Mold in house and insurance won't cover - options?

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markcoop
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Mold in house and insurance won't cover - options?

Post by markcoop » Wed Aug 22, 2018 7:25 pm

I own my home and have found mold in one corner of the house caused by a problem with the roof. I had a screened in porch that was converted to a 4 season room 18 years ago. One one side, the roof extends up to the edge of the window next to a skylight (skylight does not appear to be the problem). The roof appears to be leaking into the wall due to bad flashing. The insurance company said they wouldn't pay for it (roof, mold removal or any rebuilding that needs to be done). The contractor tried to make the case of contaminated water but the insurance company said no. I had an hygienist come out - that was $675. The mold removal guy quoted me an estimate of $3,500. The roof guy said it would be around $1,000. Finally, to repair the area where the mold is depends on how much the rip out (maybe 20 square feet of wall, a built in cabinet, some hard wood flooring).

My question has to do with how to keep the costs down. Can one appeal the insurance decision? Any way to keep the costs down? It's hard to shop around because we want to handle the situation ASAP as the air sample indicated there was an elevated level of mold. The kind of mold: Stachybotrys/Memnoniella conidiophores present in sample.


Thanks for any help
Mark

strafe
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Re: Mold in house and insurance won't cover - options?

Post by strafe » Wed Aug 22, 2018 8:45 pm

What does your insurance policy coverage summary say? Is coverage for mold damage specifically excluded?

Minty
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Re: Mold in house and insurance won't cover - options?

Post by Minty » Wed Aug 22, 2018 9:32 pm

I lived in a state with mold issues, and the conventional wisdom seemed to be nothing good can come of dealing with homeowners insurance. They won't pay to repair, and may not renew your insurance or raise your rates. First thing to do is make the roof watertight and keep the humidity down. The mold won't grow without a water source.
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SimonJester
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Re: Mold in house and insurance won't cover - options?

Post by SimonJester » Thu Aug 23, 2018 8:55 am

Personally I think mold remediation companies are ripping people off based on fear. We live with mold in the air all around us, and unless the infestation is extreme or you are a person who is highly allergic you can clean it up yourself.
First thing you need to do is stop the water intrusion into the building. Mold needs water.

Next you need to open up the wall / area where the mold is growing, get rid of wet insulation and drywall. You can get a protective mask from the hardware store while you are cleaning.

Once you have the moldy drywall / insulation out spray down the area with a strong bleach solution, allow to sit and dry. Repeat as necessary and perhaps scrubbing off any stubborn mold patches.

Re insulate and hire a drywaller to repair the drywall.
Last edited by SimonJester on Thu Aug 23, 2018 9:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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willthrill81
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Re: Mold in house and insurance won't cover - options?

Post by willthrill81 » Thu Aug 23, 2018 9:15 am

strafe wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 8:45 pm
What does your insurance policy coverage summary say? Is coverage for mold damage specifically excluded?
Almost certainly yes. Our homeowners policy is with State Farm, and they are emphatic on the front-end that mold and mold-related damage are not covered. If the OP's policy states this, it's pointless to appeal it because there's nothing to appeal.

Remove the water, clean off the mold where possible, and replace what cannot be cleaned.
SimonJester wrote:
Thu Aug 23, 2018 8:55 am
Personally I think mold remediation companies are ripping people off based on fear. We live with mold in the air all around us, and unless unless the infestation is extreme or you are a person who is highly allergic you can clean it up yourself.
First thing you need to do is stop the water intrusion into the building. Mold needs water.

Next you need to open up the wall / area where the mold is growing, get rid of wet insulation and drywall. You can get a protective mask from the hardware store while you are cleaning.

Once you have the moldy drywall / insulation out spray down the area with a strong bleach solution, allow to sit and dry. Repeat as necessary and perhaps scrubbing off any stubborn mold patches.

Re insulate and hire a drywaller to repair the drywall.
:thumbsup
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carolinaman
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Re: Mold in house and insurance won't cover - options?

Post by carolinaman » Thu Aug 23, 2018 10:43 am

SimonJester wrote:
Thu Aug 23, 2018 8:55 am
Personally I think mold remediation companies are ripping people off based on fear. We live with mold in the air all around us, and unless the infestation is extreme or you are a person who is highly allergic you can clean it up yourself.
First thing you need to do is stop the water intrusion into the building. Mold needs water.

Next you need to open up the wall / area where the mold is growing, get rid of wet insulation and drywall. You can get a protective mask from the hardware store while you are cleaning.

Once you have the moldy drywall / insulation out spray down the area with a strong bleach solution, allow to sit and dry. Repeat as necessary and perhaps scrubbing off any stubborn mold patches.

Re insulate and hire a drywaller to repair the drywall.
+1. I agree with this approach. The roofer probably has a good handle on re mediating the problem. Does his offer include cleaning up the mold? If not, you or perhaps a good handyman could do what this poster described.

Shallowpockets
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Re: Mold in house and insurance won't cover - options?

Post by Shallowpockets » Thu Aug 23, 2018 10:57 am

A hygienist for $675.
I am curious about this. How did you find this person and what did they say?
Was that the first person you called?

markcoop
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Re: Mold in house and insurance won't cover - options?

Post by markcoop » Thu Aug 23, 2018 11:16 am

My policy does have a mold exclusion.

The process started with calling a guy to remove the mold (my wife just googled for a place near us). He seemed like a good guy. He said if it's less than 10 sq feet, he could do it himself. Otherwise, I would need to call a hygienist. No idea how anyone can conclude how large an area it is. He also said he could word it to at least get something back from the insurance. Mold would not be covered, but hazardous water would be. He said to call a roof guy first. Roof guy confirmed the issue with the roof but said it would be best to open the wall up to verify that it's the only problem. At that point I went back to the mold guy. He said I definitely needed to call a hygienist (no idea what changed that now he was adamant about calling the hygienist) and he recommended a few. I called the first on the list. They gave me their price of $675. So we just went with him. So the ball turns. I was expecting to get something back but then the insurance said nothing. Made me wonder if these people are working together. Ease my worries about insurance by telling me it should be at least partially covered. Start the process all over the place. Then when the insurance gets rejected, most people would just continue even without the insurance.

The hygienist gave me a detailed report of the mold and what would be required to fix it.
Mark

mouses
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Re: Mold in house and insurance won't cover - options?

Post by mouses » Thu Aug 23, 2018 11:36 am

I never heard of a mold hygienist. $675, yikes. Crooks can seem like nice people.

barnaclebob
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Re: Mold in house and insurance won't cover - options?

Post by barnaclebob » Thu Aug 23, 2018 11:41 am

SimonJester wrote:
Thu Aug 23, 2018 8:55 am
Personally I think mold remediation companies are ripping people off based on fear. We live with mold in the air all around us, and unless the infestation is extreme or you are a person who is highly allergic you can clean it up yourself.
I think so too. I've discovered that my basement had plenty of mold and my respiratory system feels much better with less nose blowing in the morning than my last house which was much newer and no known mold. Most of that mold is getting removed due to an unrelated project but the contractor wasn't concerned about it at all. He just used normal dust containment measures.

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willthrill81
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Re: Mold in house and insurance won't cover - options?

Post by willthrill81 » Thu Aug 23, 2018 11:59 am

mouses wrote:
Thu Aug 23, 2018 11:36 am
I never heard of a mold hygienist. $675, yikes. Crooks can seem like nice people.
That's a new one on me too. And that price seems really high for that kind of service. You can get a home appraisal for significantly less than that in our area.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

rgs92
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Re: Mold in house and insurance won't cover - options?

Post by rgs92 » Thu Aug 23, 2018 12:03 pm

I would never involve my home insurance for smaller things like this. Your rates could go up and you could have trouble getting new coverage.
Home insurance is for major disasters and Acts Of God.
And mold and seepage and roof leaks and the like is just general maintenance of a home.
So I don't think it is even covered.

markcoop
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Re: Mold in house and insurance won't cover - options?

Post by markcoop » Thu Aug 23, 2018 12:20 pm

My guess is the total cost will end up being $10K. I think that's worthy of an insurance claim if they would pay. I hate having insurance and then not using when I have a need because of fear of what the insurance company will do. I bet the insurance companies just love people thinking like that.
Mark

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N1CKV
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Re: Mold in house and insurance won't cover - options?

Post by N1CKV » Thu Aug 23, 2018 12:39 pm

2 years back my house flooded and mold was definitely a concern, below is my assessment for your consideration:
1. Mold exists EVERYWHERE. The only question is if the levels are bad. The "results" often presented by mold remediation guys is incomplete leaving you to fill in the blank, usually resulting in giving them the job to "clean it up". If you have a leak you need to go in regardless...
2. Stop water intrusion, remove everything wet that cannot be dried or impeding structure from drying.
3. With the wall/ ceiling open and removable items out use a dehumidifier to dry the area. You can rent this. It will take some time (up to several weeks in my case). Use a moisture probe meter to determine when the wood structure is dry enough to close. It is not possible to assess this properly without a meter.
4. You can use products such as Concrobium mold control, available at most hardware stores, to treat the area. Household bleach has too much water content to be effective and does not soak in beyond the surface. Stronger bleach may work ("outdoor bleach"), but is still not recommended.
5. Once the above is complete you can begin reconstruction/ closing up the wall. Hopefully in the meantime you have had ample time to verify the roof repair is watertight.

Dealing with mold is not really a big deal, other than it has to be dealt with properly or you will face never ending problems.
I have met a lot of people that claim to love money, but they also seem to be the same people that are in the biggest hurry to get rid of it.

markcoop
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Re: Mold in house and insurance won't cover - options?

Post by markcoop » Fri Aug 24, 2018 11:53 am

At this point, I already owe the hygienist $675. Probably will go with the mold removal guy. Also plan to higher the roof. I may do some of the fixing up indoors after the mold guy. The one cost I just learned about was the cost to have the hygienist come out and do a second testing. That is another $675. From my point of view, does not seem necessary. Not sure how the mold removal guy or hygienist feel about em not doing or if there is any requirement for me to do it.
Mark

markcoop
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Re: Mold in house and insurance won't cover - options?

Post by markcoop » Sat Sep 08, 2018 7:07 am

So I hired the mold removal guy.They seem to be doing a thorough job. Since I am paying everything out of pocket, I am looking to save costs anywhere. I am still debating whether it is worth it to hire the hygienist a second time for $675 to test the work of the mold removal guy. Right now there is a big humidifier in the room. They removed the drywall in the affected area. Everything was thoroughly heppa vacuumed and wiped down with antimicrobial. They have some of their own testing items (test moisture in walls). