Does Your Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold Damage?
Does your homeowners insurance cover mold damage?
Does Your Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold Damage?
When you think of emergencies that can destroy your home, you probably think of fires and major storms. However, fungus growth can also cause severe harm to your Boston, MA, house. Unfortunately, your homeowners' insurance policy likely does not provide mold coverage.
In general, homeowners' insurance covers mold damage to your home that results from a covered peril. Covered perils are accidental and sudden disasters that the homeowner cannot prevent, such as:
- Heavy snow, ice and sleet
- Accidental plumbing discharge
- Falling objects
However, there are many instances where your insurance will not cover the cost of mold cleanup in your home. Specifically, if your insurance provider feels you could have taken steps to avoid the fungus growth, it will not pay for the cost of repairs. If the damage resulted from a burst pipe that you ignored for weeks, an unventilated bathroom, or decades-old shingles that you failed to replace, you will have to pay for mold remediation yourself.
Homeowners' policies also typically don’t include flood insurance. That means any mold that grows following a flood isn't covered, either.
Those who want mold insurance coverage can ask their carrier about an endorsement. An endorsement is extra coverage attached to your policy for an additional fee. However, if your home has a history of mold problems, your insurer will likely refuse to provide an endorsement or charge more for it. Your insurance provider may also cap the amount of money it will reimburse or limit its coverage to certain mold-related services.
It can be hard to tell if your insurance provider covers damage caused by fungus growth. Read your policy to see if it mentions coverage for mold claims or the possibility of mold endorsements.
If you have any questions, talk to your adjuster. A representative from your local black mold cleanup company may also be able to help.
Grease Fire Basics
If available, extinguish the fire with a Class B fire extinguisher
Grease Fire Basics
Home cooking fires are common, and a fire caused by grease and oils is among the most common of cooking fires. A grease fire is a different animal from fires that have paper or wood as a primary source. They can also quickly erupt on the stove top, in the oven and on grills. The source of the fire doesn't have to be cooking oils but can also originate from the oils and grease generated by the foods that are being cooked. They are tricky to extinguish, which may be a factor in why they cause so much damage.
Steps To Take During a Grease Fire
A quick response to this type of fire can prevent disaster. These measures have been proven to put out the flames.
Snuff out the flames by covering them with a metal lid or cookie sheet.
Keep the cover on until the fire is out.
An alternative is to cover the fire with baking soda or salt.
If available, extinguish the fire with a Class B fire extinguisher.
If these steps don't work and the fire grows, get everyone out of the home. Call the fire department as soon as possible.
Steps Not To Take
Unlike other fires, you should never use water on a fire feeding on cooking oils. It's also vital not to attempt to move the fire outside, either when it is burning or right after a metal lid has been put over the fire. This action can result in burns and a spread of the fire. Flour and baking powder will not work on snuffing out this type of fire, as they have a different chemical structure than baking soda and salt and can feed the fire.
Understanding a grease fire protects you and your family. If a blaze does harm your home, the first step to fire cleanup is to call in a fire remediation team in Theatre District, MA. Professionals will clean up the damage and restore your home "Like it never even happened."
Protect Your Home Against Flooding
Clean storm drains
Keep Your Home Secure Against Flood Damage
Flooding of your Waterfront, MA, home can cause major problems. Fortunately, there are ways to protect your home from heavy rains.
Maintain Existing Flood Prevention Structures
Many homes have common flood prevention features, such as gutters and sump pumps, already installed. It is important to maintain this equipment. The following are some routine maintenance activities that will help keep your home secure against flood damage:
- Clean and inspect gutters (fall and spring)
- Clean storm drains (at least once a year)
- Test sump pump and clean screen (every season)
- Inspect roof (every year)
When completing the above tasks, be sure to check for damage such as loose gutters or missing shingles. The suggested frequency for each task will vary depending on your specific situation. For example, if you have trees near your home, you will likely need to clean your gutters more often. If you suspect that you will be unable to do any of these jobs, you may wish to hire a professional contractor for some or all of your home's routine maintenance tasks.
