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.