Safety Tips for Avoiding Fire Damage Insurance Claims During the Holiday Season

Nothing says the holiday season like friends and family gathering together as the aroma of freshly baked pies and roasted turkey fills the air. With side dishes simmering on the stovetop and soft dinner rolls lining baking sheets inside the oven, preparing for Thanksgiving dinner can be quite an undertaking. With so much activity going on in your kitchen, it’s important to take safety measures that will help prevent the possibility of a house fire.

Thanksgiving is the leading day for home cooking fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association, and the day before Thanksgiving is the second-leading day for home cooking fires. We’ve compiled a few safety tips and recommendations to keep your holiday season fire-free and avoid the potential for a fire damage insurance claim.

NEVER LEAVE ITEMS COOKING ON THE STOVETOP UNATTENDED

Thirty-three percent of home fires are caused by unattended cooking. Even if you’re cooking on a low-heat setting, you should never leave your stovetop unattended while in use. Because the stovetop is uncovered, the heating device is open to the surrounding elements. Cluttered countertops can lead to a fire if they come in contact with the burners, and inattention to a boiling pot can lead to burns while adjusting it, or a fire.

MAKE SURE YOUR SMOKE DETECTORS ARE WORKING

Take some time to do a quick test to ensure your smoke detectors are in good working order before you begin prepping Thanksgiving dinner. If you live in a large home, you may need extra smoke detectors. When it comes to fires, it’s important to respond as quickly as possible to get everyone to safety and curb the damage to your home.

SET TIMERS TO TRACK COOKING TIMES

During the holiday season (anytime, really) it’s easy to get caught up in what else needs to be done around the house while you’re waiting on your dinner to bake in the oven. Setting timers on your oven or phone to help keep track of cooking times may not only save your turkey dinner from being burned to a crisp, but could save you from a fire damage insurance claim as well.

KEEP THE FLOOR AND COUNTERTOPS CLEAR AND CLEAN

Keeping your countertops and floors clear of clutter reduces the risk of a stovetop fire or a cooking accident. Clean countertops can also reduce bacteria buildup that thrives on grimy surfaces. Regularly cleaning working surfaces helps eliminate the risk of food-borne bacteria that can cause illness.

ABOUT K-FACTOR ADVOCATES

K-Factor Advocates is a public adjusting firm that specializes in insurance claim negotiation, policy language and interpretation, and claims estimating. K-Factor’s team of public adjusters work on behalf of the policyholder. Coverage areas include Montana, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Minnesota and Michigan.

How to File A Complaint with Your State Insurance Commissioner

There are a few different avenues you can take to file a complaint with your state’s insurance commissioner, depending on your preference. Whether you’re an over-the-phone, email or face-to-face type of person, there’s a way to make contact that best fits your lifestyle and comfort zone.

HOW TO FILE A COMPLAINT

Most state insurance departments make it easy by providing a form directly on their website. On the Montana securities and insurance department website, the menu button at the top of the page provides a drop-down menu with the option to file a complaint. There are three sections within that option, directing users to the insurance complaint page, an insurance fraud page and a securities fraud page. The department recommends first contacting the insurance company or agent to bring the problem to their attention, documenting the call in the process. You should also keep written copies of all communication, including the date and brief summary of the discussion.

When you’re ready to file your complaint with the Montana insurance commissioner, access the complaint form on the webpage. The consumer complaint form will ask for basic personal information, such as your name, address, and phone number. Then, you’ll provide the information regarding the insurance company the complaint is against. Only fields denoting an asterisk are required. If you need to add any supporting documents to the complaint form, you’ll receive an opportunity to attach them after the final submission. Or, you can mail the documents along with a printed copy of the complaint form directly to the Commissioner of Securities and Insurance office.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

After filing a complaint with the Montana insurance department, a file number will be assigned to you that you’ll want to keep on hand whenever you speak to the insurance commissioner. After a response to the claim is received from the company or individual, a compliance specialist in the insurance department will review both the complaint and the response and decide upon a course of action.

