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Water - Vital to life, but a potential hazard to your home.

Nothing beats a fresh glass of cool water after a work out, or on a hot summer's day.

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Water is key to our vitality, and yet, when it comes to home insurance and property damage, water is a whole other issue.

Water gets into our homes and apartments from various sources: appliances, leaks in pipes, storms, weight of snow, and more. When the temperatures start to drop, water freezes bringing more opportunity for damage to our homes in the heating season.

We can all think of various examples of situations where water damage can occur, but recently  we have noticed more and more calls coming in for one very specific water related issue : Mold.

Mold thrives in humid places, it likes to hide in darkness - and because of this, very often people may not notice it for some time.

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Mold is dangerous for your health. Once mold has developed, it is extremely difficult to treat and get rid of and very costly.

Did you know that Mold damage is not covered by insurance?  Many people think that damage from mold is covered because it originates (usually) with a humidity or water leakage problem. However, it is important for you to note that insurance is for sudden and accidental losses - and there is nothing sudden about mold. In order for mold to grow, it must have humidity, but also time. Gradual damage is not covered by most insurers. Overall, over the past several years, it is also now a specified exclusion with most insurance companies - for all of the above reasons.

How can you avoid this issue?

When you notice a leak or damage in your home that is caused by water, don't just treat the leak, this wont remove the water from the materials around it. Fixing the leak or damage won't remove the humidity - mold needs this humidity to thrive. Always remember to dry out any areas effected by water damage or leakage. If you are inclined to make a claim for something, the sudden or accidental discharge of water is something that may be covered depending on the source and your insurance company.

Get some advice from a professional as soon as you see signs of water.  Sometimes we may repair the broken pipe and not realize that water has sunk down the walls, or soaked into floor boards.  This is where mold will find an opportunity and unfortunately due to the nature of mold itself  (it is is not sudden or accidental), you will not be covered.

We had a case recently of a client who purchased a new home. They paid quite a bit of money to have the home inspected, and assumed everything was verified. Getting a clean bill of health on the home, they proceeded with the purchase. Not long after taking possession, they discovered dampness on one of the inside walls of the home. They contacted the vendor, and the vendor

admitted that they had had water there from time to time, but it would go away. Naturally, as new owners, this alarmed them. They hired a professional to come and examine the water to try and figure out what was going on. As it turned out, there was a leak coming from the roof of the building, slowly dripping into the wall. When the home inspector did their evaluation, it was a sunny and dry day. There had not been rain in weeks, therefore due to the fact they simply did a visual inspection, the damage was not evident. When the specialist came in, they discovered using a humidity meter that there was a major issue. Had the home inspector inspected the walls for humidity, this would have been revealed. As a result, the client then had to open the wall to find the source, pay for the repairs to the roof, and unfortunately behind the wall discovered a major mold issue.  They then had to have specialists come in and estimate the repairs for the mold, that had been hidden behind the walls, in addition to the repair of the roof and drainage system. The previous owner could not make a claim to their insurance company because it was not a sudden or accidental incident. The new owners were then stuck with the bill, and needless to say this one is going to court.

The reality is, no one wants to have mold in their home. Certainly letting a situation go to a point where it develops is never the intent, but it happens. Especially in this economy everyone is looking for ways to save money.  When it comes to water damage, don't take a chance. Deal with the issue, have a professional give an opinion and when in doubt use a tool that can read the humidity level in the walls to get a better sense. It may seem like a lot of money to do the full repair, but if you do it when it happens, you may be elligible for some help from your insurer, if you wait and let a problem go on, then your policy may exclude damage and no one wants to be out of pocket.

Mold is an increasing problem in homes, take action now, and keep your family and assets safe.

Have you ever had something like this happen to you? What did you do?





Nate Richardson

With all of the flooding in the Midwest and Northeast this year we have had a ton of clients struggling with mold issues after leaks and floods in their home. This is such a big problem in the US and it seems to be often overlooked.

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