Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold?
Mold growth on a wall due to humidity.
Mold is one of those things that can make you feel like you're the only homeowner in the world with a mold problem. But you're not! In fact, according to the EPA, between 50 and 90 percent of homes have some kind of mold growing on them—and while it's true that most molds just don't cause any problems at all, some can be dangerous.
That's why it's important to know whether your home insurance covers mold damage before it becomes an issue for you (or your renters). Here are answers to some common questions about mold insurance:
Homeowners Insurance and Mold
If you have mold in your home, it's important to know whether or not homeowners insurance will cover the damage. If a claim is made on your policy and the damage is caused by mold, it will be covered under normal circumstances.
Homeowners’ insurance policies do not necessarily cover all types of water damage, though. For example, if there was a flood inside your home that caused extensive damage and that water also contained mold spores as well as bacteria from sewage backup (this combination could create an even more serious health risk), then this type of event would likely fall outside of typical homeowners insurance coverage.
Homeowners also need to know that there are certain types of mold that aren't covered under their policy at all. For example, if your basement floods and there’s extensive growth on walls or ceilings after the water has been removed and cleaned up—and this type of growth is considered a chronic health hazard—it may not be covered by your policy unless you specifically add this coverage as an endorsement (or rider).
The only way to know for sure whether or not your property is covered for any type of mold-related loss would be to speak directly with an agent at one of our partner carriers about adding additional coverage before any issues arise.
Filing a Mold Claim
If you need to file a claim for mold damage, the best thing to do is call your insurance company. You'll speak with a claims adjuster who will guide you through the process of getting your home repaired.
The first thing that should happen when filing a claim is that an inspector comes out to assess the damage and give an estimate for repairs. The inspector will take pictures of all affected areas and send them off to their lab, where they'll test samples of the mold. They'll send back an estimate with both materials and labor costs so you know how much it'll cost before starting repairs.
Once these steps are complete, it's time for cleanup! While this part can seem overwhelming at first thought—especially if there was significant structural damage—it's actually fairly straightforward: just follow instructions from your insurance company on how best to remove any remaining moisture from walls or floors before beginning repairs (this includes removing damaged insulation).
Once all work has been completed by contractors hired by your insurer, make sure everything has been cleaned up properly by doing spot checks every couple of days until there's no more evidence of mold growth anywhere in your home anymore! This step is crucial because if any spores remain alive after initial cleaning efforts have been made then they could start growing again when humidity levels increase again later down the line which could ultimately lead back to having more problems than originally expected! If something like this happens then make sure not only report back immediately but also notify someone else who lives there too so they can monitor closely as well since sometimes people don't realize symptoms may be showing up until later--meaning even after everything has been fixed."
Finding Mold Insurance
Although many insurers offer homeowners insurance online, it's best to talk with a local agent who can provide you with personalized recommendations on what type of coverage is right for your home and budget. Ask if the policy offers coverage for damage caused by water-related issues like floods or burst pipes—or whether this kind of damage would be covered under standard homeowners insurance policies (which typically do). You will also want to check for other coverage options. Ensure that all valuables are protected.
If you’re a homeowner, it’s important to know that your homeowner's insurance may cover mold. If you want to find out more about how much coverage your policy has for mold damage and whether or not you can file a claim, talk to an agent today!
If you need mold remediation in your Knoxville, TN home or business, give SERVPRO of Northwest Knoxville a call today!
Fixing a Flooded Basement
Move items that have been damaged by floodwaters
Keep Your Home Free of Water Damage
If you’ve ever been flooded out, you know that the aftermath is a real mess. When floodwaters get into your basement—whether from a heavy rainstorm or a burst pipe—it can be overwhelming. But if you want to keep your home free of water damage and mold, you need to make sure you clean up promptly and completely.
Check with your insurance company to see if you are covered for this type of damage and, if so, how much coverage you have. If your policy does not cover the damage from a flood or sewer backup, find out what options may be available to help pay for repairs. If your policy offers coverage and payment methods that do not meet your needs (for example, if it only covers 10% of the cost of repairs), change or upgrade your coverage so that you can get more money back as quickly as possible.
