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How to Handle Mold & Water Damage Claims

Home Insurance Policies

As many of you may already know, mold damage is specifically excluded from all home insurance companies. According to Vicki Lankarge in her book “What Every Home Owner Needs to Know About Mold & What to Do About It,” she lists 4 damages resulting in exclusion from home insurance policies:

  • Normal wear and tear
  • Poor maintenance (you should have replaced the shower grout, but didn’t)
  • Standing or surface water (unles it’s floodwater and you purchased separate flood insurance)
  • Construction mistakes or defects (nails accidentally driven into water pipes or faulty home design)

Note : It is important to understand and be knowledgeable about what your insurance policy covers and what it does not.

Mold & Water Damage Claims

Again, Vicki Lankarge in her words of the same book, lists 14 steps to follow after your water damage claim has been identified :

    • Stop the water leak or flow of water.
    • Notify your insurer immediately. If you let any damage fester and don’t report it immediately, our claim may be denied. Remember, sudden leaks are covered, but chronic leaks are not.
    • Ask what is required of you. Your duties, as outlined in most home insurance policies, may include:

1. Giving prompt written notice to your insurer of the facts surrounding your claim.

2. Protect your property from further damage.

3. Performing reasonable and necessary repairs to protect your property.

4. Keeping an accurate record of your repair expenses.

  • Make a list of your damaged property and photograph or videotape the damage before making repairs.
  • Don’t make large structural or permanent repairs to protect your home and belongings until your insurer has the opportunity to inspect the damage and gives you authorization to make permanent repairs.The insurance company may deny your claim if you amke permanent repairs before it inspects the damage.
  • Remove standing water and begin drying the area.
  • Remove water-soaked materials.
  • Keep removed materials and move them to a secure, dry, and well-ventilated area, or outdoors.
  • Protect repairable and undamaged items from further damage.
  • Keep an activity log, including a record of all contact with your insurance company. This is extremely important.A log not only helps you stay focused and organized, it may play a key part in negotiations with your insurer should you encounter problems with your claim later on.
  • Keep all receipts. For personal property claims, you must proved evidence that you bought the replacement items. If you bought materials for temporary repairs, receipts will help you get reimbursed.
  • Don’t throw away removed or damaged materials until instructed by your insurance company.
  • Don’t jeopardize your safety.
  • Don’t exceed your personal financial or physical capabilites.

Further Recommended Reading :

Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

Source: Lankarge, Vicki. “What Every Homeowner Needs to Know About Mold & What to Do About It.” 60-65.

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39 thoughts on “How to Handle Mold & Water Damage Claims

  1. Can mold symptoms affect pets. let’s say cats? And, can that kind of exposure be shared between pet and pet- owner?

  2. J.J. –

    Mold toxicity can and does affect most animals. Even to the point of death. Read this article shared on Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Black Toxic Mold Deadly to Animals.

    As far as I am aware, mold symptoms are not like a cold that can be passed from person to person. A person only gets symptomatic from direct contact or exposure to the contaminated area of mold. If a cat were to carry mold spores containing the mold toxins on its fur or paws, etc it may be possible. However even that is unlikely. The cat would have to be carrying large amounts of such spores and you would need contact for a significant amount of time.

    If anyone else has anything to add, please don’t hesitate! =)

    Thank you J.J. – I hope this has helped.

    Joslyn from the MoldBlogger Team

  3. Pingback: Book Review: “What Every Home Owner Needs to Know About Mold..” - The Mold Blog
  4. after i review that head line ,i have some data to share with all the reviewers that learn from a website http://www.restorationflorida.com
    they explain that once you have mold and area affected with mold,the mold already starting to spread by the air and even from your air condition infecting other areas and for taking care of them you need first to stop that air flow to the other areas and close the affected area than call to remediation company to clean and disinfect your house from been infected

  5. Good blog! We see more insurance filings with people who never budgeted for water and fire damage problems. Insurance does not always pay for all associated costs so people need to be aware of their insurance policy.

  6. Came across this site and LOVE it! You guys have really put a lot of thought into this and the advise is spot on.

    Thanks!

  7. A lot of states are requiring state licenses for doing mold and water damage restoration work.

  8. There’s an interesting article regarding flood damage (particularly as it relates to basements, where you’re going to run into mold problems almost without a doubt) from the magazine Adjusting Today. It expands a bit on a few of the points that this blog discusses, but also has relevant information for someone who might be going through this problem right now and may have questions regarding what steps need to be taken before a professional is contacted.

    http://www.adjustersinternational.com/AdjustingToday/ATfullinfo.cfm?start=7&page_no=7&pdfID=44#Base

    It’s a free online mag, so you won’t need to sign up or anything like that.

    Great blog! Keep up the good work.

    -Brian

  9. I also agree with it that mold symptoms are not like a cold that can be passed from person to person. A person only gets symptomatic from direct contact or exposure to the contaminated area of mold

  10. i have mold and my landlord does not want to fix it and i have four small children one with seziures and one with
    asthma and one with allergies and i have a ten month old too what can i do he told me to use bleach on it and i can not be around bleach please help any info i would be greatfully thanks christina from pa

  11. After any water damage situation, your primary focus should be safety first:

    •Is it safe to stay in the house?

