Mermin inspections Blog

Archive for September, 2011

Fireservice Disaster Kleenup

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Fireservice Disaster Kleenup
We, at Fireservice Disaster Kleenup, are most often asked the “Will my insurance pay for the mold damage?” It is always hard to say, due to the wording in many policies. Mold easily grows if it finds food and moisture sources inside your home. Food sources include drywall, insulation, cabinetry and carpeting, and small water leaks that provide enough moisture for mold to grow. Homeowners generally have a tough time trying to get insurers to cover mold-related problems. Your homeowners policy may only cover mold problems under strict conditions if it covers such problems at all.

The terms of homeowner’s policies vary from state to state and among insurers. Standard policies generally don’t cover mold problems when the mold results from maintenance issues, such as A/C breaking, old water leaks, improper water drainage around the exterior of your home, etc. Standard homeowner’s policies also don’t cover exterior flood damage, so any mold problems that result from exterior flooding generally aren’t covered. You will need to acquire Flood Insurance for flooding due to outside water such as excessive rain. Homeowner’s policies usually cover accidental occurrences such as a pipe bursting inside your home. Therefore, any mold growth related to that kind of occurrence is usually covered under a standard policy.

The Insurance Information Institute describes mold growth that results from extreme humidity or visible water leaks from pipes or appliances as maintenance issues that should be dealt with by the homeowner. Any mold growth that develops in such situations wouldn’t be covered by the typical homeowner’s policy. The institute also suggests that homeowners should have mold cleaned up as soon as they spot it to keep it from spreading throughout the home.

I warn homeowners to closely read their policies to ensure they understand the terms. Some insurers make efforts to avoid or limit their risks for handling mold claims. For example, some insurance companies exclude coverage for any mold-related claims, but they provide what’s known as a buy-back endorsement. A buy-back endorsement would give you some coverage for household mold problems if you pay extra for your policy. Still, that extra coverage may limit the amount of money you would receive for mold-related problems.

Insurers regularly exclude coverage for most mold problems in homeowner’s policies because mold growth is common and could potentially cost insurers millions of dollars in claims. The Insurance Information Institute asserts that the price of homeowner’s policies would be driven up if insurers were required to cover claims for mold problems. Modern home construction methods make homes airtight to prevent air leaks that increase heating and cooling costs. The downside is that airtight homes trap moisture that aids mold growth.

Fireservice Disaster Kleenup can help guide you through the claim process to help ensure that the work needed is covered by the insurance companies. We have been able to assist thousands of clients through our 42 years of business. Also, we have seen where Jacob Mermin Inspections Inc. has been able to identify the types of mold that is present and also been able to locate the cause of the issue.

I would suggest setting an appointment with your agent to sit and discuss all the items that you are covered for on your insurance. Here are a few simple questions to ask them:

1. What is included in my homeowner’s policy (structural, contents, liability coverage, additional living expenses)? Can I raise the amount of coverage for certain areas in my policy? How often?

2. What is excluded from my policy? What areas have limited coverage?

3. What would it cost to rebuild my home? What would it cost to replace the items in my home?

4. Do I need a separate policy to include exterior structures (garages, sheds, gazebos, pools, etc.)?

5. What disasters or ‘perils’ am I insured for (theft, fire, tornado, vandalism, etc.)?

6. Do I need flood, earthquake or an umbrella policy?

7. In the event of a flood what would be covered? Do I need separate insurance for coverage of possessions?

8. Am I covered in events of water damage (i.e. frozen pipes, burst pipes, leaky appliances, sewer back-up, rainwater, seepage and leaks, flash flooding)? For which events am I covered or not covered? What is your definition of ‘flooding’, meaning I’m not covered?

9. Do I need sewer back up insurance?

10. Does my policy include a separate deductible for risks like hurricane or hail?

11. Will my policy cover repairs and/or replacement of the appliances in my home?

12. Do I need separate insurance for animals and their possessions in my home?

13. Do I need separate insurance for my home-based business (liability, structural, possessions)? What types are available?

Thanks for reading and I hope that this helps.

Jamey Nassef
Fort Myers: 239-936-1033
Naples: 239-261-1422
Marco Island: 239-963-2358
Cell: 239-823-7278