If your home has been damaged by flooding or sewer backups and there is documentation (such as a police report) showing that this was caused by heavy rainfall or storms, contact an adjuster at your insurance agent.
You can use a wet vac or pump to remove water from the basement, but it's important to be careful when you do this. If your home is on the second floor, be sure to keep track of how much water you're moving up and out of your basement. If you remove too much, you could end up flooding other parts of your house.
If there isn’t any more water coming into the basement and all that remains is what's already there (or if this is happening in conjunction with a plumbing issue), then it's time to start removing some of that excess liquid from inside your home.
Dry the Area
To get the water out of your basement, you'll need to dry it out. This is not a simple process; it takes weeks or even months for a basement to dry completely. If you have any type of flooding, you should start drying the area right away by using fans and dehumidifiers as soon as possible.
If your house was flooded due to an overflowing bathtub or toilet, then it's important to clean up this water as soon as possible so that bacteria can't grow in it. You can use household cleaners or bleach mixed with warm water (1 cup per gallon) if needed.
Remove Damaged Materials
If there's a lot of water damage, you'll want to remove any damaged materials from the house as soon as possible. This will prevent mold from forming and further damage from occurring. Move items that have been damaged by floodwaters into a dry place (outside or in another part of your home) so that they can be dried out before being stored again.
Repair the Basement Foundation Walls
Repairing the foundation walls is a critical step that must be completed before finishing your basement. Without this work, you will have a very expensive problem on your hands.
The walls of your home’s foundation are essential to its structural integrity, and if they have been damaged by flooding or water seepage, they will need to be repaired before you can finish the basement. If this isn’t done correctly, serious consequences could result - including major structural damage and even the collapse of part or all of the home itself.
If there is any doubt about whether or not you can handle this task yourself, it would be wise to consult with an experienced contractor first before attempting anything complicated like this on your own.
Install New Insulation, Vapor Barrier, and Flooring
If your basement has a history of flooding, it's likely that the insulation, vapor barrier, and flooring are not waterproof.
If you want to keep things simple and cheap, skip the vapor barrier and lay down a new layer of plastic or rubber sheeting. This will work in most cases but won't be as effective as using insulation with a vapor barrier.
Make sure whatever material you use is at least two inches thick and can withstand moisture without disintegrating into pieces when exposed to air again after future floods.
It's also important that any new flooring be waterproof because this will make sure water doesn't enter through cracks between boards or tiles during future floods; but keep in mind that if there isn't already some kind of waterproof coating on existing materials, then they may need replacing before installing anything else!
Unless you have a basement, it’s hard to imagine what a flood looks like. In my experience, it’s more than just wet furniture and soggy paper towels—it’s cold, slippery floors and an overwhelming sense of despair when you realize that all your worldly possessions are ruined. The best way to cope with this situation is to find something else to focus on (like watching Netflix) until help arrives.
We hope this article has given you a better understanding of what goes into repairing a flooded basement. Though it may seem like an overwhelming job, there are steps you can take to make sure everything goes smoothly and quickly. Remember the most important thing is to have patience! Give SERVPRO of Northwest Knoxville a call to help clean up your Knoxville home.
Who Pays for Fire Damage in a Rental Property?
Fire damage is a serious problem for anyone who owns, rents out or even just visits a property.
Who Is Responsible for Fire Damage to a Rental Property?
Fire damage is a serious problem for anyone who owns, rents out or even just visits a property in Knoxville, TN. Whether you live in a house or apartment, if your home burns down, you need to know what happens next. There may be some bad news: your landlord probably won't cover the cost of repairing the damage from their own pocket. But don't worry — that's why we have insurance!
If a fire occurs, your landlord's insurance will help pay for the costs associated with repairing or replacing the structure of your rental unit. This type of coverage is required for all landlords who own property that has tenants living in it. Structural damage is typically covered by the landlord's policy, though not always.
Landlord insurance does not generally cover content damage. If you want to protect your personal items from fire damage, water damage, and theft, you can purchase renter's insurance.
When it comes to fire damage, tenant insurance is a good place to start. If your landlord has a written lease and you have paid the security deposit, then it is likely that you are protected under your landlord's policy. However, if you are renting month-to-month or as an Airbnb guest, your landlord may not carry any coverage at all. In this case, it is important for both parties—the tenant and the property owner—to have their own policies in place before any incident occurs.
