Experiencing a personal fire or water loss, especially on a large scale, can be very stressful and simple steps can be easily overlooked. As a home or business owner take a few minutes to think about what steps you would take to ensure Cause and Origin are documented if you experience a fire or water loss. We always encourage our clients to walk through their home or business at least once a year and take photos and update the condition of the properties and also the contents. Keeping documents from an appliance manufacturer with warranty and model information is also important for moving the time frame forward in case of a fire or water damage event.

A few more examples of water damage might be a leaking valve stop or water supply line. Both of these items cause extensive water damage in the Tulsa area each year and most of the time the owner will replace the part themselves or have a plumber replace the part that has caused the water damage without ever considering subrogation and Cause and Origin. If there is any chance that a part has caused water damage or fire damage keep the part, put a label on it and try to take photos that document the date. Most of the time the insurance company will want to see the part and often they have inspectors and investigators that will examine and study the history of the part to see if there has been a long history of that part malfunctioning.

Again, be smart when you have a fire or water damage event. Choose the right fire, water and storm damage Tulsa restoration contractor. 24/7 Disaster Group is always ready to help no matter what type of damage or restoration project you have. Our fire, water and storm damage restoration techs are the best in Tulsa and we work hard to keep it that way. We want our techs to have the best industry education and certification in class time and job time. We are also here to educate our clients and keep you well informed.