Is Mold Damage Covered By My Homeowners Insurance?

Is Mold Damage Covered By My Homeowners Insurance?

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as mold insurance. That being said, there are circumstances where mold damage is covered by homeowners insurance, for example, if a covered peril caused the mold problem in the first place.

Insurance Coverage

If a covered peril caused the mold problem, then your homeowner's insurance will cover the repairs necessary to fix the damages. Perils that are covered by insurance usual include lightning, fire, theft, vandalism, damage caused by ice, snow or sleet, and some types of water damage.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold Remediation And Removal?

As mentioned above, homeowners insurance will cover mold remediation and removal if the company in question believes that the mold was caused by an event that is considered to be a covered peril. Sudden and accidental incidents which result in sudden mold growth are usually covered and your insurance company will pay for the removal of the mold.

Burst Water Heater Mold

Mold damage is covered by homeowners insurance if it is the result of one of the aforementioned perils. For example, if your home catches fire and mold develops after firefighters use water to put out the fire. Another example could be your water heater rupturing or the main pipe bursting in your home. You may also find that your water tank leaks in your attic and you only find out months later. In all these circumstances, your insurance policy should pay for the removal of the mold in your home.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold And Water Damage?

Water damage is one of the most common causes of mold growth in a home. That being said, not all water damage is covered by a homeowners insurance policy. Sudden and accidental water-related issues such as burst pipes, malfunctioning appliances, as well as water heaters and water tanks cracking should be covered by your policy. Be sure to read all the fine print before signing though. Standard policies do not normally cover mold caused by water damage if the problem is considered a maintenance problem. This means that if the problem has been ongoing or not dealt with in the right away, your policy will not cover the damage. You should also be able to add an optional rider to cover extra mold damage, although this can be very expensive depending on where you live.

Mold Flood

With so many mold-related claims taking place today, insurance companies are doing whatever they can to avoid covering these types of issues. With this in mind, be sure that your policy covers at least a minimum amount of damage caused by mold. Also, please be aware that many companies now exclude flood damage in their policies. This means that if a flood causes mold damage in your home, you will have to pay the price of the repairs. Each policy varies and some come with flood insurance which will cover your back if anything were to happen. You may also find that your homeowner's insurance offers an option to add mold damage coverage to your policy.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Leaks, Mold In My Attic, And Mold In My Bathroom?

There is no simple answer to this question. The fact of the matter is, it completely depends on your individual circumstances. Your homeowners' insurance will cover mold damage if the damage occurred from an accident that you reported right away. Take water leaks for example. If a pipe cracks or bursts in your home while you are at work and mold starts to form on the drywall by the time you get back, you’ll likely be covered. On the other hand, if you’ve had a leak in your kitchen for months and you now decide to fix it, you won’t be covered by your homeowners' insurance if there is damage caused by mold growth.

Mold Under Sink Insurance

More often than not, mold damage in the attic is covered as water damage in this area of a home is common and can go unnoticed for months. For example, if you’re hit by a harsh winter with a lot of rain, snow, and ice, you may find that water leaks through your roof into your attic. In this case, your insurance will likely cover the damage. When it comes to mold in the bathroom, it depends if it’s due to a leak or poor ventilation. If there is no leak, your insurance company will most likely blame the problem on a lack of ventilation, thus leaving you to pick up the cost of the damages.

Selling A Home With Mold: What You Need to Know

Selling A Home With Mold: What You Need to Know

I am selling my home and found mold! Now what? The potential is there for mold to be found in almost every home. Where there is any amount of moisture, mold can and will grow. However, the real estate community has become increasingly aware of serious mold issues – ones that can do significant damage to home sales. Molds such as Stachybotrys chart arum, or black mold, can cause serious health complications, and substantial liability issues for the sellers of homes that contain black mold. As a home seller, you cannot afford to mess around with mold growth. You can deal with mold in a responsible way that should help you sell your home for a fair price, and clear you of any liability should the mold return after the sale – but you must deal with the problem directly. There are not many things that will scare a home buyer away from your property than faster than mold!

How Does Mold Affect Home Sales

Selling a home with mold is not something you want to mess around with. There are buyers that will bail out of a home sale at the first mention of mold discovered in a property! Everyone is familiar with common household mold, the fungi that pop up in all kinds of moist environments. It grows on food left too long in the fridge, for instance. Unfortunately for homeowners, it also grows in attics, bathrooms, basements and virtually any moist surface around your home. If you see black spots developing on a wall in a poorly ventilated room, for example, you are probably noticing the beginning stages of a mold problem. Mold is all around you, generally in airborne spores searching for an ideal place to land and develop. In small amounts, it is not a problem, but when it finds a moist place in your home and you fail to notice it, it can quickly develop into a serious problem.