If the insurance company is violating state insurance law or not abiding by the policy, the insurance commissioner will request corrective action. The insurance commissioner requires cooperation in order to ensure a thorough investigation into the complaint. So, if the insurance company has not responded to all inquiries to properly assess the situation, the commissioner will require them to do so. If no violations into state insurance law are discovered, or the complaint has been resolved, the insurance department will close the complaint and send you a letter detailing the findings of the investigation.

WHERE K-FACTOR ADVOCATES COME INTO PLAY

At K-Factor Advocates, not only does our team of public insurance adjusters have the tools, resources and knowledge to help you file a complaint against your insurance company, but we can stop insurance claim conflicts before they get out of hand. By having a public adjuster on your side from the very start, there will be someone on your side to ensure your insurance company and the individuals who work for it are abiding by state insurance law and policy guidelines through each step of your claim.

But if you’ve already gone through the claims process without a public adjuster, we can still help. Your time is valuable, and we can help take the burden of the complaint process off your shoulders. With experience handling hundreds of insurance claims and a keen understanding of homeowner’s insurance policies and state insurance law, we believe our team would prove to be an invaluable asset to resolving your insurance complaint.

ABOUT K-FACTOR ADVOCATES

K-Factor Advocates is a public adjusting firm that specializes in insurance claim negotiation, policy language and interpretation, and claims estimating. K-Factor’s team of public adjusters work on behalf of the policyholder. Coverage areas include Montana, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Minnesota and Michigan.

Insurance Commissioner, Public Adjusters Can Assist with Insurance Complaints

Approximately 85 percent of U.S. homeowners have home insurance policies, with millions of home insurance claims filed every year. The nation’s insurance industry is highly competitive, and the top 10 major players account for a whopping 62 percent of the market. State Farm is by far the largest homeowner’s insurance provider in the nation. According to an article by ValuePenguin, the company wrote $19.7 billion direct premiums in 2020, which is double the amount of Allstate, the nation’s second-largest insurer.

With millions of homeowner’s insurance claims filed every year, there are bound to be a sizable number of policyholders who aren’t satisfied with the way their claim was handled by their insurance company. And if your insurance company isn’t operating within state law or honoring their contract, you’re entitled to call them out on it. There are a number of options available for homeowners when it comes to filing a complaint against their insurance company, including filing a complaint with your state’s insurance commissioner or with your local public adjuster, K-Factor Advocates.

PUBLIC ADJUSTER

K-Factor Advocates is well-versed in state law and insurance regulations and more than capable of helping policyholders reach a solution with their insurance company. There are many advantages to hiring a public adjuster such as K-Factor Advocates to handle your insurance company complaint. As a small business, K-Factor will be able to give your case the attention it requires in order to reach a solution. Your state’s insurance department handles numerous insurance complaints every day, which undoubtedly makes it difficult to use a personable approach with each individual. That’s where K-Factor Advocates shines. Our team will keep you in the loop throughout the process, and you won’t just be a faceless client in a sea of paperwork.

INSURANCE COMMISSIONER

Every state has an insurance department that is headed by the insurance commissioner, though the titles and roles vary a bit depending on the state. From choosing an insurance company to filing a complaint, the insurance commissioner provides an important public service to state residents. Montana State Auditor Troy Downing serves as Montana’s insurance commissioner. He was elected to the position in 2020, succeeding U.S. Representative for Montana Matt Rosendale. According to the Commissioner of Securities and Insurance Office of the Montana State Auditor’s website, Downing’s goal is to protect Montanans from fraud and scams related to insurance and investments.

Whether you file your complaint with K-Factor Advocates’ team of public adjusters or with your state’s insurance commissioner, don’t be hesitant to stand up against unfair business practices by your insurance company or individual agent. Insurance companies and those who work for them are required to abide by certain regulations and state law. Any violation should be reported, not only for your well-being, but for others who could be affected in the future.

ABOUT K-FACTOR ADVOCATES

K-Factor Advocates is a public adjusting firm that specializes in insurance claim negotiation, policy language and interpretation, and claims estimating. K-Factor’s team of public adjusters work on behalf of the policyholder. Coverage areas include Montana, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Minnesota and Michigan.

State insurance commissioner has many roles

Each state has its own insurance department that is tasked with ensuring the insurance industry is abiding by state law. Because insurance is regulated at the state level, each state either elects or appoints an insurance commissioner that is entrusted with the responsibility of protecting the best interests of its residents by monitoring the fiscal responsibility among insurance companies while fostering a competitive marketplace within the industry.

