Mold is more than just an eyesore. When it contaminates your home, it can cause considerable property damage and cause illness to the entire household. You need it eradicated immediately, but who pays: you or your insurer?
Home insurance policies don’t generally cover mold damage that resulted from a preventable event, such as water leaks due to poor maintenance or failure to notice moisture buildup that a reasonable person would have been able to observe. Insurers expect you to proactively handle such problems before an insurance claim becomes necessary.
Florida homeowners insurance will cover the cost of repairs and cleanup if the cause of the mold was a “covered peril.” Such events include:
- Sudden and unexpected plumbing issues
- Moisture due to fire control
For example: A water pipe bursts in your home while you’re at work, saturating your drywall and causing mold to start forming before you get home. This is a covered event, and your claim for mold damage is more likely to be honored to your satisfaction if you follow these important tips:
- Call your insurer immediately to report a suspected claim.
In the example above, you should call your insurance agent as soon as you get home, notice the water everywhere, and complete an inspection. If a remediation team gets to work on the damage within 48 hours, it’s possible to contain or even prevent mold growth. If contamination sets in anyway, you can show that you took corrective steps the moment you noticed the problem.
- Get everything in writing.
Document every conversation you have with insurance representatives, adjusters, restoration companies, and other professionals regarding your mold damage claim. Retain your receipts. Get their business cards, confirm all appointments and agreements in writing, and follow up immediately if deadlines or appointments are missed. If they drop the ball, you want to be able to prove that you took reasonable measures to compel action.
- Document all damage.
Inventory all mold damage and take both photos and video if possible, ensuring that all visual evidence is timestamped. It is important to document the source and extent of all visible mold contamination in case there is a later dispute between you and your insurer.
- Do not throw away damaged property until it has been inspected.
Damaged property may be unsightly, but don’t throw any of it away yet. Cover the items in plastic or seal them in a plastic bag until they can be collected for testing. As an added precaution, you can have them inspected by your own remediation consultant. In either event, do not dispose of them until the test results come back.
- Get legal advice before you sign a release.
If your insurer asks you to sign a release or waiver to settle an undisputed claim, request a written explanation. The terms of these agreements can deprive you of important benefits permanently and force you to cover future issues yourself if you are not careful. Before signing, contact an experienced insurance claims attorney about your rights.
Mold damage can be serious and have far-reaching consequences, so if your insurer undervalues or disputes your claim, contact The Monfiston Firm at 888-988-FIRM (3476) for a free policy evaluation. We have helped many clients receive fair settlements from their insurance companies, and will give your case the aggressive and dedicated representation it deserves.