Does your insurance policies offer full coverage in the event of a mold related claim?
The US Environmental Protection Agency named September: National Mold Awareness Month, so we thought it would be a good time to talk about how it can cause significant damage to your home, how mold relates to insurance and finally some simple preventative tips to keep mold damage away.
Mold can damage your personal property
Mold can be found everywhere. It likes to grow in damp, out of the way, hard to reach places. This can make it difficult to detect. Once it has begun to grow, mold latches on to surfaces and begins decomposing and damaging them. It can cause harm to personal property causing discoloration or deterioration of furniture, books and clothing. It can also be found in basements, attics and behind walls causing damage to ceilings and structural integrity.
Damage associated with mold may be excluded in a typical homeowner’s insurance policy
Just as exclusions for floods cause a gap in a homeowner’s insurance policy, exclusions for mold also causes claims to be denied. The exclusions are extensive; care needs to be taken when reviewing policies to ensure all property would be protected. Some important areas to keep in mind include:
- Many exclusions for mold also apply to bacteria as well.
- Mold exclusions apply to any amount of the fungi. A small speck of mold can lead to a full exclusion.
- In some states, bacteria falls into more than one category, mold as well as pollutants, and is often excluded in both.
- Attention needs to be paid to the details of the policy. For example, the phrase, in whole or in part, without a threshold amount qualifier, a speck of mold would exclude the claim.
An Environmental Insurance Policy is needed to fill in the gaps for both personal and commercial insurance. If you have specific questions regarding exclusions related to mold, fungi or bacteria, don’t hesitate to contact your favorite Advocate Brokerage representative at 914-723-7100.
Tips to keep mold damage at bay:
The key to controlling mold is to control moisture.
Keep mold out of your home by keeping it clean and dry.
Tips to prevent the growth of mold include:
- Wipe up spills as soon as they occur.
- Don’t allow mildew to form in tubs and showers.
- Ventilate during and up to 30 minutes after a shower.
- Keep the air circulating. Run air conditioning, use fans & keep closet doors open to improve the flow.
- Fix plumbing as soon as it leaks.
- Make sure the relative humidity in your home stays between 30 – 60%
- Perform regular HVAC inspections & maintenance.
- Provide proper drainage & be sure all landscaping slopes away from the foundation of your home.