If you have an Airbnb listing or short-term rental through another platform, then be sure that your personal property (including clothing) will be covered under the renter’s insurance policy in case of theft or fire and water damage.
The best way to know for sure what is covered is to read the insurance policy.
The best way to know for sure what is covered is to read the insurance policy. Insurance policies are complicated and reading them can be challenging for many people. If you don't understand your policy, ask someone who does (usually an insurance agent) or contact a local insurance adjuster. You may also find it helpful to consult with a tenant insurance broker. If you're not sure where to start, start by asking yourself these three questions:
- What do I need protection against?
- What areas am I protecting against damage in my rental property?
- How much coverage do I need in each area?
We hope this post helped you understand the ins and outs of dealing with fire damage in rental properties. Rental and homeowners’ insurance can be difficult to understand and navigate on your own without the guidance of a insurance agent. If your home or business in Knoxville, TN, suffers from fire damage, don’t hesitate and give our SERVPRO team a call. Our SERVPRO team can help with all the fire damage cleanup and restoration.
3 Common Sewer Issues That Affect Businesses
One of the primary causes of an overflowing is a clog in the toilet bowl
The Three Most Regular Sewer Issues That Affect Businesses
There are various sewer issues, from a blocked sewer to a broken pipe, that can affect businesses in Walker Springs, TN. Though certain problems may require help from professionals to resolve, others are fairly simple to fix, and it's often useful for business owners to know what common sewer issues may affect their properties.
1. Toilet Overflow
An overflowing toilet is a common problem in businesses and can be a major inconvenience to customers and staff at your business. One of the primary causes of an overflowing is a clog in the toilet bowl or in the toilet's pipes. Fortunately, both of these issues are normally relatively easy to fix by using a plunger or a toilet auger (also known as a drain snake) to remove the clog.
2. Blocked Sewer
A sewer that is blocked can cause various issues in your business, such as water backing up in drains. There are many reasons that your business's sewer may be blocked, and the cause will generally determine how the issue is fixed. Since fixing the main sewer line can be complex and time-consuming, it can be useful to contact emergency restoration services for assistance.
3. Pipe Breaks
A broken pipe is a common issue that affects many businesses in Walker Springs, TN. Cold weather or a change in water pressure are just a few reasons a pipe can break. Likewise, older pipes are also more prone to breaks. In many cases, a plumber can catch minor issues before they result in a burst or broken pipe, which is why it's often useful to have regular inspections on your pipes.
Though a blocked sewer or broken pipe can be overwhelming for business owners to handle initially, it's generally helpful to know what issues commonly occur in businesses. With an understanding of common sewer problems in businesses, you can prepare yourself for sewer issues and learn to mitigate the damage if a problem occurs.
5 Places Mold May Be Hiding in Your Home
Inspect your bathroom for signs of mold.
Mold Could Be Hiding in These 5 Places in Your Home
Few things can destroy the comfort, value and appearance of a house faster than mold. Unfortunately, spotting mold growth is not necessarily easy. Here are five places mold may be hiding in your home.
The drywall that makes up most of the surfaces of your home can attract mold. That is, mold loves to eat the cardboard that holds drywall together. If you have mold in a room, you may need to remove the affected drywall to prevent spores from moving into other areas of your house.
Mold needs an organic food source to grow and spread. While there are likely hundreds of organic things in your home, mold may first settle on wood. As you may suspect, mold on wood can be a serious problem, as mold spores can work themselves deep inside your subflooring, trim and other wooden surfaces.
Carpet and padding can be a hotbed for mold growth. If you have carpeting that routinely retains moisture, you can probably assume mold is growing beneath your feet.
You probably don’t think much about the grout between tiles. You should, though. Mold loves to cling to the porous surface of grout. Spraying your grout with bleach, though, may not address the problem. After all, bleached mold may continue to live, despite seeming to disappear.
5. Moist Places
If you want to find mold in your Cumberland Estates, TN, home, check out the moist areas. After all, because mold needs humidity to thrive, it often lives in wet places. Specifically, inspect your kitchen, bathroom, laundry area, basement and attic for signs of mold. If you notice any, work with an experienced mold removal service to be sure you completely eradicate it from your home.
