Frequently asked questions about mold damage and insurance
If you have mold growing in your property, you are far from alone. Many common building materials support rapid mold growth, including paper products, cardboard, ceiling tiles, and wood and wood products. And mold can get into your home in a variety of ways: doorways, windows, vents, and HVAC systems as well as clothing, shoes and pets.
Mold damage is scary to many property owners because it can be invisible until the damage is extensive. These are some of the frequently asked questions about dealing with mold in a home or business property.
What are the risks of mold?
Mold destroys property, but it also poses a health risk. Allergic reactions to mold are common; symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and dermatitis. For people with asthma, reactions may be more severe and lead to an asthma attack. Long-term mold exposure among infants and young children can also cause asthma to develop. People with suppressed immune systems are also at higher risk of invasive mold infections.
Many people worry about so-called black mold, also referred to as toxic mold. Typically, this refers to stachybotrys chartarum, a greenish-black mold that is most often found in abandoned properties where consistent moisture is unabated. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) warns that color is not an indicator of how dangerous a mold might be. All mold should be removed along with the moisture source that helped it grow.
How can I prevent mold?
Mold grows well with the right temperature, food and moisture. Because mold likes the same temperature you do, and mold feeds on dust or dirt, reducing moisture is your best bet for inhibiting mold growth.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), damp or wet building materials and furnishings can cause mold growth within 24 to 48 hours if not properly cleaned and dried. A common scenario is rainwater leaking into a basement unnoticed until there is a tell-tale musty smell. Fortunately, there are simple actions that can help:
- Limit the use of carpeting in areas prone to moisture, such as the kitchen, bathroom, or basement.
- Recycle old paper products, such as old books and newspapers, which provide mold a steady source of nutrients when damp.
- Be sure your whole building, including the basement, is well ventilated, and replace air filters regularly. You can also run a fan to increase air circulation in mold-prone areas.
- Keep gutters clean and extend downspouts so rainwater doesn’t concentrate right next to your building.
- Pooling water outside your property’s foundation can lead to trouble inside. Your yard should be graded to direct water away from the building.
How do I identify mold damage?
Inspect the areas in your property most likely to support mold growth: basically, any area with moisture, such as the basement, bathrooms, ceilings over water fixtures or stoves, and beneath the sink. If your property has sustained water damage, it is especially important to work with a professional to assess the level of mold in drywall, sub-floors, and other hidden materials.
Is my mold damage covered by insurance?
That depends. Standard insurance policies typically cover damage related to a sudden and accidental event. A mold problem that has developed over time, especially if the insurer decides that the property owner could have done more to prevent it, is likely to lead to a denied claim. This is why taking steps to avoid mold is so critical.
Many standard policies also lack or limit flood insurance, meaning that mold damage related to flooding will not be covered. You may want to consider getting additional mold and/or flood insurance, depending on the location, age, and type of your property.
If your property has water damage from flooding, a burst pipe, or another accident, a public adjuster will help you get the most from the coverage you already have. We will provide a thorough, independent assessment of the scope and cause of water damage, including mold, and negotiate with your insurance company to ensure that you receive the maximum allowable compensation for your claim.
If you have experienced water damage, call Grenier Public Adjusters right away, day or night, at 774-239-6822 or fill out our contact form.