5 Things We Learned from the Texas Freeze
Team Gage has been working hard since the Texas freeze to restore normalcy to apartment communities across Central Texas. When temperatures dropping below zero, pipes froze and burst, flooding countless properties.
Here are the top five biggest lessons we learned about how you can prevent freeze and water damage at your multifamily property.
1. Surprisingly the newer built properties had more issues than older apartment communities.
The vintage properties in Central Texas held up better to the deep freeze since they rarely have sprinkler systems. Newer properties have sprinkler suppression systems but these pipes were not insulated. The deep freeze caused the pipes to burst and when pipes thawed, flooding to exposed areas.
New construction communities also faced issues with tankless hot water heaters when exterior pipes began to freeze and burst.
2. Have a plan! Establish an emergency plan and bringing on your preferred team as fast as possible. An Emergency Service Plan includes immediate plumbing repairs, demolition, water extraction, demolition dry-out procedures, mitigation and build back of damaged units.
3. File Your Claim ASAP!
How quickly you can work to get your insurance claim and team assigned will greatly affect the timeline of getting your community repaired. The longer you wait to file a claim, the longer your affected units will be offline.
In this instance, one of our customers called their insurance company not when the pipes were thawing out but they filed a claim when Texas was still in deep-freeze temperature. They knew they had problems immediately since they had a broken sprinkler and they filed a claim since they knew the damage was above the deductible and that insurance companies would cover the large-scale damage.
4. Keeping your residents informed via constant communication from the property level. Be upfront with residents about a timeframe for repairs and relocation efforts.
5. Patience is key. It's important that everyone involved in the process from multifamily investors, the property managers, the contractors, and mitigation teams just show patience and trust your insurance policy. Multifamily disaster claims are not a quick, cut-and-dry process.
We some build-backs may be delayed until the end of the year, due to the number of multifamily damage claims and available labor and material resources.
Final note: Now is a great time to review your multifamily insurance policy and make sure you have business interruption insurance!