Mold is one of those things you often can’t see and hope you don’t have, but which you cannot afford to ignore. Every homeowner should take the steps needed to prevent mold and to remediate or eliminate mold if those nasty little spores start showing up on your property. Even though the government hasn’t set legal limits for exposure, the presence of “toxic mold” has wreaked havoc for thousands of property owners, especially landlords.
There is little question that it’s worth both time and money to examine your property for signs of mold and to take strong measures to eliminate it and prevent its growth.
How and where does mold grow?
It is a combination of moisture and nutrients that provides the perfect environment for mold growth. For the most part, mold grows in areas with poor ventilation and/or a structural weakness that allows water to seep into the building from outside. There are different types of mold that grow on different materials. Different types of mold grow on different materials, such as carpet, water pipes, cardboard boxes or ceiling tiles. Both heat and humidity create an ideal environment for the growth of mold organisms. Not all mold is harmful. For example, the mold on your bathroom tile doesn’t create a health concern. That said, signs of discoloration and musty odors are usually red flags that it’s time to check for mold in your property.
If mold is able to grow undetected, it can create stains on carpets and wood floors, walls, fabric or whichever surface it’s growing on. If you ignore it, mold can ruin these materials. It also can lead to wood rot and disintegration. However, the biggest problem is toxic molds, which can trigger allergic reactions and other possibly significant health problems for those living on the property.
What to Do If You Find Mold
The best thing to do is to prevent mold by keeping an eye on it and getting rid of it when the problem is small by using a mild detergent and water to scrub the area clean. Wear rubber gloves and protective goggles to protect yourself and then make sure the area is well-ventilated after the cleanup, to prevent the mold from returning. If you have a larger, more intense mold problem, remediation is best tackled by professionals.
Will Your Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold?
In most cases, the answer is “no.” Many homeowners insurance policies will only cover mold damage that was caused by what they refer to as a “covered peril.” Here is a list of covered perils, according to the insurance companies:
- Vandalism or malicious mischief
- Damage caused by vehicles
- Frozen pipes
- Falling objects
- Weight of ice, snow, or sleet
- Accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam from plumbing, heating, air conditioners, sprinkler systems, or household appliances
In most cases, these covered perils will tend not to lead to mold growing on your property, although there are certainly exceptions, like when an ice dam forms in your gutters during a rough winter and water backs up under your roof shingles, soaking your roof and your attic. However, it is unlikely your homeowners’ insurance will cover mold growth in most circumstances, especially if the cause was a preventable water leak, high humidity, or flooding.
Insurance companies tend not to pay for anything they consider to be a maintenance issue that could have been prevented by the homeowner, and failure to do that is the main cause for mold growth. Insurance companies expect homeowners to be proactive in taking care of such problems before they get to the level of making an insurance claim. In other words, you owe it to yourself to keep up with the mold and get rid of it before it becomes a problem.
Law Firm of David Low and Associates, P. A. | 844-96-CLAIM
DISCLAIMER: The information in this article is purely for educational purposes, reflective of the time it was published. It is not to be understood as legal advice.