The Department of Insurance’s title and tasks vary from state to state, but one thing they have in common is the education and services they provide to residents on insurance-related topics. If you need help choosing an insurance company, your state’s department of insurance can provide you with data comparing rates and complaint information. And if you’re having a problem with your insurance company and need to file a complaint, you’ll go through your state’s department of insurance. K-Factor Advocates is also well-versed in state laws and regulations and is available to help create solutions with various insurance companies.

In Montana, the office is known as the Commissioner of Securities and Insurance and is headed by the Montana State Auditor. Republican Troy Downing was elected to the position in the 2020 election, succeeding fellow Republican and current U.S. Representative for Montana Matt Rosendale. As the insurance commissioner for Montana, Downing is tasked with ensuring fairness and transparency among the insurance and securities industries.

Last year, the Commissioner of Securities and Insurance office generated more than $161 million in revenue for Montana and reviewed more than 74,000 individual insurance policies for legal sufficiency, according to the Insurance Department at the Office of the Montana State Auditor’s website.

The first insurance regulatory agency, established in 1851, was the New Hampshire Insurance Department. Just two years later, at least seven more states established insurance departments, including California, Missouri, Indiana, New York, Vermont, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Less than a decade after the Civil War, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners was established in 1871. The association was formed in order to assist insurance commissioners by providing regulatory best practices and standards to better serve the public interest.

The insurance industry had long been solely regulated by the states, until 1944, when Paul v. Virginia was overturned, allowing the insurance industry to be subject to federal law. The United States vs. South-Eastern Underwriters Association ruling concluded that insurance was in fact interstate commerce and should be subject to the Sherman Act, a federal antitrust law. A year later, a bill sponsored by U.S. Senators Pat McCarran (Democrat, Nevada) and Homer Ferguson (Republican, Michigan) that would keep insurance regulation in the hands of the states, was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Though subject to certain conditions, the McCarran-Ferguson Act was proposed in order to remove any confusion or uncertainty on the states’ regulatory authority over insurance following the United States vs. South-Eastern Underwriters Association ruling.

Because insurance regulation is monitored on a state-by-state basis, residents should contact their state’s insurance department for any questions or complaints regarding individual policies. Educating the public about insurance rates and practices is part of the reason the office exists, and as a taxpayer that’s helping fund its efforts, you’re entitled to utilize it.

ABOUT K-FACTOR ADVOCATES

K-Factor Advocates is a public adjusting firm that specializes in insurance claim negotiation, policy language and interpretation, and claims estimating. K-Factor’s team of public adjusters work on behalf of the policyholder. Coverage areas include Montana, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Minnesota and Michigan.

Maintain Proper Fire Pit Safety to Avoid Fire Damage

As a crisp chill and the musky, earthy smell of changing leaves swirl in the air, hunkering down around the fire pit with a bag of marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers becomes an appealing notion. And with the availability of safe and affordable patio fire pits, you don’t have to be a country dweller to enjoy the crackling of logs burning under the night sky. Modern fire pit models are fashioned from heat-resistant materials and offer a controlled space for an evening campfire.

Outdoor fires are undoubtedly a popular way to spend a cool autumn evening, but where there is fire, there is the potential for danger. That’s why it’s important to take proper precautions to ensure the safety of your friends, family and home. K-Factor Advocates has compiled a few tips to help keep your backyard fire from getting out of control.

MAINTAIN A SAFE DISTANCE

When you’re deciding where to place your fire pit, make sure it’s at least 10 feet away from your house and any trees or other structures. Placing it too close to your home increases the potential of the flames infiltrating your home in the event the fire gets out of control. It’s also a good idea to notify your insurance company if you decide to purchase a fire pit to make sure it’s covered in the event of a fire damage insurance claim.

FIND A LEVEL SURFACE

As you set up your fire pit, make sure you place it on a level, fire-resistant surface made of concrete, stone, brick or ceramic. You should never place a fire pit in an enclosed porch and should avoid wood decks or grassy surfaces. Use caution around overhanging trees and nearby brush, which could easily catch fire from flying sparks.