Consider Home Improvement Projects
In addition to maintaining whatever flood-proofing systems your home already has, you may decide to do some home improvement projects to further protect your home from flooding. The following are some common improvements that you can make to keep your house safe in heavy rains:
- Install any of the above items (gutters, storm drain, sump pump) that you do not already have
- Grade your lawn so that it slopes away from house
- Upgrade seals around windows and doors
Employ Temporary Solutions
Even well-prepared homes may need additional protection during very heavy rains. If a severe storm is headed your way, you may want to install sandbags or other flood protection devices such as inflatable dams.
The above suggestions will help protect your home from flooding. However, even the most well-prepared homes can suffer storm damage. You may need to enlist the help of experienced restoration professionals to get your home back to normal quickly and safely.
How Do Cities Prevent Floods?
No matter how big or small your city is, high water can present a problem
Flood Prevention Methods
No matter how big or small your city is, high water can present a problem. Fortunately, there are a variety of flood prevention methods that a city can take to stem the tide of stormwater. Here are four ways that cities and towns work to stop flooding.
1. Rooftop Gardens
Covering a building's roof in greenery has a variety of benefits when it comes to handling rainwater. The biggest advantage to going green on the roof, however, is that your rooftop vegetation can soak up said water, thereby reducing runoff and the possibility for floods. Plus, it looks wonderful.
Much like rooftop gardens, floodplains drink up excess stormwater. This can prevent the water from invading nearby towns, and the absorbed water can then be used to replenish the area's groundwater.
3. Permeable Grounds
Predictably, concrete does little to mitigate the effects of high water. Instead, the overflow runs directly into streets and sidewalks. Cities and towns can reduce flooding by replacing concrete paths and pavement with porous materials, such as grass and gardens, that will soak up stormwater instead of ushering it elsewhere where it can accumulate and cause problems.
4. Clean Sewers
Common sense would indicate that a clean sewer system works better than a dirty one. That's why one of the easiest flood prevention methods that a town can take is to maintain its sewers. Keeping these underground lines free from obstructions such as waste, tree roots, and debris ensures that they are better able to handle excessive water. Regular inspections can prevent rust and corrosion from debilitating sewer lines as well.
These are just some of the ways that cities and towns like Chinatown, MA, deal with high water. If you ever find yourself dealing with water damage of your own, trust your local water damage restoration company to get your commercial property back on its feet promptly.
5 Steps for Filing a Water Damage Claim
An insurance adjuster will come to your home and document the damage
5 Steps for Filing a Water Damage Claim
No matter the source, water in your North End, MA, home can cause quite a bit of costly damage. Because of this, it is important to start filing your insurance claim as quickly as possible. This will allow you to finish the process and receive the financial assistance you need sooner. Use the following steps to get through the situation smoothly.
1. Contact Your Insurance Agent
The first thing that you should do is to call your insurance company so that they can begin filing your claim right away. In some cases, waiting too long to contact the company can affect your insurance claim or cause it to be denied, so don’t hesitate to do this.
2. Document the Damage
While an insurance adjuster will come to look at your home, you don’t need to wait for them to arrive. Begin taking pictures of damaged areas of the building as well as affected belongings. You may want to make a list as well. The adjuster can use these as proof of damage.
3. Start Cleanup and Mitigation
Even if it is from a clean source like a pipe burst, the longer water sits in your home, the more damage it can cause. In order to reduce the cost and time of repairs, you can start removing water from the building so that it can begin to dry. Set aside damaged items as well.
4. Review Your Policy
Because all policies are not exactly the same, it is important to know what is covered in yours. Some causes of damage, such as a flood, may not be included. Look over the details so that you know what to expect and what is expected of you during the claims process.
5. Prepare Necessary Forms
Once the insurance company has sent you the required forms, you should fill them out as soon as possible. This way, they will have everything they need to finish filing your claim.
If your home has been damaged, a cleanup and restoration company can return it to its previous condition. Filing your insurance claim quickly can help you cover the costs.
When Is a Home Fire Not Covered by Insurance?
