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Does Insurance Cover Mold Damage?

Tuesday, June 16th, 2020
mold damage

Mold damage in homes is common, but is it commonly covered by standard homeowner’s insurance? Like so many questions about insurance coverage, this typical answer frequently applies to mold damage, too: “It depends.”

Specific circumstances surrounding mold contamination issues can spell the difference between fair insurance compensation and having to pay for the damage out of your own pocket. Here are some examples of when homeowner’s insurance coverage applies to mold damage and when it doesn’t.  

Sudden and Accidental” Incidents

This represents the largest category of mold damage that does qualify for coverage under a standard homeowner’s policy. Water damage inside the house is the most common cause of mold. The “sudden and accidental” term applies to unforeseeable water damage incidents such as sudden pipe breakage, an appliance overflow, or a ruptured water heater. Another cause that qualifies under this category is mold due to water released by firefighters extinguishing a fire in the house.

Maintenance Issues and Chronic Causes

Mold may be caused by ongoing problems that aren’t recognized and/or not responsibly addressed by the homeowner. This includes scenarios like a roof leak that isn’t repaired in a timely manner or neglected household plumbing maintenance. When mold ensues after one of these preventable causes, coverage under a standard homeowner’s policy will usually be denied.  

Certain circumstances beyond the homeowner’s control may also rule out compensation for mold damage. For example, if mold growth is triggered by high humidity which is a natural feature of the local climate, insurance compensation for mold remediation will be denied. 

Are There Other Options?

In certain cases, insurance companies offer a special mold endorsement to a standard homeowner’s policy that includes many types of contamination not usually covered. This is available at an increased yearly premium.

What About Flooding?

Water damage and resultant mold contamination due to outdoor flooding or inundation from severe storms aren’t covered by homeowner’s insurance. Insurance coverage for damage caused by flooding is provided by the National Flood Insurance Program, a program administered by the federal government and available to all homeowners.  

How to Effectively Deal With Mold Damage in Your Home

Tuesday, July 16th, 2019

Many of the effects of mold contamination inside a house require the services of a mold remediation specialist to resolve. In most cases, homeowner’s insurance will stipulate a qualified professional with the credentials and technology to do the job. However, do-it-yourself efforts may be useful in dealing with both causes and effects of mold contamination in certain limited circumstances. Here are some suggestions:

  • Eliminate contributing factors. Homeowners can help resolve conditions which trigger contamination in the first place and then spread mold damage. Track down and resolve chronic moisture issues such as leaky plumbing, roof leaks and excessive indoor humidity. Ventilate damp spaces like the basement and attic that tend to spawn mold. Immediately dry any areas that accidentally become wet.
  • Protect air quality. Make sure your HVAC air filter traps airborne mold spores that spread contamination. Filters with a MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating of at least 11 will remove about 80% of airborne spores. In homes where mold damage is a concern the filter should be changed every month.
  • Increase circulation. Mold prospers in stagnant, dark environments, so keeping air circulation optimal also helps inhibit contamination. Regularly open doors and air out closed, unused rooms and closets. Make sure all HVAC supply and return vents in the house are open and unobstructed. Open curtains and shades to let in sunlight.
  • Tackle the small stuff. Though significant, advanced mold contamination doesn’t respond well to DIY methods, there’s no reason not to attack minor, limited outbreaks before they become major issues. Over the counter mold cleaners can be used to knock down mold growth on tile grout in damp bathrooms or kitchens, for example. Where caulking around windows or elsewhere is contaminated, it can be extracted and replaced with new caulking. If only a small area in a room—such as just one corner of a sheet of drywall—shows signs of mold, you can hire a inexpensive handyman to cut out that limited portion and replace it. Then, use mold cleaner as a preventive measure on all other surfaces in the affected room to inhibit recurrence.

When mold is present due to water damage, or if the mold contamination is significant, it’s time for a professional to be called to deal with the situation effectively.

What is an IICRC Certified Professional (and How do They Protect Homes?)

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

mold damageThe benefits of an IICRC certified professional are in place long before you actually require qualified expertise in water damage recovery or mold remediation. The Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) is a non-profit industry organization that tests and certifies the knowledge and skills of personnel who will arrive at your door on the day you need competent service to deal with a water damage incident or mold contamination. At what will likely be a stressful and confusing time, you’ll appreciate the experience and technical skills brought to the scene by employees who are trained and IICRC certified. Another of the benefits of an IICRC professional is the fact that every step of the recovery process will be performed according to published IICRC standards — the accepted industry criteria for water damage recovery and mold remediation.

Water damage recovery firms that employ workers with IICRC certification have invested in a process that ensures consistency and professionalism. Employees must attend classes and seminars and accumulate a specific amount of actual field experience, then pass comprehensive exams in basic water restoration or mold remediation. To move up to the next level, a candidate for journeyman certification must be certified for water damage recovery as well as carpet cleaning and carpet repair and installation. To earn master certification, applied structural drying, advanced microbial remediation, and health and safety certification are added to journeyman requirements.

Effective damage recovery entails much more than just removing water from the home. The restorers with IICRC certification are well-versed in the techniques to fully dry a home all the way down to the substructure, returning the house to its condition prior to water damage. All are trained and have the onsite experience to seek out and locate all moisture sources, limit the spread of damage in the house, effectively dry all types of building materials and carpets onsite, and evaluate and remove active mold growth.

Make sure you receive the benefits of an IICRC certified professional by contacting Rytech, Inc. for water damage and mold remediation services.

Myths About Mold That No Homeowner Should Fall For

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Mold in the home is the source of many myths; that’s no surprise. An air of mystery surrounds mold contamination and its ill effects. Dormant mold spores are invisible and yet all around us, both indoors and out. Active growing mold often occurs covertly, hidden from sight in inaccessible areas of the house. Effective mold decontamination strategies must be based on science and experience—not mythology. Here are some of the myths you may hear as you confront mold issues in your home.

  • mildew removalMYTH: Household bleach is an effective mold treatment. Bleach may whiten the appearance of mold, but it doesn’t neutralize mold growth on the affected surface. Mold growing on non-porous surfaces may be wiped away, but when it invades porous surfaces, wiping with or without bleach won’t effectively decontaminate the area.
  • MYTH: Sharp eyes can detect mold. Mold spores can’t be seen by the naked eye, and mold growth most often occurs out of sight. Instead of your eyes, your nose is a better mold detector. That musty, moldy smell associated with zones like a crawl space or damp basement is a dead giveaway.
  • MYTH: Indoors or out, mold is hazardous. Actually, fungi growing in the great outdoors is an important part of nature’s cycle. Only when mold is growing indoors is it generally a health issue, due to the extremely high concentration of airborne spores that can’t disperse in the enclosed interior of a home.
  • MYTH: All mold is toxic. The fact is, most forms of mold are benign. However, the variety most troublesome to susceptible individual, known as Stachybotrys, is unfortunately one of the most common forms. Also known as black mold, the reproductive spores released by this type are associated with a number of illnesses in humans.

To bust more myths about mold in the home, or to ensure mold contamination is tackled the right way, contact the specialists at Rytech, Inc.

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6 Tips for Management Companies to Protect Property from Mold Damage

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

mold damageMold prevention tips for property management help property managers maintain a safe and healthy environment for tenants. One of the most serious threats to that mission is the presence of toxic mold in a structure.  (more…)