The Dangers of Mold

Mold causes real estate issuesSaveOf the thousands of different molds in your environment, there are a select few that prove harmful to humans through their proximity. These toxic molds, of which black mold is the most common, produce airborne byproducts that can damage your lungs and lead to general ill health. Asthma sufferers and others with lung complications experience the most problems with toxic mold, but it is capable of making healthy people sick as well. The most vulnerable populations to toxic mold are the elderly and infants. In reality, serious health complications from indoor molds are quite rare. Most people experience minor reactions from mold exposure, such as sneezing, runny nose or coughing – if they experience any symptoms at all. However, this argument will hold little weight with potential buyers should they discover black mold growing in your property.

Mold Problems for Home Sellers Why buy a house with mold?

No matter how slight the chances of developing serious complications from mold exposure, home buyers have every right to be cautious when mold issues might be present. This is probably one of the biggest purchases of their lives, and they could be planning to raise a family in the home. Also, there is no reason why they should pay for a home with mold as a home inspection problem when they could find an equally good deal on a home without such issues. As a home seller, you must take all of this into account. Those that have any kind of allergies that affect their respiratory track will be especially susceptible to mold.

Lawsuits

If a home buyer purchases your home and soon finds that there is a mold problem, there is a very good chance he or she could come after you with a lawsuit. Whether you knew about the problem and failed to mention it, or you did not take the time and expense to determine if there was a problem before the sale, you may find yourself facing some heavy consequences. Again selling a home with mold is not something you want to take lightly!

Price drop

If the buyer’s home inspector discovers a mold problem in your home, you will have difficulty getting the price you want for the home. The reduction in price will depend on the severity of the problem, but you have little hope of realizing your maximum asking price with a mold infestation. Many times the discovery is enough to drive off buyers altogether. In fact, the chances of a buyer backing out of the sale are fairly high even if you agree to take care of the problem. Right or wrong mold is one of those things that really spook home buyers.

What You Can Do As A Seller Start now

Ideally, you should begin addressing potential mold problems before you ever put your house on the market. Mold cleanup can take time, and you do not want buyers associating your home with ongoing mold remediation if you can help it.

Look thoroughly

Mold in a HomeSaveBegin by looking your home over as thoroughly as possible. Are there any areas where moisture tends to accumulate? Are there any places that you have not looked in a while, such as behind the water heater, in the basement or in the attic? Have you had any water damage problems, such as a leaking roof or a flooded basement? Examine your house from top to bottom for moisture penetration or accumulation. Not every home has a mold problem or is even at the particular risk of developing one. While every property has the potential for mold in small quantities, not all homes encourage serious mold growth. You should be able to determine where any major water infiltration has occurred if any, and you should be able to see any major mold growth on exterior surfaces.

Make repairs

Water damage is the main cause of mold infestations. Repair any such problems now, and keep an eye out for mold while making your repairs. In removing damaged materials you may discover infestations behind walls or in ceilings. If you do discover serious mold growth, stop work immediately and contact a mold cleanup professional.

Get a mold inspection

If you think there is a possibility of mold contamination, it may be a good idea to just bite the bullet and get an inspection done. Inspections are not cheap, but they can tell you whether there really is a problem. If there is, you can take care of it now. If there is not, you will have records demonstrating this fact to potential buyers. There are numerous companies that perform “mold remediation”. Typical a mold remediation will follow a two-step process. The first phase would be treating the mold with chemicals that will kill the mold. The second phase is a treatment that prevents the mold from growing back. A good mold removal company will typically offer a warranty for a number of years for the mold not returning to the home.

Document everything

Document all the repairs you make and all the testing results you receive. This is important for two reasons. First, you want to have these documents available to buyers with questions about mold, to demonstrate that you have addressed the problem as thoroughly as possible. Second, these documents will help protect you in the event that the buyer pursues legal action after they purchase the home. It is not unheard of for a buyer to go after a seller for problems that were not, in fact, the seller’s fault. Documentation will help protect you from this type of situation.

Pre-listing mold inspection

If you did have problems with mold or serious water damage but have done the necessary repairs to fix the problem, you may want to get an official inspection done to prove that the situation has been resolved. Having such documents available will make you look good to buyers and will quickly resolve any concerns they may have.