House on fire in South End, MA
Two Conditions A Home Fire is Not Covered by Insurance
Most home insurance policies cover fire, as well as other common causes of damage, such as theft or various weather events. There are two conditions under which a home fire is virtually never covered, however:
1. When It's Set on Purpose
Arson is when a fire is deliberately set with the goal of causing destruction. It happens for a variety of reasons, but one of the most common reasons why a homeowner might choose to set his or her own home ablaze is to scoop up the insurance money.
Predictably, insurance providers are prepared for this. If a fire results in a claim, the insurance company will dispatch a team of investigators to examine the damage and pinpoint the cause of the fire. If their assessment is that arson was the cause, the home fire will not be covered by the homeowner's policy.
2. When Nobody Lives There
A vacant home fire is not covered by insurance providers, either. While the definition of "vacant" may vary from insurance company to insurance company, generally speaking, if nobody has lived there for 30 consecutive days, a home is considered vacant. It's up to the insurance company to prove vacancy in order to deny a claim.
It's important to note that a vacant home, in terms of the denial of insurance coverage, is different than a seasonal home, such as a summer lake house or a winter cottage. If you own property that isn't occupied year-round, most insurance companies that offer homeowners policies also offer vacant home insurance that safeguards your home through those months when nobody's there. This type of policy usually covers vandalism, theft, fire, and weather-related issues, such as those involving hail or wind damage.
No one expects a home fire. Fortunately, if one does occur at your South End, MA, residence, it is most likely covered by your insurance policy. Working with your insurance company, as well as trusted fire damage restoration professionals, you can promptly return your home to its pre-fire condition.
Understanding Clean Water Damage
Bursting pipe in Financial District, MA
Business owners in Financial District, MA, know that anything can happen. While big events like flooding or storms are often the main culprits of water damage, it’s often the smaller culprits that go unnoticed. Luckily, when the damage isn’t from a big event, a business owner is faced with clean water instead of contaminated water.
Category 1 Water Damage
Water damage categorized into clean, gray and black. Clean water comes directly from a clean source, which means its not harmful. Potential causes of this category of leak may include:
- A cracked or broken water supply line: broken pipe
- Sink or tub overflow
- Ice or snow melt
- Rain water
- Toilet tank overflow
- Non-chemical treated toilet bowl overflow
When the mess is from these, cleanup is easy. For the other two categories, it is best to call a professional. Category 2, gray water, comes from appliances or other sources that may contain chemicals or some contaminants. Category 3, black water, should always be addressed by an expert. Often the result of flooding or sewer backups, this water has potentially harmful bacteria and debris.
Address Water Problems Right Away
Although clean water is safe to cleanup, avoiding the task could change all of that. The two main reasons to immediately address any water issue are spreading damage and mold. Both water and mold love porous materials. Sitting water will begin to work its way up and behind walls, as well as under carpeting, tiling and other flooring. If there is a continuous leak, that water will begin to cause extensive damage that will be expensive to fix. Alongside the damage, one can expect mold to begin forming. It loves the water and humid conditions, and it can quickly spread to other areas of your business.
If a pipe breaks, you can feel at ease knowing that the water you have to deal with is safe. Even so, to keep your business operating, it’s best to fix the smallest problem before it becomes a big one.
The Invisible Impact of Smoke Damage
Smoke Damage can be visible on your commercial building after a fire breaks out close to your business
No property owner wants to experience a commercial building fire. The fire can be devastating, not only because of the damage the fire does but from the odor and discoloration the smoke leaves behind. Furthermore, while the building is closed, you can lose a great deal of money. However, before you hire a professional service in Boston, MA, to begin smoke cleaning, it can be important to understand exactly how the smoke damage can impact your building, your clients, and you.
Although smoke can often be seen during a fire, the damage causing the lingering smoke odor can often be a result of components that are not always visible. These can include:
• Invisible and toxic gasses can contaminate the air. These gases can include carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, and phosgene. The gases can be a highly foul-smelling contribution to the smoke.
• Particles of carbon called soot can cover the floors and walls. The fragments can float long distances from the fire and be deposited in unusual areas such as the cracks of bricks or under the heads of nails.