With a bit of effort, you can likely find hidden mold in your house. If you lack the expertise or equipment to locate mold, though, you may need a professional team to help you stop mold growth.
A Closer Look at Types of Fire Alarms
This type of fire alarm is better at detecting smoldering fires.
Two Main Types Of Alarm In The Market
Home fires in the U.S. cause many injuries and millions of dollars in property damage. These devastating fires come from many sources, with the following causes among the most common each year:
- Heating appliances
The good news is that all of these fires can be detected by a modern fire alarm. When installed in a home in Karns, TN, these units alert occupants of the presence of danger by loud noises and sometimes by visual signs. Many types can be purchased online and in stores. All are effective in reducing fire deaths and minimizing fire damage to property. Here is a closer look at the two main types of alarms on the market.
An Ionization Alarm
This type of fire alarm excels at detecting fires with open flames. It operates by using a bit of radioactive material inside the unit that sits between two electronically charged plates. A current of ionized air runs between the plates. When smoke enters this area, it breaks the current and sets off the alarm. These units should be installed in every bedroom and at least one on each floor of the house, including basements and attics.
A Photoelectric Alarm
This type of fire alarm is better at detecting smoldering fires. It uses a beam of light in a chamber and a light sensor. When smoke enters the chamber, it reflects the light toward the sensor and triggers the alarm. This technology is a solid choice to prevent smoke damage to a home. For even more protection, a person can get a combination alarm that uses both technologies just described. In the case of fire damage, a professional fire mitigation company can restore a home to its original condition. An experienced crew employs advanced equipment and proven techniques to clean and restore a home. Along with working fire alarms, a mitigation franchise is part of a solid protection plan against fire damage.
How To Tell When Your Water Has Been Contaminated
Mold damage in West Hills, TN
How to Determine Whether Your Water Is Contaminated
If someone told you that your home in West Hills, TN, had contaminated water, it’s likely that you would do something to remedy the situation. Since clean water is vital to everyday functions such as cooking, cleaning, bathing and drinking, a water supply that is compromised can make things challenging for any resident. However, because there are different levels of contamination, some people may not recognize an issue right away, especially if it is on the more subtle end of the spectrum.
Some signs of contamination include the following:
- Soap scum, rust or mineral buildup accumulating around water sources, such as sinks and tubs
- Laundry is stiff, even after a proper washing
- Water has an odd flavor that is metallic, salty, moldy, chemical-like, etc.
- Water emits an unusual odor
Sources of Contamination
By understanding the most common sources of contaminated water, you can better evaluate the likelihood of it occurring in your own home. Residences situated near landfills, fracking sites, commercial laundromats, manufacturing businesses, farms or other places that have significant amounts of chemical or bacterial run-off that can affect groundwater or water sources should be extra diligent. It can also be helpful to regularly check the water report in your area to monitor any major changes.
Since having contaminated water in West Hills, TN, may not necessarily be as obvious as a black water problem, it can be helpful to run an initial home test or have a professional check your supply line for extra peace of mind since it can come from a variety of sources. If you suspect you have an issue with your water supply, depending on its severity, you will likely need to find a new source for drinking water, have it undergo further home treatments before consumption or use, and assume it is not potable until it is properly evaluated, repaired and tested by a professional.
3 Facts That Will Make You Want To Buy Flood Insurance
To protect yourself against this, you need to add flood insurance.
Is Flood Insurance Good For Your Business
If your business has a high risk of flooding, your commercial insurance agent has probably already talked to you about flood insurance. However, those who live in low- and moderate-risk zones on the FEMA maps can also purchase policies. If you're in these lower-risk areas, you're probably wondering if the cost is worth it. Even though some policies can be steep, paying for a storm restoration company can be even higher. Here are some facts you can use to decide if flood insurance is a good option for your business in Pleasant Ridge, TN.
1. Property Insurance Doesn’t Cover Storm-Related Flooding
Standard commercial insurance only covers water while it is in the sky or leaking from your pipes. In other words, it's not going to pay for flood damage. For instance, they will cover water damage from a window that broke during a storm. However, your insurance will not cover damage from the rising creek behind your office buildings. That can leave you paying for a lot of damage even though you have property insurance.
