Mold Damage Insurance Coverage – Personal & Commercial

Mold is a fungus. There are all kinds. It’s everywhere–indoors and out. Most mold insurance claims typically arise in one of two circumstances: (1) mold comes to the property owner’s attention along with the discovery of ongoing moisture buildup, water leakage or water intrusion that has gone on for some time below the property owner’s radar; or (2) after a sudden, accidental flood or leak from a plumbing system or appliance, and there is a delay in, or failure to, adequately dry out water damaged building products, fixtures, furnishings, finishes or belongings.

Homeowner, commercial property owner and renter property policies differ in kind and in scope from insurer to insurer. Dealing with mold problems goes beyond tackling its adverse effects on health. Often, the first headache for home or business owners comes from not having a plan or budget for mold restoration services. Well, no one builds a home or office with plans for it to be taken over by some dangerous fungi. However, when you find mold growth in your workplace or apartment, you have to deal with it immediately. What do you do when you find out that you are facing mold issues, and feel the need to use your insurance?

What is mold insurance or mold liability coverage?

Mold insurance is the coverage for damage due to mold, which is included in an insurance policy. Environmental insurance, general liability, and property policies sometimes include coverage of mold. If these policies do not include mold insurance coverage, then, an insurance coverage could be made available by purchasing an endorsement to the forms.

Does insurance cover mold damage?

The short answer to this question is yes. However, mold may only be covered by insurance if and when certain conditions are met. Typically, insurance coverage depends on the source of the moisture or the leading cause of mold growth. Several insurance policies will cover any damage if linked to an actual loss that was initially covered. Also, you need to prove that such loss resulted in the mold problems you are facing. While most insurance policies offer minimal coverage for mold claims, you still need to check with your homeowner’s insurance provider for whatever mold remediation coverage you may be able to access.

Mold damage and insurance claims – What to do?

A larger percentage of home or property owners do not plan for mold remediation, which can be an obstacle to getting the help needed in a mold problem. If you have discovered mold damage in your home or business due to a covered peril, the next question on your mind may be how to file a mold damage insurance claim. Follow these steps to make a successful mold insurance claim.

Step 1: Prepare yourself for the task ahead

One way to be sure you are ready is to request an investigation into the cause of mold damage. Then take pictures of the mold. It is important not to attempt to start repairs before calling your insurance company or filing a mold claim.

Step 2: Call your insurance company and make a mold claim

Once you have your proof ready, next is to contact your insurance provider and make a claim. Provide detailed information about mold growth and damage. If by any chance, you have cleaned or removed or tampered with the mold or any damaged material, state such too. However, do not dispose of any materials before the insurance adjuster arrives.

Step 3: Avoid any further damage

While you may be eager to start cleaning or getting rid of the mold, it is very important to not begin any reloads before the insurance adjuster has arrived to evaluate the extent of the damage. However, it is vital to prevent further damage. You may turn off the leak to a pipe or place a bucket where a roof is leaking or block the hole etc.

Step 4: Tender all your evidence

Now, this is the final step. Once the insurance adjuster arrives, please provide them with your supporting materials. These can include photographs, investigation reports, and a list of your damaged property. These will help you support your claim and receive support quickly.

In the end, taking the time to understand your insurance policy is the ultimate step in knowing whether you are covered for mold problems in the home. The best way to go about this is to contact your insurance company. We are available to answer your questions regarding your homeowners and business insurance policies. 

Source: https://uphelp.org/claim-guidance-publications/mold-contamination-insurance-coverage-101-the-basics/ and https://www.ecofmr.com/articles/guide-to-mold-damage-and-insurance-cover/

What is Business Owner’s Insurance and When Do You Need It?

Your company may need insurance to survive certain unexpected—but possible—challenges. Nobody likes buying insurance. It can be confusing and expensive, and you won’t see any benefit unless you have a loss, accident, or claim. But insurance can make or break your business. Without the right insurance, a theft or fire can cause devastating losses. A personal injury lawsuit can leave you struggling just to pay the legal fees and yet many small business owners don’t take the time to evaluate their needs and get appropriate coverage.