Assume partial mold removal costs

Head in the sand about mold removalSaveThere are situations where your home may be prone to infestations of mold. Even If you have addressed the problem, done the necessary repairs and hired a mold remediation expert, there may still be a possibility of mold problems in the future. Testing may still show that some mold exists, even after all of your efforts. Levels may be low enough to be safe, but any mold could be enough to worry a potential buyer. Don’t have your head buried in the sand thinking you will find a buyer that won’t care about mold. That is highly unlikely to happen!

When you are in a situation like this, what you have to do is find out what is still causing the mold to return. While a mold remediation company can get rid of the mold via their chemical treatments if the underlying cause of the mold growth is not taken care of, the potential for mold to return will always exist. This is a situation where it would make sense to either address the suspected cause of the issue or at the very least give the buyer a credit to deal with it. While you may not want to pay for repairs on a house that will no longer be yours, you may save yourself greater expenses later on. If the mold does come back, the buyer will have a very hard time getting any more money from you than the amount agreed to. Of course, you should consult with an attorney before signing any agreement. However, this could save you money in the long run on a problem property.

Face Mold Head On

Mold is a fact of home ownership for most people. Like all sellers, you want to sell your home for as much as possible as quickly as possible. However, failing to deal with mold issues is asking for trouble, and could cause you problems long after the sale is supposedly over. Keep in mind that if a buyer discovers mold in your home they are most likely going to ask you for remediation.

Don’t be stubborn enough to think that if you decide not to deal with the problem the next buyer will be fine with taking on a mold issue. That is highly unlikely and your real estate agent is going to be required to disclose this issue to any future buyers. Address your mold problems head-on, and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with a clean and certain sale. Below you will find a good educational video about selling a home with mold. It is well worth a look for those people who flat out decide they will not buy a home where mold has been discovered.

Are There Any Complications With Mold?

Are There Any Complications With Mold?

Yes, having Mold at home can bring complications. Most allergic responses to mold involve hay fever-type symptoms that can make you miserable but aren't serious. However, certain allergic conditions caused by mold are more severe. Complications with mold include:

Mold-induced asthma. In people allergic to mold, breathing in spores can trigger an asthma flare-up. If you have a mold allergy and asthma, be sure you have an emergency plan in place in case of a severe asthma attack. Allergic fungal sinusitis. This results from an inflammatory reaction to fungus in the sinuses. Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis. This reaction to fungus in the lungs can occur in people with asthma or cystic fibrosis. complications with mold also include Hypersensitivity pneumonitis. This rare condition occurs when exposure to airborne particles such as mold spores causes the lungs to become inflamed. It may be triggered by exposure to allergy-causing dust at work.

Other problems caused by mold

Besides allergens, the mold may pose other health risks to susceptible people. For example, the mold may cause infections of the skin or mucous membranes. Generally, however, mold doesn't cause systemic infections except for people with impaired immune systems, such as those who have HIV/AIDS or who are taking immunosuppressant medication.
Prevention

To reduce mold growth in your home, consider these tips:

  • Eliminate sources of dampness in basements, such as pipe leaks or groundwater seepage.
  • Use a dehumidifier in any area of your home that smells musty or damp. Keep your humidity levels below 50 percent. Remember to clean the collection bucket and condensation coils regularly.
  • Use an air conditioner, and consider installing central air conditioning with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter attachment. The HEPA filter can trap mold spores from the outdoor air before they're circulated inside your home.
  • Change filters on your furnace and air conditioners regularly. Have forced air heating ducts inspected and, if necessary, cleaned.
  • Be sure all bathrooms are properly ventilated, and run the ventilation fan during a shower or bath and immediately after to dry the air. If you don't have a ventilation fan, open a window or door while you're showering or bathing.
  • Don't carpet bathrooms and basements.
  • Promote groundwater drainage away from your house by removing leaves and vegetation from around the foundation and cleaning out rain gutters frequently.
  • Keep organic plant containers clean and dry, such as those made of straw, wicker or hemp.
  • Toss or recycle old books and newspapers. If left in damp places, such as basements, they can quickly become moldy.

Note: This article is informational only. When making purchasing decisions, conduct your own research.

 

5 Tips to Pump Water Out of a Basement

5 Tips to Pump Water Out of a Basement

Here are some tips to Pump Water Out of a Basement. Remove standing water as soon as possible to reduce damage.

Whether you’re the victim of a broken water line or regional flooding, water in the basement always spells trouble. Once the source of the water is contained, pumping out the basement as quickly as possible is essential. You can pay a water removal service to pump out the water, but after widespread flooding, these companies might not be able to get to your basement for a few days. You can rent the same equipment the pros use from construction rental stores and some hardware stores. Pumping out the basement isn’t difficult, but there are safety considerations.

