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Our partner companies, provide a wide range of seasonal and year-round services such as Home & Office Cleaning, Landscape Maintenance, Snow & Ice Removal, Window Washing, Gutter Cleaning, Weatherization, Pressure Washing, and even Holiday Decorating on an annual contract basis. Service contracts are geared toward delivery of services and do not necessarily commit clients to a specific service or regimen of services. Rather, Keystone clients may conveniently schedule services as they wish via telephone or web-form. With Keystone standing behind the delivery and quality of all professional services, clients know that the job is done right, done on time, and is guaranteed by an organization with an higher level of accountability than the typical service provider. In fact, Keystone maintains a substantial General Liability Insurance.

Keystone manages service projects using a comprehensive web-based software that utilizes three levels of control and accountability. This platform is accessible from any computer or smart-phone which ensures that information is managed smoothly - even on the go. Most services are delivered through a comprehensive network of pre-qualified subcontractors but Keystone facilitates Cleaning Services in-house as a matter of discretion and quality control. All Keystone employees that clean homes and/or offices endure a thorough background check by a reputable third-party as well as extensive hands-on training from the KPS in-house cleaning expert.

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Protect your property BEFORE you experience a loss. Learn more about the Keystone Property Sentinel by clicking the icon below.

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Water Damage

Water Damage is highly invasive in nature and can create a host of supplemental issues such as mold, mildew, warping and rot. Both the cause and the extent of water damage are often hidden making it be hard to identify, challenging to isolate, and extremely difficult to properly repair. After experiencing water damage, many property owners find that their property insurance policy does not cover the type of damage they experienced or worse, their claim is not handled properly and coverage that could have been available to them is denied. Even when a claim is approved, it is not unusual for insufficient repairs to be authorized and/or performed. Properly settling an insurance claim for water damage and properly performing repairs is dependent on a thorough investigation and comprehensive documentation. It requires a complete understanding of the structural materials, construction methods, and restoration practices. Unfortunately, very few insurance adjusters have the comprehensive knowledge that is required to comprehensively estimate the scope of work required to properly repair water damage. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the property owner to identify and collect all the insurance proceeds that they are entitled to. Clearly, this responsibility is most likely to be fulfilled when a competent and dependable restoration contractor is involved.

It is important for property owners to understand what their insurance premiums are and are not paying for. Hopefully, you have not experiences a water loss yet and you still have the opportunity to ensure that your insurance coverage for water damage is adequate. The following excerpt is taken from Andrew Wallingford's book, The Claim Game:

There's a saying in insurance about water damage and whether or not it's covered: "Once water touches the ground, it's out of bounds," meaning if water enters a house or dwelling extension from ground level or below, it's not covered. the vast majority of exclusions I've dealt with over the years were from water damage. This includes flood, surface water, tidal water, waves, overflow of a body of water or spray from any of these, whether driven by wind or not. The words in bold are important because wind-driven water means that , according to insurers, surface water is still the root cause - without the water, the wind could not have blown the water and caused the damage. Once the water is on the ground, no matter how it damages a home or other structure, it is not covered. Water damage also includes water that enters a dwelling through the drain or sewer line or pushes up through a sump pump or any type of system that is supposed to drain the water from or around the foundation; and water that seeps from below the ground's surface. Water damage is one of the instances where the exclusions override most covered types of losses. For example, if lightning damages a sump pump and causes it to fail and water enters the basement though the sump pump hole (known as the crock) the resulting structural damages would be excluded. What would be covered is the lightning damage to the sump pump itself.

For this reason, ALL property owners should strongly consider flood coverage through the NFIP regardless of whether your property is located on high ground or not. In 2006, marble-sized hail and then a 4" downpour of rain flooded a beautiful custom home on Aubrey Butte in Bend, Oregon. The home was 3,900 feet above sea level but this "perfect storm" presented a unique challenge for the insurance adjuster (who denied the insurance claim). The hailstones clogged a curb side storm drain a small distance uphill from the driveway. The storm water came rushing down the steep street, swept over the clogged drain, and then ran down the driveway into the garage of the custom home. The adjuster argued that the damage was from flooding by water on the ground so there was no coverage. The homeowner argued that without the hailstorm first clogging the drain, the water could not have created the flooding. It was a very bad situation for the homeowner. After all, who would have anticipated that flooding was a danger to a home on the side of a butte? The answer, of course, is that a competent builder, engineer or property inspector would have. After all, it could just have easily been winter ice that clogged up that drain prior to a heavy rain. The driveway SHOULD have had a French drain in the driveway and the garage floor SHOULD have been elevated. The homeowner SHOULD have had flood insurance. With his insurance claim denied, the homeowner's only option was to file a lawsuit against the builder of the home. From Keystone's perspective, this type of scenario is just one more great reason for property owners to take advantage of the Keystone Property Sentinel program.

Click HERE if you would like more information about the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

Damage From Leaks:

Leaks are tricky. Most insurance policies do not cover loss resulting directly or indirectly from continuous or repeated seepage or leakage of water or stream from within a plumbing, heating, automatic fire protection or sprinkler or air conditioning system or from within a household appliance which occurs over a period of weeks, months or years. In other words, the leak must be sudden, otherwise it is categorized as a failure by the policyholder to maintain his or her property. Understanding what caused your leak is the key to understanding what your insurance policy will cover. Per Russell D. Longcore, author of Insurance Claim Secrets Revealed, "If the water comes down, it might be covered. If the water comes up, it is probably not covered." A roof leak, for example, is most often covered if the cause is a covered peril such as wind, hail or falling debris. If the cause of the roof leak cannot be traced directly to a covered peril, often times it is considered a maintenance issue and there is no coverage. Some policies will cover the interior damage caused by a roof leak but will not pay to repair the roof leak if the leak was not caused by a covered peril.

The uncertainty of whether or not a leak is covered creates a substantial problem for property owners. In all instances of water damage, it is essential that action be taken right away to remove the water to mitigate further damage to the property. For instance, if a pipe bursts and floods a room, the carpet and pad must be removed immediately. The water main must be closed and the wall where the pipe burst must be cut open and dried right away. Otherwise mold and mildew could set in and the flooring and framing members could swell and warp. the difference in repair costs and inconvenience to the property owner could be substantial. These actions need to be taken regardless of whether or not the claimant has coverage for the leak. In all instances of water damage, video and still photos should be taken right away. Document everything. Nothing that is removed (such as a carpet pad or furniture) should be thrown away. Debris can be piled up outside or in a garage but the insurance company has a right to inspect it before it is disposed of. Also, start documenting your damaged personal property/contents right away. State Farm has an EXCELLENT form: Personal Property Form

Scope of Work

A proper restoration often hinges on the Scope of Work that your insurance company is willing to agree to. Remembering that while Adjusters have a fiduciary duty under the law, they also must do their best to settle a claim for the least amount of money that the claimant is willing to accept. This is exactly why it is so essential that you have an expert like Keystone in your corner. Consider the photos below:

Ceiling Leak


Ceiling Leak Closeup

Both photos are of the same leak. In this instance, the Adjuster offered $400 to replace the insulation above the leak, spray anti-microbial agent, re-tape/mud the seam, and re-paint the patch. However, that would not have indemnified the property owner. A patch job would not have put the ceiling back into the condition that it was in before the leak because the gypsum was weakened by the water and because the paint's satin sheen would make the patch noticeable - especially considering its proximity to the ceiling fan lights. The proper repair was to replace the gypsum board that had been wet, replace the wet insulation, spray the anti-microbial agent, re-tape/mud the seams, re-texture the area around the seams, and then re-paint all of the ceilings in the home as they were all connected. This required moving the furniture out, masking the floors, renting scaffolding, removing and/or covering ceiling fixtures, and temporary housing for the homeowner for three days while work was being performed. All told, $5,780. Just to clarify, the insurance company offered $400 but paid $5,780. Would they pay $5,380 more if they believed it was improper or excessive? Of course not! They paid because the claimant was willing to listen to her restoration contractor instead of accept the insurance Adjuster's low offer.

If you would like a Keystone team member to inspect your property for damages, please click the button below.

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