Protecting Your Home and Loved Ones

Protecting Your Home and Loved Ones


Protect Your Home from the Dangers of House Fires

The Most Common Causes of House Fires

  1. Cooking: Unattended cooking is a leading cause of house fires. It is important to stay in the kitchen when cooking, especially when using the stovetop. Keep flammable materials, such as oven mitts and towels, away from the stove. Make sure to pay attention to what you are cooking, and if you need to step away for any reason, turn off the stove or oven. It is also a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen in case of any accidental fires.
  2. Heating: Improper use of heating equipment, such as wood stoves and space heaters, can also cause house fires. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use and keep flammable materials at a safe distance. If you are using a wood stove, make sure that the chimney is clean and in good repair to prevent a chimney fire. It is also important to turn off space heaters when they are not in use or when you are not in the room with them.
  3. Electrical: Electrical problems, such as faulty wiring or overloaded outlets, can also cause house fires. Make sure to use proper electrical outlets and extension cords, and have your wiring checked regularly by a professional. If you notice any flickering lights or outlets that are hot to the touch, it is important to have them checked out as soon as possible to prevent a potential fire.
  4. Smoking: Smoking is another leading cause of house fires. It is important to properly extinguish cigarettes and to never smoke in bed or while drowsy. It is also a good idea to designate a specific outdoor area for smoking to reduce the risk of a fire inside the home.
  5. Candles: Candles should always be used with caution. Make sure to keep them away from flammable materials and never leave them unattended. If you are using candles, it is a good idea to blow them out before going to bed or leaving the room.

Other Potential Risks

In addition to the common causes of house fires listed above, there are also other potential risks to be aware of. For example, leaving appliances, such as a toaster or iron, on and unattended can be a fire hazard. It is important to turn off and unplug appliances when they are not in use.

Another potential risk is hoarding, which can create cluttered and hazardous living conditions. If you or someone you know struggles with hoarding, it is important to seek help and take steps to declutter and organize the living space to reduce the risk of a fire.

It is also important to be aware of the potential for natural disasters, such as wildfires and lightning strikes, to cause house fires. If you live in an area at risk for these types of disasters, it is a good idea to have a plan in place and to take steps to protect your home. This can include trimming trees and vegetation around the property, installing lightning rods, and having a supply of sand or fire retardant on hand to use in case of a wildfire.

Protecting Your Home and Loved Ones

The average cost per fire incident in the United States is $35,000, according to the NFPA. However, this figure only represents the direct property damages caused by the fire. It does not include indirect costs such as temporary housing, loss of income, or the emotional toll of experiencing a fire. The emotional impact of a house fire can be significant, and it is important to take care of your mental health and seek support if needed.

Tips for Fire Prevention

  • Install smoke detectors on every level of your home and in each bedroom
  • Keep a fire extinguisher on hand and make sure everyone in the household knows how to use it
  • Create and practice an evacuation plan with your family
  • Stay in the kitchen when cooking, especially when using the stovetop
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use when using heating equipment
  • Have your wiring checked regularly by a professional
  • Properly extinguish cigarettes and never smoke in bed or while drowsy
  • Use candles with caution and never leave them unattended
  • Turn off and unplug appliances when not in use
  • Seek help and declutter if you or someone you know struggles with hoarding
  • Take steps to protect your home from natural disasters, such as trimming trees and vegetation and installing lightning rods

By following these tips and being aware of the common causes of house fires, you can help protect your home and loved ones from the dangers of house fires.


No Insurance? What? Me Worry?

No Insurance? What? Me Worry?

Mold remediation is no big deal… until it’s not. Let me tell you about the dangers.
#moldremediation #insurance #liability #sick

Insurance Power Questions

Insurance Power Questions

Take Your Power Back!

Ask your insurance company THESE QUESTIONS to get PAID IN FULL, before things get ugly. Request the answers via email so you have documentation for later (especially if this goes to trial!)

    1. Is my claim covered? This seems like a very simple question. If we lived in a perfect world, it would be. You would hope that the answer is “YES!” and you could get down to business. Unfortunately, the answer is usually “Maybe” and leads to an entirely different set of questions. Basically, you want to determine if the insurance company wants to make you whole, or just cover their butts and continue to make money.
    2. What if my loss exceeds my policy limits? Here’s where the picture starts to become more clear. Is the insurance company going to do right by me? Who knows? It could happen.
    3. Are there exclusions in my policy which apply to this claim? Welcome to the insurance game. Unfortunately, they wrote the play book. If there is a legal way for them to wriggle out of paying you, they will likely take it. Find the possible loop-holes now and save yourself a nasty surprise later.
    4. Will my insurance company pay all the necessary costs I incur to put my home back the way it was? Sometimes, a company will pay only the bare minimum. Your house might have had wall-to-wall, plush carpet. Will the restore include this?
    5. Can I choose the contractor to perform the needed repairs to my home? (If not, why?) Crooked insurance companies have led to the rise of “pet contractors.” These mercenaries will do exactly what the insurance company asks them. They will use substandard, cheap materials. They will cut costs by cutting corners. The only way to protect yourself is to hire your own contractor. This is the option we recommend. If you need a recommendation for a reputable contractor, we suggest a member of the Restoration Rebels group.
    6. Is there anything you can tell me that will help to settle this claim? Every insurance company has a quirk or two. We want to dot the i’s and cross the t’s. It is better to jump through the required hoops and get paid in full. You don’t want your claim hung up on a simple form.
    7. When can I expect the first check (how much will it be?) and when will the remaining checks be issued? Like lottery winnings, sometimes a claim is paid out a little at a time. This can be good to get a contractor to work faster. He or she needs to buy equipment and hire a crew. This is a whole lot easier with a little money to grease the wheels.
    8. What if the total of all of the checks is not enough to complete repairs? This is a trick the insurance company might pull on you. They might send a hefty advance and then not follow through with the remaining payments. Keep a running total of what you have received and what you have left to go.
    9. Are you authorized to settle my claim? (Obtain a name, title, phone number, and email of the person that is authorized). Do you know that old trick a used car salesman uses? “I have to go speak to my manager.” Don’t let this happen to you! Make sure you are getting answers from the manager. Full stop.


Take your power back! Download a copy of these questions as a PDF.

Put Me In, Coach!

Put Me In, Coach!

It’s a common dilemma. You had a flood in your house. The insurance company offers $10,000 to fix it. You can’t find a contractor to do the work for under $40,000. You may feel this is unfair. It certainly is. This is also by design. The insurance company makes more money when it pays you less than what you’re OWED.

Insurance companies use a very complicated program called Xactimate. This is also by design. If it were easy to use, the common property owner could master it. Xactimate software is very expensive. If it were affordable, the average property owner would have a copy.

We’re not talking about Microsoft Word, here.

Is it starting to feel like the deck is stacked against you? The insurance company is trying to get you on the ropes. They want you to feel powerless and hopeless. When you’re in that position, you will accept ANY low-ball offer they give you. Hint: You don’t have to accept the first offer.

Time to get US in your corner!

Like it or not, the insurance company uses Xactimate. That is their “language.” Speaking the same language as the insurance company generally leads to bigger and more successful claims. That’s why you need Xactimate.

Don’t let the insurance company tell YOU how much the damage is worth. Let an advocate fight for you. We’re on YOUR side!

We’re industry veterans. We’ve been doing restoration jobs for decades. We know the REAL cost of fixing a damaged property. Hint: The first offer from the insurance company will ALWAYS be less than what they think your claim is worth.

We need to be on the same page when we go to the mat with the insurance company. They have a “professional” quote that says the damage can be fixed for $X. We have a quote that says the damage can be fixed for $Y. Which quote is going to succeed? Hint: The property owner (YOU) have more power than you think you do!

Andy McCabe is a licensed Public Adjuster. He is insured and bonded. He’s been doing this a long time. Let him go after your carrier! Put me in, coach!

Why Pay For Insurance Claim Advice?

Why Pay For Insurance Claim Advice?

I went on a little rant tonight.  After re-reading what I wrote in an email to a prospective client, I decided this might have some value to ya’ll. So here goes.

We’ve had a major ice storm roll through and there are tens of thousands of homes with water damage.  I’ve been contacted by several homeowners who’ve recieved their insurance repair estimates and are getting worried.  Here’s one of them.

(Names have been redacted to protect the innocent)


“Hi Andy,

Thanks for the info.  I recall per our conversation the $XXX fee but do not recall your hourly rate for negotiations or changes with the insurance.  I am sure you are great what you do but I need to know what the total will cost me (even if rough estimate) and what I can expect with your results.  I know you can’t realistically answer that without inspecting my house and also knowing stance with insurance company.  There is also no recourse in your fee if you do not make any headway with insurance.  I hope you can appreciate my questions and concerns….I am always a little reluctant to sign on the dotted line with hourly rates and unknown results and timelines.  Feel free to call if easier to explain over the phone.”


I can appreciate your reluctance.  Most folks don’t understand why they need to pay for help, when it’s their insurance company who should be taking care of them. I get it.
I’ve also been in this industry for 18 years.  I know that insurance companies are not in the business of paying claims in full if they don’t have to.  Right now you don’t have the right tools to make them pay in full.
Do you expect your roof to perform next winter with some patched-in shingles?  Will your roofer guarantee that it won’t leak?  In my experience, no roofer will stand behind a patch job.
Were your gutters bent and dinged before this storm?  Just because they still hold water doesn’t mean they won’t affect your resale value.  New gutters are likely justified and covered by your policy.

I’m a busy guy with plenty to do.

I can only estimate as far as I can see.  Right now, I can see how much time it will take me to inspect your property and write up a proper estimate of repairs.
What I can’t see is whether [INSURANCE COMPANY] is going to play nice.  So there is no guarantee.  I can only tell you that in my experience, this claim is woefully deficient. You can’t know how deficient without an apples-to-apples comparison written in the same estimating program.
You pay for good information.
A Public Adjuster will want 15-25% and total control of your claim (and they don’t take projects under $250k).  A restoration contractor will want 35% and total control of the claim.
There is an entire industry of contractors who know the game and how to play it. That’s where I come from.  If you want to wait a month, you can probably get one of the local restoration companies to come write an estimate for you.  They’ll want the entire project in return.
What I’m offering is a realistic estimate for you to use to go back to [INSURANCE COMPANY] and get what you’re owed.  That’s all.  It’s a starting point.  I give you the ammunition and you’re not tied to anything longer term with me.  I should charge more for this service, but unfortunately most folks don’t see the value until AFTER.
I’m too busy to come out and take a look in order to provide a more accurate estimate of my ultimate charges.
There are hundreds of contractors in Bend that need my help right now.  Everyone thinks they know how insurance claims work, until they actually have to deal with one.  I can only work with folks who feel the need and see the value of my advice.
At the risk of giving away even more free advice, consider this.  You are going to hire a General Contractor to perform these repairs.  The standard markup in the insurance industry is 20% (10% Overhead + 10% Profit). O&P on your project is $3,008.73.  And [INSURANCE COMPANY] left it off because they are hoping you don’t know any better.
There. I just made you 3 Grand.  That one is on the house.
If you want to move forward with me, just fill out the link I sent and pay the deposit. If not, I’ll see you on the slopes some time.
Best of luck either way,