  1. Before Pumping Floodwater. Wait until exterior floodwaters recede. If water is standing in your yard around your home’s foundation, it’s too soon to pump. Shut off electricity to the house if it’s still on. Keep children and animals away from the basement. A submersible pump is necessary for removing the water. The pump is encased in a waterproof shell and features a sealed electrical cord and a fitting that connects to a regular garden hose or a sump hose, which is larger in diameter. The larger the hose, the more quickly the pump will remove the water. In addition to the pump and a hose, you’ll need a heavy-duty extension cord and a generator to run the pump. A nylon rope is necessary for lowering the pump if the water is more than a few feet deep.
  2. Setting Up the Pump. Attach the extension cord to the pump cord before putting the pump in the basement. Secure the connection where no water can reach it by looping the cords around a ceiling joist or another heavy object that will hold the connection where it won’t get wet. Attach a garden hose or a sump hose to the fitting on the top of the pump and tie a nylon rope to the top of the pump. Most pumps have a place on top of the pump where you can tie the rope. Position the end of the hose away from the house on a grade where the water can drain into a gutter or storm sewer.
  3. Pumping Out the Water. Lower the pump into the basement, using the rope. If you’ve only got few inches of standing water, you can wear rubber boots and position the pump on the floor at the lowest spot. Once the pump is in place, start the generator and plug the extension cord into the generator. This will start the pump. You can speed the removal process by running two or more pumps at the same time. Once the water level is down to a few inches, position the pump at the lowest level in the basement to remove all the water.
  4. Wet/Dry Vacuum for Small Problems. If the water problem is limited to a small area and is less than 1-inch deep, you might be able to pump out the water with a wet/dry vacuum. Wet/dry vacuums work well, but they draw the water into a tank, which holds about 4 to 5 gallons of water. Each time the tank is full, you must carry it upstairs or to a basement drain and dump it. For anything more than very small water problems, this can quickly become labor-intensive.
  5. Dry-Out Considerations. The general rule is that you should replace anything porous if it was saturated with water to prevent the risk of mold growth. This includes drywall paneling and carpeting. There are companies that will come in and dry out carpet, but their service is often nearly as expensive as replacing the carpet. For walls, remove drywall paneling and let the wood framing dry completely before installing new drywall. Running a dehumidifier can speed the drying process. Check with your local health department for tips on reducing mold risk.

Note: This article is informational only. When making purchasing decisions, conduct your own research.

5 Tips to Prevent Water Damage

5 Tips to Prevent Water Damage

Most Homeowners insurance policies cover basic water damage claims up to the purchased limit. But you know what’s a lot easier than going through the claims process? Preventing the water damage in the first place!

Check out these 5 Tips to Prevent Water Damage:

1. Be careful where you plant. Some plants and trees, like weeping willows, have pretty invasive roots. If you’re not careful, they’ll grow right into your sprinkler system, drainage field, pipes, and septic tanks. Plan before you plant to keep roots away from any water lines.

2. Clean out roof gutters.You know it’s on your to-do list anyway, so if you can, take a safe climb up to your roof next Sunday and check out your gutters. If you’re seeing lots of leaves, birds’ nests, sticks, and whatnot up there, your gutters may not be doing the job you hired them for. And on a rainy day, a clogged gutter can send water spilling into your home’s foundation, through the roof, or down to your basement. That could cause some serious water damage! So next time you’re doing some seasonal cleaning, make sure those gutters are clean. And if your gutters are too high, be safe and get a professional to check them.

3. Keep an eye on your water bill.With so many water pipes hidden behind walls and in the floors in your house, you might not know there’s a leak until the damage is done. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep a close eye on your monthly water bill. If you see it starting to creep up or get one that’s uncommonly high, it’s a pretty good sign that you may have a leak somewhere.

4. Use a drain snake instead of unclogging chemicals. No matter how crazy clean you are, from your shower to your kitchen sink, clogs are going to happen. And chances are at some point in your life you’ve used one of those powerful chemical drain cleaners to get things moving again. But as convenient as they may be, most folks don’t realize those caustic chemicals are also eating away at their pipes (and they might not be too good for you either). If you rely on them a lot, you could be setting yourself up for leaks. That’s why owning a drain snake is a good solution to clear away clogs. They’re pretty inexpensive, you can get them at your local hardware store, and they can cut through most any clog you’ll have without damaging pipes or making your eyes red and teary.