USE PROPER MATERIALS

Never use lighter fluid or kerosene to start the fire, and be sure to keep a fire extinguisher or bucket of sand nearby to extinguish any flames that may get out of control. Avoid using composite wood or plywood for burning, as they can release toxic fumes. Soft woods such as pine and cedar should also be avoided, because they are prone to popping and throwing sparks. Instead, use seasoned wood that has been cut at least six months prior, and make sure the logs are cut no longer than three quarters of the fire pit’s diameter.

SUPERVISE CHILDREN

Keep children at least three feet away from the fire pit. Never leave them unattended by the blaze, and teach them the importance of fire safety. Consider a fire pit with a metal screen to help control rogue embers and flying sparks. Don’t light a fire in windy conditions.

PROPERLY EXTINGUISH FIRE

When you’re done with your fire for the night, make sure it is properly extinguished before leaving the area. Dousing the fire with water is a quick and easy way to put out a blaze, but it’s not always recommended based on the materials your fire pit is composed of. Sand or dirt is another effective way to snuff out a fire and won’t compromise the structural integrity of metal fire pits. Be sure there are no embers left burning before going inside, as just one spark has the capability of igniting a backyard fire, which could lead to fire damage to your home as well. If you do experience a fire, contact K-Factor Advocates and we’ll help you file a fire damage insurance claim immediately to ensure your home and property is restored as quickly as possible.

ABOUT K-FACTOR ADVOCATES

K-Factor Advocates is a public adjusting firm that specializes in insurance claim negotiation, policy language and interpretation, and claims estimating. K-Factor’s team of public adjusters work on behalf of the policyholder. Coverage areas include Montana, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Minnesota and Michigan.

Understanding the Basics of The Insurance Claim Process

After experiencing a loss that is covered by your homeowners policy, a request is sent to the insurance company for compensation to restore the damage. This request, known as an insurance claim, can be anything from a fire damage insurance claim in South Dakota to a storm damage insurance claim in Wisconsin. Once the claim is filed, the insurance company will begin the process of determining the scope of the damage and how much money is required to pay for the repairs.

Here are a few tips to help the process go as smoothly as possible.

FILE YOUR CLAIM QUICKLY

The timeline from the start of the claims process to the settlement phase can vary based on the type and size of the claim. Reporting the damage right away is an important step to take to help get the process moving as quickly as possible. If you’re filing a claim due to hail damage or storm damage, odds are good that your neighbors may be experiencing similar damages. That’s why submitting your claim in a timely manner is advisable to ensure you end up toward the front of the line. Typically, homeowners are required to file a claim within one year of the loss, though that can vary based on the state you live in and your insurance company.

DOCUMENT THE DAMAGE

Before cleaning up anything, make sure you document the damage through pictures and videos to convey the full extent of your loss. You can never take too many photos, so go ahead and snap from multiple angles and be thorough. The more information and evidence you can provide to the insurer, the better.

MAKE EMERGENCY REPAIRS IF NECESSARY

Typically, homeowners are advised not to make any repairs after a loss in order for the adjuster to accurately assess the situation. But that doesn’t mean you have to live with a gaping hole in your window after a hailstorm busts out the glass. Keeping your family and belongings safe is of the utmost importance, so if you need to put up some plywood, do it. Just be sure to keep the receipts and to document the necessity of the repairs so you can submit the expenses to your insurance company as part of the claim.

COMMUNICATE WITH THE INSURANCE ADJUSTER

Your insurance company will send out an adjuster to evaluate the loss. This is a crucial part of the process, because it’s the adjuster’s job to determine how much the insurance company is going to compensate you for the damages. If you choose to rely on the insurance company’s adjuster, it’s advisable to be present during their inspection of your property. But it’s important to be aware that the insurance company’s adjuster will first and foremost have the company’s best interests at heart rather than your own. Hiring a public insurance adjuster puts somebody in your corner to advocate on your behalf.

REVIEW THE SETTLEMENT OFFER

Once the insurance adjuster sends in their final report, the insurance company will provide you with a settlement offer. Make sure you closely review the offer before accepting, because once you do, your claim will be closed. If you feel the amount should be higher, you can dispute it and request another review. Once you’ve agreed upon a settlement amount, you can finally move forward with the repair process.

HIRE A PUBLIC ADJUSTER FROM THE START

The insurance claims process can be stressful. From filing the paperwork to documenting the damage to negotiating with the insurance company, there’s a lot to think about. Having a public insurance adjuster on your side from the very beginning can ease the burden and may ultimately result in a higher settlement amount.

ABOUT K-FACTOR ADVOCATES

K-Factor Advocates is a public adjusting firm that specializes in insurance claim negotiation, policy language and interpretation, and claims estimating. K-Factor’s team of public adjusters work on behalf of the policyholder. Coverage areas include Montana, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Minnesota and Michigan.

Top 10 Reasons Why You Need K-Factor Advocates as Your Public Adjuster

When you’re faced with a loss, the last thing you want to deal with is the added stress of an insurance claim. From interpreting the complexities of your homeowners policy to going back and forth with your insurance company, it’s easy for things to slip through the cracks. Not everyone is an insurance expert, and nobody should have to settle for less than what they deserve just because they’re not up-to-date on the intricacies of the insurance claim process.

That’s where K-Factor Advocates comes into play. As a public insurance adjuster, we work for the insured, not the insurer, so you can be sure we’ll have your best interests in mind throughout the claims process. Here are the top 10 reasons you should consider hiring K-Factor Advocates as your public adjuster:

1. WE’LL MAKE SURE YOU GET PAID WHAT YOU’RE OWED

Your insurance company will send out their own adjuster to represent their interests. Relying on their adjuster is akin to having the IRS file your taxes. As your public adjuster, we work for you and will make sure all the files are correct and you’re fully indemnified for your loss. Our team has years of experience in the construction and insurance industries, so we’ll be sure nothing falls through the cracks.

2. WE DON’T GET PAID UNLESS YOU DO

We don’t want to waste your hard-earned time or money, which is why we only get paid if you do. We work 100 percent on contingency, so if we don’t settle your claim, you don’t owe us a dime. By hiring our team to help you through the process, there’s little to lose and a lot to gain. Our team has a great track record of securing our clients higher settlement amounts than originally estimated by the insurance company.

3. WE WILL COMMUNICATE WITH YOU

We’ve interpreted hundreds of homeowners insurance policies and understand the technical insurance terms riddled throughout the insurance claim paperwork. We’ll help you understand what you’re facing in clear, understandable terms.

4. WE WILL EXPEDITE YOUR CLAIM

Our team will handle your claim in a timely manner, handling everything from start to finish as quickly as possible in order to get your life back to normal.

5. WE WILL HELP ARRANGE FOR ALL YOUR ADDITIONAL LIVING EXPENSES

After a disaster, you shouldn’t have to worry about where you’re going to stay. If your property is severely damaged, we’ll help you make arrangements to ensure your temporary accommodations are covered.

6. YOUR TOTAL CONTENT INVENTORY WILL BE CONSIDERED

Don’t let your high-end content be replaced with a discount version. We understand that your artwork, collectibles and valuable items are important to you, and proper valuation of those items is crucial in ensuring accurate compensation. Our experienced team will help you restore your lost or damaged valuables to the fullest extent possible.

7. WE HAVE CONNECTIONS THROUGHOUT THE INDUSTRY

Our team has cultivated relationships with major players in the construction, engineering and legal fields. We don’t cut corners, and with a group of highly responsive industry professionals just a call away, you can rest easy that our team will collect every facet of information required to accurately settle your claim.

8. WE’LL HANDLE ALL THE PAPERWORK

Did you know that the average insurance claim has hundreds of pages to thumb through? We’ll help take the load off by handling all the paperwork throughout the claims process.

9. WE CARE ABOUT WHAT YOU’RE GOING THROUGH

We’ve helped many clients in similar situations, so we know it is a stressful, burdensome process. As a family company, we understand the importance of providing a safe environment for your loved ones. We’ll work tirelessly to ensure your property is restored and you’re not taken advantage of by the insurance company.

10. WE’RE A LOCAL BUSINESS

We live here and understand the complexities of living in the Mountain West. Don’t trust somebody who will be here one day and gone the next. At the end of the day, we’re still your neighbors.