• Vapors of poisonous smoke can look like mist. The gaseous droplets can be poisonous and can cover items in your building with contaminates.
Signs of smoke are often evident after a fire. Black stains covering the walls and ceiling of some rooms, soot covered floors, and an unpalatable odor are often visible signs of pollution left behind by the fire. But the acrid smell that lingers for weeks after a fire is often caused by a cloud of invisible particles left over from the flames. That is why smoke cleaning can be a tedious and unpleasant job.
Removing the smoke damage that can be seen may be easily done by a fire restoration and smoke cleaning team. On the other hand, removing the often acrid and unpleasant odor left behind can be difficult even when using scientific means. Sadly, the longer the odor lingers, the more difficult it can become to remove it completely.
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3 Things Homeowners Should Know About Mold in Crawlspaces
Checking for mold in a crawlspace
Issues That Could Affect Your Home's Crawlspace
Many people don't often think about the spaces under their homes in Seaport, MA. However, just because you may not think about the spaces under your home doesn't mean problems may not occur there. As a homeowner, it can be wise to know what common issues, such as mold growth, could be affecting your home's crawlspace.
1. The Areas Under Homes Are Frequently the First to Acquire Water or Mold Damage
When flooding occurs, areas closest to the ground are most likely to sustain damage first. As a result, mold growth is likely to appear in areas under your home. However, other issues can also encourage mold growth under your home. Rain spouts that aren't diverted in a direction away from your home can cause water to build up under your house, and pipe leaks are another common cause of damage.
2. The Damage May Go Unnoticed
Many homeowners avoid going under their homes when possible, and since your crawlspace is not easily visible, the area may sustain damage without you noticing. Though you are likely to notice if a flood has affected the structure of your house, a slow pipe leak can result in equal amounts of damage. Keeping track of your water bills and looking out for unexplained increases in cost can help you to notice a leak before it's too late.
3. Media Blasting Can Be Beneficial
If the underside of your home has been affected by mold, restoration and sanitization can be difficult. However, mold remediation experts often use a method known as media blasting when removing mold from small spaces underneath houses. As the name suggests, media blasting entails blasting baking soda onto moldy surfaces. Then, specialized vacuums help to contain any remaining mold spores.
It's often useful to know about issues that could affect your home's crawlspace, as well as solutions that can fix common problems. Knowing that areas under your home are prone to damage, that problems can often go unnoticed and the benefits of media blasting can help you better prepare for any potential issues under your home.
What To Do if Your Home Has Been Damaged in a Storm
Hire a restoration company in the South Boston, MA area
For many homeowners in South Boston, MA, severe storms can be a hassle. They can cause damage to your house that might take a lot of time and money to repair. In some cases, you might not know how to proceed if your house has been affected. Use the following storm tips to get your home back in top shape more quickly.
1. Contact Your Insurance Company
If you have experienced storm damage to your home, one of the first things that you should do is call your insurance agent. The claims process can be lengthy, so it’s better to get started sooner rather than later. Many policies have a cut-off for filing a claim as well, so if you wait too long, you might be denied.
2. Hire a Restoration Company
Something else that you should do quickly is to hire an emergency cleanup and restoration company to begin repairs on your home. When damage is left to sit, it can become worse. This will make it more difficult, time-consuming and costly to repair.
3. Document the Affected Areas
While you are waiting for your insurance adjuster to arrive, you can begin documenting the storm damage in your home. Check the house thoroughly and write down everything that has been damaged. You can give this list to your adjuster to help with the claims process. You should take pictures of everything since the insurance company will need evidence of the damage.
4. Prevent Damage From Worsening
One of the most important storm tips to remember is mitigation. This step is necessary to keep damage at a minimum. In some cases, if this is not done, your insurance claim can be denied. It can also increase the amount of time needed for repairs. Board up affected areas to keep water from spreading, and move items to a dry location.
After your home has been damaged, it can be difficult to keep your thoughts organized. You might have a lot of concerns and frustrations. However, keeping these storm tips in mind can help you get through the situation more calmly.