    •Electrical and “slip and fall” hazards are some of the most prevalent concerns.

    •Only do activities that are safe for you to perform.

    •Wet materials can be VERY heavy. Be careful!

  12. Pingback: Flood Insurance Confusion – Is Mold Damage Covered? | The Mold Blog
  13. Your municipal health department can help you get a landlord to address mold situations.

  14. Great post it is very informative. Just wanted to add, be sure to take lots of photos and keep good records of things that were damaged.

  15. Mold can form in your house when the RH is as low as 60%, it can be very hard to keep on top of in some parts of the country. Good article!

  16. The use of chlorine bleach is not recommended as a routine practice during mold cleanup. There may be instances, however, when professional judgment may indicate its use (for example, when immune-compromised individuals are present). If you want to effectively kill mold, use an EPA registered mold fungicide. Click here for more info from EPA’s website

  17. I would like to add that the homeowner or commercial property owner should try at best not to touch the mold in anyway. Effecting the mold in anyway may create more mold through mold spores distribution and effect the way the insurance adjuster responds to your claim.

  18. We recently had a slab leak in our home and have a lot of water damage downstairs and think we may have mold. I’m not sure if testing is a good idea or if we can assume we have mold due to the fact it was a pretty big flood? All our baseboards and drywall got wet about 4 feet up from the floor … total nightmare!

  19. Good to know about your blog and you have shared such a useful information about Mold can form in your house when the RH is as low as 60%, it can be very hard to keep on top of in some parts of the country. Good article!
    Thanks for sharing with us.

  20. Mold remediation and water damage restoration go hand in hand, so finding a professional company in the local area is important. Make sure to document what happened with photos and know what your insurance policy covers and what it doesn’t.

  21. Good information to know for every homeowner about mold damage. Thanks for the article.

  22. Always remember the rule of the thumb. Eliminate items that cannot be washed or disinfected. This applies to wooden utensils such as plate, spoons, chopping boards and alike.

  23. Really interesting and helpful blog!! I will be sure to check back here regularly! I own and run my own specialist flood damage restoration company. Ive also got my own website if you want to check me out! Flood Damage Restoration Looking forward to reading more from you! 😉

  24. Nice post. I like the way you start and then conclude your thoughts. Thanks for this information .I really appreciate your work, keep it up.Our water damage clean up professionals repair ,water damage clean up

  25. Good post….thanks for sharing.. very useful for me i will bookmark this for my future needs. Thanks.

    folloe us: water removal

  26. With water damage claim, be careful with your insurance company. You should attend to a water damage problem immediately. Document all damages. There are water damage company that directly works with insurance company too.

    Restoration Express

  27. It is important to be as up front as possible with your insurance company. A professional mold removal can cost a lot of money and the homeowner would want to make sure they are covered and not making the issue worse.

  28. Hi..yeah i agree with you in every detail posted, very informative, im sure this blog post will help a lot when it comes to mold and water damage claims. Thanks for sharing this one!

  29. Thanks for the tips! I found out that my basement was flooded last week. I’ve been having a tough time figuring out how to deal with the property damages. It helps to have a list of things that I should do in case my basement floods. I’ll be sure to contact my insurance agency right now and tell them the details to the damage to my basement.

  30. My insurance said replacement of lost items due to mold was not covered by our policy but didn’t
    tell us this beforehand. I can’t afford to replace everything so do you know of another way to get them to replace or reimburse me?

  31. I’m completely new to the concept of water damage; however, out of necessity, I’m have to learn very quickly about it! My basement recently flooded (due to an unforeseen city flood), and I’m trying to see if my insurance will cover it. In the meantime, I’m looking for a company to help with the water damage.

  32. I think the point you made about not jeopardizing your own safety when dealing with mold is very important. Safety should always come first!

    Should a homeowner dealing with mold always call in a professional to deal with the problem? Or are there safe ways to do it yourself?

  33. Water damage is one of the most common reason people make claims on their home insurance, and I agree that mold damage is excluded from insurance companies. But we must also take action to prevent mold and water damage to minimize growth of mold and protect our home before the problem gets worse.
    Sometimes people simply ignore visible mold in their house. If you can see mold growth, even if it’s only small, you should take action immediately.

  34. Water damage is one of the most common reasons people make claims on their home insurance, and I agree that mold damage is excluded from insurance companies. But we must also take action to prevent mold and water damage to minimize growth of mold and protect our home before the problem gets worse.
    Sometimes people simply ignore visible mold in their house. If you can see mold growth, even if it’s only small, you should take action immediately.

  35. In any water damage or mold damage, people might confuse what the next step towards that damage so I just think that they might have a checklist already prepared what to do if any emergency related to water or any other damage occur. Here you have shared right information that would be helpful but what I found when I was reading blogs is How to Make a Flood Damage Recovery Check List .

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