Filing an insurance claim for mold damage can be complicated (which is why we usually handle it for our clients). Generally speaking, for mold that is caused by a burst pipe or flooding, the damage is likely covered. If, however, the mold is caused by neglect, such as a damp basement or attic, or a leaky pipe, that damage will most likely not be covered. Some insurance companies are beginning to strictly limit, and even explicitly exclude, coverage for mold damage, even if the mold is caused by an event that is otherwise covered.
While there is no substitute for prevention when it comes to mold, sometimes things happen that are outside of your control. When mold damage does occur, thorough documentation of the extent of the damage, the cause of the mold, and remediation efforts will improve your chances of having the damage covered.
When you experience sudden water damage, the first thing you need to do is stop the flow of water and remove as much water as you can. Remember, most insurance companies will not cover mold damage if they can prove that it was caused by any neglect on your part. The next thing you need to do is immediately contact your insurance adjuster and be sure you know exactly what they require of you.
Get a notebook and use it to document everything that occurs in relation to your water and mold damage. Start with the details of the event that led to the damage and all of your cleanup efforts, starting with removing the water.
As you go, also be sure to document every communication with the insurance company, including date, time, who you spoke with, and the content of the communication. Keeping a detailed log of everything will keep you focused and organized, and make sure you don’t forget any request made by the insurance company or what information you’ve provided them.
Remove all undamaged or repairable items and move to a safe, well-ventilated, and dry place. Your insurance company may require you to hold off on permanent repairs until they can evaluate the damage, but they will want you to take reasonable steps to prevent further damage. Make lists of all damaged items and take plenty of photographs, whether items are salvageable or not. In order to prove losses, you may want to hold off on discarding unsalvageable items until cleared by your insurance adjuster.
Get an envelope, and put all of your receipts in it. Your insurance company may require you to not make permanent repairs until they have assessed the damage, but you may need to make temporary repairs in order to prevent further damage. You’ll need your receipts to prove these expenses.
Insurance companies are notorious for finding reasons to deny claims. By thoroughly documenting every step of the process, you’ll arm yourself to negotiate successfully, or to file a legal suit if your claim is still denied.
If you are in the San Diego area, and would like help documenting your mold damage, and dealing with insurance, call us at (619) 376-6838