Mold is No Longer Just an Issue for Your Bathroom

You’ve probably heard television commercials for cleaning products boasting about their ability to fight mold and mildew. On the surface of your bathroom tiles, mold and mildew are a simple nuisance to clean and remove. However, when the mold spreads beyond your bathroom tiles — and beyond the reach of your trusty bottle of Tilex — you have a much larger problem on your hands. In recent years, mold has become a household problem that has drawn significant attention in the media and also from insurance companies. Put simply, your home insurance policy will likely not cover you for any mold-related damages, so while mold cannot always be prevented, a timely response to mold issues can make all the difference.

Prior to it becoming a high-profile issue, mold was generally considered to be more of an annoyance than anything else. You probably see mold on a regular basis on your forgotten bread and cheese. It also isn’t unusual to see a bit of mold growing in damp areas, such as your bathroom. But mold’s relatively innocent image changed dramatically about a dozen years ago when, in just two years, five insurance companies paid more than $1 billion in mold-related claims. Mold suddenly went from being the funny green fuzz on your old pizza to “toxic mold” that could cause serious health problems. Insurance companies responded quickly by modifying their policies to exclude coverage for mold-related damages.

You are probably now wondering what you can do to protect yourself and your home from the dangers of mold, especially in light of the fact that you will not have any insurance to assist with damages. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC), there are many different types of molds, and luckily, not all are toxic. Molds exist everywhere- Kentucky, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, Arizona– and it’s not unusual for them to be found in all types of buildings, including homes and offices. But no matter the type of mold or place where it’s found, all mold requires these things to grow: water and food. That means areas which are moist and have a surface on which the mold can feed are potential sources for mold growth.

To prevent mold from spreading, it’s important to eliminate the water and food sources. You can easily do this when the water is open and obvious, but it becomes more difficult when water and moisture are in hidden areas. Common sources for mold growth are leaks behind walls, under cabinets, and in the basement. If you go on vacation, you should turn off unnecessary water sources to prevent leaks from spreading and mold from growing without you being aware of any problems. The San Francisco Chronicle reported about a woman who, in addition to suffering flood damage from Tropical Storm Irene, now may lose her home due to mold infestation because her damp home became the perfect breeding ground for mold.

If you determine there may be a mold problem in your home, you should immediately contact an expert to test and clean. The sooner you are able to remove the mold, the better you are able to mitigate the scope of damages. While mold-related damages are generally excluded from home insurance policies, water damage is still covered, so address this issue with your insurance company when it’s just water damage and not a mold problem.

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