ABOUT K-FACTOR ADVOCATES

K-Factor Advocates is a public adjusting firm that specializes in insurance claim negotiation, policy language and interpretation, and claims estimating. K-Factor’s team of public adjusters work on behalf of the policyholder. Coverage areas include Montana, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Minnesota and Michigan.

Pros and cons of buying an older home

Older houses offer a sense of charm and character that new construction builds often lack, but they can come with their share of complications as well. Buying a house is a huge financial investment, and before you choose between the character-filled early 20th-century home versus the modern newly constructed home, make sure to weigh the benefits against the potential pitfalls.

The age of your home isn’t the only thing to consider in the buying process, but it is an important factor. Many other important details can stem from the age of the house as well, including cost, maintenance, layout and safety. In this article, we’ve outlined a few pros and cons of purchasing an older home.

PRO: ESTABLISHED NEIGHBORHOODS

Older homes are often more centrally located and within established neighborhoods, within walking distance of many local shops and parks. Established neighborhoods also mean mature shade trees and landscaping, not to mention no noisy construction crews building new houses nearby.

CON: HIGHER MAINTENANCE COSTS

Maintaining or replacing old heating systems, air conditioning units or wiring can be an expensive but necessary task to ensure their safety and efficiency. Faulty wiring poses a fire hazard, so detecting any problems and addressing them quickly is important to avoid the potential of fire damage.

PRO: LOWER COST

Though it depends on the house’s location and condition, older homes typically cost less than a modern house. You’re also likely to get more bang for your buck as far as acreage, as new construction homes are often built on smaller lots.

CON: LESS STORAGE SPACE

Modern closet measurements and construction offer up increased storage space for homebuyers, while older closets are typically smaller and sometimes imperfectly shaped, making it more difficult to store items and install shelving.

PRO: CHARACTER AND CHARM

Older homes often offer a charming architectural individuality that the cookie-cutter style of some newer residential developments lack. Modern houses can lack the craftsmanship and character of established homes, so if you’re looking for a unique home that stands out from the rest, new construction may not be the best fit for you.

PRO OR CON: SMALLER, CLOSED FLOOR PLAN

Most older homes lack the open floor plan that many prospective homebuyers find appealing. Closed-off kitchens and separate living spaces cut off sightlines and restrict mingling. Along with the closed-off layout, older homes typically have lower ceilings and smaller rooms and closets. Open-concept layouts are a matter of preference, however, with some homebuyers in search of a more traditional layout. A home with an open floor plan can also be a safety risk, because a small fire can quickly get out of control with fewer barriers to blaze through, potentially leading to a fire damage insurance claim.

ABOUT K-FACTOR ADVOCATES

K-Factor Advocates is a public adjusting firm that specializes in insurance claim negotiation, policy language and interpretation, and claims estimating. K-Factor’s team of public adjusters work on behalf of the policyholder. Coverage areas include Montana, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Minnesota and Michigan.

Organize Your Home for Back-To-School Season

Pens, notebooks and folders are lining the store shelves, the local swimming pools are closing and you’re starting to see coffee shops and eateries tout pumpkin spice everything. These are all indications that the new school year is upon us and it’s time to get your children and home prepared for the semester.

Although you may hear some groans and complaining about the return to studying, homework and tests, making their transition a smooth one can help ease the frustration for both parent and child. There are many ways you can prep your home to organize the inevitable influx of papers that need to be signed and homework that needs to be done, as well as the supplies and materials required to get them through the year.

Here are some tips to consider when preparing your home for back-to-school season.

CREATE SPECIFIC STUDY AREAS

It’s easy to get distracted when studying at home, especially if there’s not a consistent space that is designated for work. Rather than moving from spot to spot, try creating a specific area that is designated for studying in order to maintain focus. If possible, keep this area away from distractions such as the television. The dining room table can be a good area for students to spread out their books and papers.

SET UP AN AREA FOR COMMUNICATION

Create a specific area in your home for students to place schedules and papers that need to be signed. Place a few paper trays with labels in order to keep things organized and make sure nothing falls through the cracks. Stackable paper trays are available for homes with limited counter space. Having loose papers floating around the house is not only a major headache for parents, but it can be a fire hazard as well. Avoid placing flammable school supplies anywhere near a stovetop to prevent the possibility of a house fire and a fire damage insurance claim.

INSTALL BOOKCASES AND SHELVING

Keeping your kids’ textbooks and reading material organized on a bookshelf is a good way to not only keep them off the floor, but to ensure they’re easy to find when packing up their backpacks the next morning. Shelves and pegs in your kids’ rooms can also help designate a space for school supplies. If you have a mudroom or spacious entryway, installing hooks and shelves in this area is a good way for kids to grab their backpacks and jackets on their way out of the house.

SET A DAILY SCHEDULE

Easing back into the school routine can be difficult, so try easing them into a bedtime schedule a couple of weeks before school starts, if possible. Once school begins, try to stick to a consistent schedule when it comes to homework, meals and bedtime to maintain as much order as you can. Have some flexibility when it comes to extracurricular activities and sports, as they can be an important part of the back-to-school experience.

ABOUT K-FACTOR ADVOCATES

K-Factor Advocates is a public adjusting firm that specializes in insurance claim negotiation, policy language and interpretation, and claims estimating. K-Factor’s team of public adjusters work on behalf of the policyholder. Coverage areas include Montana, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Minnesota and Michigan.

Different Types of Roofing Materials and Their Value

Replacing your roof may not be the most exciting task, but a new roof can not only improve on your home’s curb appeal, but can seal out moisture and protect your home and belongings. There are many varieties of roofing material you can choose from, so before simply replacing your current material, do a little bit of research and find the one that works best for your home without breaking your budget.

When choosing the type of roofing material, it’s important to take a few key components into consideration, such as cost, appearance, longevity and weight. You may want to factor in the climate your property is in as well, as excessive snow loads or consistent rain may sway your decision.

Here are 4 roofing materials to consider for your property.

1. ASPHALT SHINGLES

The most common form of residential roofing material in the U.S., asphalt shingles are made from a fiberglass base, asphalt and mineral granules. Asphalt shingles are one of the most cost-effective materials to use, come in a variety of colors and are easy to install. However, they don’t offer the insulation some other roofing materials do, and often have a shorter life span. But, if they’re properly installed, you’re still likely to get a good 20-25 years out of them.

2. METAL

Metal roofs are lightweight and resistant to extreme weather, and they can last from 40-75 years. The reflective nature of metal roofing helps keep your home cooler by reflecting heat from the sun, rather than absorbing it as asphalt shingles do. But metal roofing can be fairly expensive. It can also be dented by things such as hail and fallen branches and is noisier than other roofing materials.

3. WOOD SHAKES OR SHINGLES

Wood shingles or shakes, often made from cedar, southern pine and redwood, are a natural product that create an attractive, rustic appearance. Because wood is a poor conductor of heat, wood shakes or shingles are good at insulating your home, and they’re fairly resistant to wind damage. Wood roofs cost more to install, though, and because they’re flammable, wood roofing material is not recommended in wildfire-prone regions. Wood shakes and shingles typically last around 25-30 years.

4. CLAY AND CONCRETE TILES

Clay tiles add an air of elegance to a roof, and their textured look is great for curb appeal. Clay and concrete tiles are very durable but, unsurprisingly, very heavy. They’re also fire resistant, impact resistant and wind resistant, and a clay tile roof can last anywhere from 50 to 100 years when properly installed. The heavy nature of the tiles is great at protecting your home from extreme weather, but you’ll want to ensure the structure you’re placing them on is strong enough to support the weight. They’re also more expensive than other roofing materials, and installation is more technical, so it’s important to hire a qualified professional to install the tiles. Clay and concrete tiles are only suitable for sloped roofs.

IF YOU HAVE ROOF DAMAGE

If you’ve experienced roof damage in Montana, or another state in K-Factor Advocates’ coverage area, our team of public insurance adjusters wants to help. Your roof is one of the most important components of your home, so taking care of it is crucial.

ABOUT K-FACTOR ADVOCATES

K-Factor Advocates is a public adjusting firm that specializes in insurance claim negotiation, policy language and interpretation, and claims estimating. K-Factor’s team of public adjusters work on behalf of the policyholder. Coverage areas include Montana, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan.

    Request Free Claim Review