Business Owner’s Insurance, also known as a business owner policy (BOP), combines protection for all major property and liability risks in one insurance package. This type of policy assembles the basic coverages required by a business owner in one bundle. However, it is usually sold at a premium that is less than the total cost of the individual coverages. BOPs include: 

  1. Property insurance for buildings and contents owned by the company — there are two different forms, standard and special, which provides more comprehensive coverage.
  2. Business interruption insurance, which covers the loss of income resulting from a fire or other catastrophe that disrupts the operation of the business. It can also include the extra expense of operating out of a temporary location.
  3. Liability protection, which covers your company’s legal responsibility for the harm it may cause to others. This harm is a result of things that you and your employees do or fail to do in your business operations that may cause bodily injury or property damage due to defective products, faulty installations and errors in services provided.

BOPs do NOT cover professional liability, auto insurance, worker’s compensation or health and disability insurance. You’ll need separate insurance policies to cover professional services, vehicles and your employees. To decide whether you need business insurance, ask yourself two questions:

  • Does your business have property—including inventory, computers, and other equipment—that you could not easily afford to replace? If your only business property is a laptop, you may not need to insure it. But if you have tens of thousands of dollars of store inventory, insurance is a must.
  • Is there a reasonable chance your business could be sued for a substantial amount of money? For example, you might be sued if someone has an accident on your premises, if you aren’t as careful as you should be, if you suffer a data breach, or if an item you make or sell is defective and injures someone.

If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, business insurance will help you minimize your risks.

However, not all businesses qualify for business owner’s policies. Eligibility requirements differ among providers. Insurance providers may have requirements regarding business location, the size of the location, revenue, and class of business. Typically, businesses classes eligible for BOPs include retail stores, apartment buildings, small restaurants, and office-based businesses.

The key takeaways to BOPs: 

  • A business owner policy (BOP) is a package that bundles basic insurance coverages and is sold at a premium.
  • A BOP typically protects business owners against property damage, peril, business interruption, and liability.
  • While coverages vary among insurance providers, businesses can often opt-in for additional coverage, such as crime, spoilage of merchandise, forgery, fidelity, and more.
  • Insurance providers determine if a business qualifies for a BOP based on business location, the size of the location, the class of business, and revenue.
  • A business may qualify for special considerations if it meets certain eligibility qualifications.

Source: https://www.iii.org/article/what-does-businessowners-policy-bop-cover and https://www.investopedia.com/terms/business-owners-policy.asp and  https://www.legalzoom.com/articles/business-insurance-when-you-need-it-and-when-you-dont

Grilling Tips for Safety

As the weather warms and summer returns,  it’s time to GRILL!   There are risks that come along with grilling, regardless of which type of grill you are using. Every year, 7,000 Americans are injured while using  barbecue grills. It’s usually a case of good products used incorrectly. You can prevent grilling accidents and insurance claims by ‘brushing up’ on these tips. 

1. Only use your grill outside and keep it at least 10 feet away from your house. Farther is even better. This includes portions attached to your house like carports, garages and porches. Grills should not be used underneath wooden overhangs, as the fire could flare up into the structure above. This applies to both charcoal and gas grills. Keeping a 3-foot safe zone around your grill will also keep kids and pets safe. 

2. Clean your grill regularly and after each use to remove grease that can start a fire. If you allow grease and fat to build up on your grill, they will provide more fuel for a fire. Grease is a major source of flare ups.

3. Check for gas leaks. You can check for gas leaks by making a solution of half liquid dish soap and half water and rubbing it on the hoses and connections. Then, turn the gas on (with the grill lid open.) If the soap forms large bubbles, that’s a sign that the hoses have tiny holes or that the connections are not tight enough. Only light your gas grill with the lid OPEN!

4. Keep decorations away from your grill. Decorations like hanging baskets, pillows and umbrellas look pretty AND provide fuel for a fire. To make matters worse, today’s decor is mostly made of artificial fibers that burn fast and hot, making this tip even more important.

5. Keep a spray bottle of water handy. If you have a minor flare-up, you can spray it with the water to instantly calm it. The bonus of this tip is that water won’t harm your food, so dinner won’t be ruined!