5. Never pour grease down your sink.You’ve probably heard this before, but you should definitely avoid pouring grease down your kitchen sink. It doesn’t matter if you flush it with hot or cold water. It can still congeal and cling to your pipes, and could still cause some serious damage and blockage. Some people use detergent to break up grease before pouring it down the drain…and that may help sometimes. But there’s no guarantee that it’ll keep the grease from sticking to your pipes, so why take the risk?The safest thing to do is just to pour your grease in an empty can, and either let it sit or put it in the refrigerator. Once it hardens you can toss it in the trash and get rid of it. Done and done.

Note: This article is informational only. When making purchasing decisions, conduct your own research.

What are the symptoms of mold exposure?

What are the symptoms of mold exposure?

If you have a mold allergy, your immune system overreacts when you breathe in mold spores. A mold allergy can make you a cough, make your eyes itch and cause other symptoms that make you miserable. In some people, mold allergy is linked to asthma and exposure causes restricted breathing and other airway symptoms. If you have a mold allergy, the best defense is to reduce your exposure to the types of mold that cause your reaction. Medications can help keep mold allergy reactions under control.

Symptoms

Mold allergy causes the same signs and symptoms that occur in other types of upper respiratory allergies. Signs and symptoms of allergic rhinitis caused by mold allergy can include:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Cough and postnasal drip
  • Itchy eyes, nose and throat
  • Watery eyes
  • Dry, scaly skin
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness

When to see a doctor?

If you have a stuffy nose, sneezing, watery eyes, shortness of breath, wheezing or other bothersome symptoms that persist, see your doctor. Like any allergy, mold allergy symptoms are triggered by an overly sensitive immune system response. When you inhale tiny, airborne mold spores, your body recognizes them as foreign invaders and develops allergy-causing antibodies to fight them. After the exposure has passed, you still produce antibodies that "remember" this invader so that any later contact with the mold causes your immune system to react. This reaction triggers the release of substances such as histamine, which causes itchy, watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing and other mold allergy symptoms.

How common is Mold?

Molds are very common both inside and outside. There are many types, but only certain kinds of mold cause allergies. Being allergic to one type of mold doesn't necessarily mean you'll be allergic to another. Some of the most common molds that cause allergies include alternaria, aspergillus, cladosporium and penicillium.

Risk factors

A number of factors can make you more likely to develop a mold allergy or worsen your existing mold allergy symptoms, including:

  • Having a family history of allergies. If allergies and asthma run in your family, you're more likely to develop a mold allergy.
  • Working in an occupation that exposes you to mold. Occupations where mold exposure may be high include farming, dairy work, logging, baking, millwork, carpentry, greenhouse work, winemaking and furniture repair.
  • Living in a house with high humidity. If your indoor humidity is higher than 50 percent, you may have increased exposure to mold in your home.

Other facts:

Mold can grow virtually anywhere if the conditions are right — in basements, behind walls in framing, on soap-coated grout and other damp surfaces, in carpet pads, and in the carpet itself. Exposure to high levels of household mold may trigger mold allergy symptoms. Working or living in a building that's been exposed to excess moisture. Examples include leaky pipes, water seepage during rainstorms and flood damage. At some point, nearly every building has some kind of excessive moisture. This moisture can allow mold to flourish. Living in a house with poor ventilation. Tight window and door seals may trap moisture indoors and prevent proper ventilation, creating ideal conditions for mold growth. Damp areas — such as bathrooms, kitchens, and basements — are most vulnerable.

Note: This article is informational only. When making purchasing decisions, conduct your own research.

7 Useful Mold Prevention Tips

7 Useful Mold Prevention Tips

Read and get 7 Useful Mold Prevention Tips. If you have other questions or you find mold at home, give us a call any time we are open 24/7 (866) 334-9111

  1. Keep humidity levels as low as you can—no higher than 50%–all day long. An air conditioner or dehumidifier will help you keep the level low. Bear in mind that humidity levels change over the course of a day with changes in the moisture in the air and the air temperature, so you will need to check the humidity levels more than once a day.
  2. Be sure your home has enough ventilation. Use exhaust fans which vent outside your home in the kitchen and bathroom. Make sure your clothes dryer vents outside your home.
  3. Fix any leaks in your home’s roof, walls, or plumbing so mold does not have moisture to grow.
  4. Clean up and dry out your home thoroughly and quickly (within 24–48 hours) after flooding.
  5. Add mold inhibitors to paints before painting.
  6. Clean bathrooms with mold-killing products.
  7. Remove or replace carpets and upholstery that have been soaked and cannot be dried promptly. Consider not using carpet in rooms or areas like bathrooms or basements that may have a lot of moisture.

Note: This article is informational only. When making purchasing decisions, conduct your own research.