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Old 07-18-2011, 02:30 PM   #1
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Mold + insurance question


My wife bought our house before we met. It has many problems. Not the least of which is persistent mold in the bathroom and our cloths closet behind the bathroom tub. It is black and always comes back. I have tried many things to get rid of it. We repainted the bathroom after I used a strong solution of bleach and scrubbed the walls and ceiling. It didn't take long for it to reappear over the new paint and caulk. I know it's in the walls and probably under the flooring. My cloths always smell of an old musty attic. I understand that black mold causes many health issues and really want to be rid of it.
I have been resistant to pulling out the walls and floors because we only have the one tub. I know it's expensive and if I have to pay for it, it will take many months.

I know you won't be familiar with my insurance policy, but is this something I can claim and get fixed? I'm hoping so, so that I can add in some of my own funds for some light remodeling on that part of the house too.

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Old 07-18-2011, 03:59 PM   #2
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Only one way to know if your insurance will cover it. Call and ask them. Health risks with mold are pretty much a lot of media hype unless you already have some health issues. The real problem is that you've treated the symptoms, but have not gone after the disease. Unless and until you cure the moisture issue, you will never, never solve the mold problem. You must get the moisture under control first. Find the source and fix it. Then you need to tear out the affected drywall and treat what's behind it. You may even need to tear out even more, but that's the way it's done if you want to finally solve the problem.

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Old 07-18-2011, 04:34 PM   #3
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That's correct, first cure the problem then rehabilitate the area. There may be ways to kill the mold in the wall cavities without taking down the wallboard, don't know for sure. Call a mold remediation company and see what options are available to you.
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Old 07-19-2011, 09:16 AM   #4
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Mold + insurance question


Why does everyone automatically think their insurance company should fix their house no matter what goes wrong? How bout the fact that houses inherently are a ongoing maintainence item and they need to be maintained. I am not connected to the insurance industry at all. I just get irked when I get my ever increasing insurance premium, when I have never filed a claim. Man up, open up your walls and see what is actually causing the problem and fix it. Simple as that. That's the problem with this country, everyone is looking for somebody to bail them out.
Sorry about the rant, just trying to make a point.
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Old 07-19-2011, 09:54 AM   #5
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Wow Firehawk...little testy? Increasing premiums is called inflation...

People pay insurance for this exact purpose. There is a mold problem and will likely take extensive work to properly remedy. Likely outside of the price range of that "normal maintenance" you speak of eh? Since mold does present some health risks, and the price of repair is more than most can readily afford, I think asking your insurance company is quite reasonable. Be sure to let me know when you inquire on making a claim of your own so I can tell you to man up!

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Old 07-19-2011, 01:11 PM   #6
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Wow Firehawk...little testy? Increasing premiums is called inflation...

People pay insurance for this exact purpose. There is a mold problem and will likely take extensive work to properly remedy. Likely outside of the price range of that "normal maintenance" you speak of eh? Since mold does present some health risks, and the price of repair is more than most can readily afford, I think asking your insurance company is quite reasonable. Be sure to let me know when you inquire on making a claim of your own so I can tell you to man up!
If you read the original poster's letter, he talks about mold in the bathroom and the closet behind the tub. Does that sound so catastrophic to you that you wouldn't take some drywall out and see what's leaking or maybe check and see if there is a lack of ventilation in the bathroom?
I was raised to take care of my own problems when I can. I built the majority of my house with my own two hands and I try and take care of my own problems before calling in help. If something catastrophic happens, by all means call your insurance company.
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Old 07-19-2011, 01:36 PM   #7
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If you read the original poster's letter, he talks about mold in the bathroom and the closet behind the tub. Does that sound so catastrophic to you that you wouldn't take some drywall out and see what's leaking or maybe check and see if there is a lack of ventilation in the bathroom?
I was raised to take care of my own problems when I can. I built the majority of my house with my own two hands and I try and take care of my own problems before calling in help. If something catastrophic happens, by all means call your insurance company.
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Ok, lets do it your way: take out wall & ceiling drywall & shower surround to find mold and rot in framing. remove framing. replace framing, replace insulation, replace drywall, replace tub surround. Install new bathroom fan and the new wiring to feed it needs. If circuit is full then new breaker and home run feed is needed. All that material is probably hovering around $1,000. I don't know about you, but I ain't got it laying around. I would opt for my $500 deductible and have the balance paid for. And that's taking care of my own problem. Call in a contractor and you're probably looking at about $2,000 min.
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Old 07-19-2011, 06:00 PM   #8
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Mold + insurance question