6. Keep a fire extinguisher within a couple steps of your grill. And, KNOW HOW TO USE IT. If you are unsure how to use the extinguisher, don’t waste time fiddling with it before calling 911. Firefighters say many fire deaths occur when people try to fight a fire themselves instead of calling for expert help and letting the fire department do its job. 

7. Keep an eye on your grill, fire pit or patio torches. Don’t walk away from them when they are lit.

Keep in mind that when you grill, you are playing with fire. Thousands of residents each year learn this the hard way, suffering damage to their homes or even serious injuries in grilling accidents. The National Fire Prevention Association says an average of 8,800 home fires are caused by grilling each year. There’s good news, though: You can prevent grilling accidents by taking these simple precautions. The grilling safety tips above can help ensure you cook only your burgers — and not your house — the next time you fire up the grill.

Spring Home Maintenance

🌷Spring is here!  🌸  After a long dark and cold winter, the bright sun and warm winds of the spring are a breath of fresh air! The only downside? All that sunlight helps you see your leaf-filled gutters, cracked sidewalks, and dead plants in the flower beds. Get your home in shape for spring with this checklist!

1. Examine Roof Shingles: Examine the roof to see if any shingles were lost or damaged under the winter snow and ice.

2. Check the Gutters: Loose or leaky gutters can cause improper drainage, which can lead to water in your basement or crawlspace during the spring rain.

3. Inspect the Concrete: Inspect concrete slabs for signs of cracks or movement. Fill cracks with concrete crack filler or silicone caulk, power-wash, and then seal the concrete.

4. Remove Firewood: Firewood stored near the home for winter should be moved at least 18 inches off the ground and at least 2 feet from the structure.

5. Check Outside Faucets: Check outside faucets for freeze damage. While you’re at it, check your garden hose for dry rot.

6. Repair Window Screens: You will want to open the windows to let the fresh air in. Ensure small holes and tears are repaired so bugs don’t get in.

This is just a short list of items you can do to prepare your home for the spring. Winter was nice and cozy but, we are ready for the spring sunshine! While you are preparing your home for the spring, it is a great time to review your homeowners insurance! 

Source: https://www.hgtv.com/lifestyle/clean-and-organize/10-home-maintenance-tips-for-spring-pictures

Why is flood insurance important?

You don’t have to live in a flood-prone area to encounter flooding in your home. This can happen at any time to anyone! Flooding can be caused by more than just natural disasters. If you own a home, you need flood insurance. There are two different types of flood insurance: the National Flood Insurance Program and private flood insurance. The area you live in will determine which type of flood insurance is best for you.

The National Flood Insurance Program is a flood insurance that is offered through FEMA. If you are located in one of the 21,000 communities that participate in this program, you should be eligible for both types of coverage offered by the National Flood Insurance Program. The two types are building property coverage and personal property coverage. Building property coverage is “replacement cost value” coverage. This means that building property coverage covers the cost to repair or replace your home up to $250,000. Personal property coverage replaces up to $100,000 of items in your home.

The other type of flood insurance is private flood insurance. Private flood insurance premiums vary based on the insurance companies that offer it. Speak with your insurance agent regarding cost and coverage plans.

You may qualify for both the National Flood Insurance Program and private flood insurance. Depending on the value of your home and contents in it, you might be better off getting both to protect yourself in the event of a flood.

Flood Facts:

  • Just one inch of water can cause more than $20,000 in damage.
  • It takes just six inches of fast-moving water to sweep an adult off their feet and 12 inches of water to sweep a car away.
  • Flash floods typically carry water between 10 and 20 feet high.
  • If you live in a 100-year flood plain, your home has a 1% chance of flooding each year.
  • Moving water at 10 mph carries the same pressure as wind blowing at 270 mph.
  • If your home is in a flood plain and you have a federally backed mortgage, you are required by law to carry flood insurance.

Give our office a call to discuss all your flood insurance options! (781) 762-4280   https://www.lydonmurphyinsurance.com/

Source: https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/need-flood-insurance