Mold is a dangerous substance that, at the very least, can cause sinus problems, and at the worst, even more serious health problems. If you have a mold allergy or asthma, it can be a real struggle. Mold is an insidious problem that you may not even notice in your home until it’s visible. Read on to find out what you can do about it.
Signs of Mold in Your Home
Does your house smell earthy, like dirt? Or is there a persistent musty smell? These could be indicators that there is mold growing inside your home, even if you can’t see it. If you do see dark patches on your ceiling, especially collecting in a corner, that is likely mold.
The Cost of Removing Mold
If you have a mold problem, you will likely face high costs to have it removed. A mold remediation company will come and assess the degree of the damage, checking ceilings, attics, walls, ductwork and more. These costs can range from $500 to $6,000. Because of the high costs, you may hope your homeowners insurance will cover it. But odds are, it won’t.
What Homeowners Insurance Will Cover
You’ll find that homeowners insurance is more likely to cover an immediate problem, such as damage caused by a burst pipe. If mold starts to grow after a specific incident—a burst pipe, leaking dryer hose, air-conditioning water overflow—it will typically grow within 24 to 48 hours. If you make a claim right then and there, you will likely be covered. But if the mold is weather-related or something that has been growing for a period of time, you most likely won’t be covered. Here’s why: Usually, the cause of the problem is more important to insurance companies than the result. For example, if you’re found to be negligent in some way, resulting in a mold issue, your insurance company will likely not cover it. From the insurance company’s perspective, they expect you to maintain your home and prevent issues like mold. So if you haven’t visited your basement in months, and you suddenly find that mold has taken over the carpets and walls down there, you’ll be considered negligent and out of luck when you make a claim.
How to Prevent Mold in Your Home
The key to saving money from mold problems is prevention. Mold thrives in humid, dark areas where the temperature doesn’t fluctuate too much. That’s why it’s important to have proper ventilation in your bathroom. Remove any leaking water immediately, whether it’s from a leaky roof or in your laundry area. The water that forms from these places may result in mold that will be evident over time, and it will be too late to be covered by insurance.
Once you’ve found mold in the house, you can try to remove it with a water and bleach solution. But if it’s already spread, it may be best to consult a remediation company to safely remove it, so you don’t develop a health problem.
When Homeowners Insurance DOES Cover Mold
If you live in an older home and aren’t sure if there could be a growing mold problem, you can have extra mold coverage added to your insurance policy. However, keep in mind that this will cost extra, especially if your house is considered a higher risk. High-risk homes are usually older, because the condition of the pipes and other areas inside aren’t certain. Also, if there were previous mold claims at your existing home, you can expect to pay even more for additional mold coverage. For many homeowners in the Northeast, the age of the house and volatile weather conditions—producing snow melt and water runoff—can make tackling mold an unpredictable, frustrating task. And for that reason alone, you might want to opt for some additional coverage just in case.
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