AG,
Last reply, I think we're hijacking this thread. I still don't understand how someone's lack of maintenance in their bathroom is the insurance companies problem. If a strong wind blows off some of your roof, fine, live tree falls on your house, fine, call the agent. Not keeping up on the caulking or fixing a leak in your tub drain that leads to mold due to the excess moisture is not the insurance companies problem. If you let a maintenance issue go to the point where it becomes a major issue, shame on you for not fixing it or having it fixed when it was a minor problem. I see it happen all the time, keeps me quite busy with work.
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Old 07-19-2011, 06:28 PM   #9
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Mold + insurance question


Mold does not really happen overnight and is due to "deferred maintanence" (a nice term for ignoring) and may have been pre-existing before the policy was written.

Just check to see if they will cover it or a portion.

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Old 07-22-2011, 03:54 PM   #10
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If I had to guess I'd say no they won't pay for it. Every insurance company is different though - you're going to have to call them to find out.


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Since mold does present some health risks, and the price of repair is more than most can readily afford, I think asking your insurance company is quite reasonable.
I'm gonna have to disagree w/ this one. By that same logic your insurance company should pay for new brake pads & rotors for your car because it's risky to drive around with worn out brakes.
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Old 07-22-2011, 04:08 PM   #11
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I'm gonna have to disagree w/ this one. By that same logic your insurance company should pay for new brake pads & rotors for your car because it's risky to drive around with worn out brakes.
I didn't say they'd pay for it, just said it was reasonable to ask.

Brakes are quite different than mold. Brakes squeal when they get low which is an direct indicator they need to be changed. Also a brake job is almost always less than your deductible, so a phone call is just a waste of time.

Mold to most people is not a known subject. I had a similar situation to this myself. Our bathroom consistently developed black mold on the wall and we had to bleach it once a week. Knowing what I know I knew it was REALLY bad and something had to be done. But my co-owner thought it was just a surface problem and didn't want to spend even a dollar to investigate. So, while you may know that a black spot on the paint is an indicator of a bigger problem, many do not. The black spot doesn't squeal like a brake pad. It isn't until there is significant damage that the need for action become apparent. But by then that significant damage could easily be a $2,000 repair. Most deductibles are $500. Couldn't hurt to ask your insurance company because left alone the damage could balloon and their investment (your equity margin) could become high risk. So do they pay $1,500 now, or lose thousands more later?

Did you know that insurance companies shoveled hundreds of roofs this winter in the Northeast? Why shoveling should be the homeowner's job, just like mold prevention right? Well, because some don't know about structural loads and that snow loads could collapse their roofs, the insurance companies took a pro-active approach to ensure their investment was protected.

So, please think of the big picture before you go blasting your shotguns off...
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Last edited by AGWhitehouse; 07-22-2011 at 04:16 PM.
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Old 07-22-2011, 06:21 PM   #12
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I didn't say they'd pay for it, just said it was reasonable to ask.

Brakes are quite different than mold. Brakes squeal when they get low which is an direct indicator they need to be changed. Also a brake job is almost always less than your deductible, so a phone call is just a waste of time.

Mold to most people is not a known subject. I had a similar situation to this myself. Our bathroom consistently developed black mold on the wall and we had to bleach it once a week. Knowing what I know I knew it was REALLY bad and something had to be done. But my co-owner thought it was just a surface problem and didn't want to spend even a dollar to investigate. So, while you may know that a black spot on the paint is an indicator of a bigger problem, many do not. The black spot doesn't squeal like a brake pad. It isn't until there is significant damage that the need for action become apparent. But by then that significant damage could easily be a $2,000 repair. Most deductibles are $500. Couldn't hurt to ask your insurance company because left alone the damage could balloon and their investment (your equity margin) could become high risk. So do they pay $1,500 now, or lose thousands more later?

Did you know that insurance companies shoveled hundreds of roofs this winter in the Northeast? Why shoveling should be the homeowner's job, just like mold prevention right? Well, because some don't know about structural loads and that snow loads could collapse their roofs, the insurance companies took a pro-active approach to ensure their investment was protected.

So, please think of the big picture before you go blasting your shotguns off...
I think we're saying the same thing just saying it very differently .....


I'm gonna stop hoggin' the thread
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Old 07-22-2011, 06:54 PM   #13
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Your insurance company will pay for "covered perils". Exactly what perils you have covered depends entirely on what policy you purchased. There are a number of common perils which are not covered by standard policies, but can be covered by special rider, for example expensive jewelry, boats, antique cars.

There are some perils that no one will insure, for example radioactive fallout from a nuclear power plant accident, impact by astronomical object, damage due to domestic insurrection, damage due to act of war, and groundwater penetration (so far as I know). Mold is a difficult one, policies used to cover it routinely if the mold was directly due to rainwater penetration, however in recent years many insurance companies have been specifically excluding mold damage. As mentioned by others, the only possible way to know if your specific insurance policy covers your specific peril is to ask your agent.
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Old 07-26-2011, 02:25 AM   #14
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Okay, Thanks guys. And thanks for arguing for my side.

For the record, this wasn't my lack of maintenance. The mold was here before I moved in and probably before my wife bought the house 4 years before we met. She said the hideous wallpaper was new when she moved in. I tore it down and noticed the mold. It was probably papered to hide the mold. I'm trying to make the best of a bad situation. My wife knew nothing about homes or their perils when she bought the place. she just thought one was supposed to buy a house. So she found one she could afford the payments on close to the school in which she teaches. She got shafted on this house. Bought at the height of the bubble, we are underwater by about $40k. Nothing I can do about it now aside from a divorce and leave her with the bad buy. That's not an option.
The economy forced me to close my business and now I'm way under employed. We do not have the money to fix this. Nor do we have the money for the health bills if left untreated.

As to the statement about opening the walls and finding the source of the problem. the access paned behind the tub shows clear evidence that water is getting in from outside. From what I can see, at least 3 wall suds are covered in it. It seems there is some erosion of the foundation as well. Let me just right a check for that repair.

As far as insurance goes. I have never filed any insurance claim of any kind. I hate the fact that I have to pay more and more costly insurance for two cars that are paid for and have never had a wreck. Insurance is there in case you need it. But the companies are there to make money. Everyone knows that insurance companies are the best at finding a way not to pay. I have never asked for a hand out. I have worked hard and honestly all my life with little reward. I asked my question in the hopes that someone might have had some experience.

Thank you again guys for your info. I will call the insurance tomorrow and see if they can send out an adjuster. I will update when I have more information.

Last edited by tweakedlogic; 07-26-2011 at 02:28 AM.
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Old 07-26-2011, 06:30 AM   #15
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Mold + insurance question


I feel your pain. The economy has left a lot of people in dire straights with homes. Unfortunately, if the insurance company can show that the mold pre-dates their coverage of the property, they are very unlikely to pay.

For what it's worth in the future, wall paper paste is gourmet mold food. It's loaded with sugars and starches that mold loves. Don't use it in a bathroom, or anywhere else that carries a high moisture load under even good conditions.

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