2. Your Business Is at Risk of Flooding
It's more how much, not if. Flood maps tell you your business's risk of flooding. In short, zones V and A have a high risk. Zones C, B, and X are moderate- to low-risk. Zone D hasn't been mapped yet, although there is still a risk of flooding.
3. Government Aid Isn’t Free
The majority of government aid for businesses is loans that you need to repay. Plus, you have to live in a federally declared disaster area to get this money, meaning buying a commercial insurance policy is a better option.
Buying a flood policy is your only chance to protect your business. Without one, you could be facing steep monetary losses for cleanup costs. On top of this, you would have to replace any damaged items associated with the flood. This can add to your losses. Crippling totals can bring your business to its knees. To protect yourself against this, you need to add flood insurance. This small step can do great things for protecting your business.
3 Signs You May Have Mold in Your Commercial Property
Moldy attic in West Hills, TN
Three Signs of Mold Growth
There are some generally musty places in commercial properties, especially in basements, attics or garages. However, the nature of these spaces does not necessarily mean that you have a mold problem. While a mold smell can be indicative of a problem, it can also be a result of humidity and improper ventilation. Although, as a property owner, it is crucial to know and understand at least the following three signs of mold growth.
The first sign, while not definitive proof of a problem is a fungus smell. As mold develops and eats, it releases Microbial Volatile Organic Compounds, and many of these chemicals smell especially musty or pungent. However, mold can smell different depending on the type and who smells it. For some, the scent is like acetone, nutty or meaty.
Aside from the mold smell, you can sometimes tell you have a mold problem by sight. If you notice a textured green and black growth on your walls or ceilings, then it might be mold. However, as there are several varieties or species of fungus, the sight alone is not a definitive way to diagnose a mold problem.
Now, if you have a mildew smell combined with the visual of a textured growth on your walls and an existing water leak in the same area, then the mold is likely. However, again, sight and smell alone are not definitive, and at this point, you should call in a specialist.
Mold testing and removal services in the West Hills, TN, area are companies dedicated to diagnosing mold issues, testing for results and resolving the problem for the property owners. For commercial property owners, using such a service is necessary to ensure compliance with all city and state regulations.
While mold smell is not enough to verify an infestation, combined with the vision of growth and an existing water problem make a mold diagnosis is likely. Therefore, to continue operations and remain compliant with regulatory bodies, contact a specialist and have your property tested and cleaned.
Preventing Water Damage in Your Commercial Building
Prevent a bursting pipe by insulating your pipes.
Prevent Flooding In Your Property
Water in-home or business offices can damage important paperwork and assets that you need to keep your company running. While water damage restoration experts at SERVPRO can assist with cleanup, you may still have to temporarily shutter your business during the remediation.
Even closing your company for just a few days could have devastating consequences. You should thus try to prevent flooding by following the steps below.
1. Prevent A Broken Pipe by Turning up the Heat
Pipes often freeze when they are exposed to cold temperatures. Over time, those frozen pipes could burst. You should thus set the thermostat of your building to at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit at all times.
2. Insulate Pipes
You can also prevent the need for burst pipe cleanup by insulating your pipes during the winter. You can easily find pipe insulation at your local hardware store. You can use the insulation to prevent water in home offices, as well.
3. Seal Gaps
Cold air often enters buildings through gaps and cracks in the walls and foundation. You can close these gaps with spray foam, caulk or weather stripping. This will save you money on your heating bill and prevent pipe bursts that lead to flooding.
4. Maintain Your Sprinkler and HVAC Systems
Even a small leak in your sprinkler line or air conditioner can cause big problems over time. Regularly inspect these systems for problems and perform basic maintenance each year.
5. Clear the Roof and Gutters
While you are inspecting the HVAC and sprinkler systems, check your downspouts and gutters for debris. Clogs could cause a backup of water that ultimately leaks into your building. Be sure to remove excess snow from the roof, as well. Ice accumulation could prevent the roof from draining properly.
The above tips should help you limit severe flooding of your Knoxville, TN, building. However, if you do experience water in home or business spaces, SERVPRO professionals will respond quickly and get your property back to normal.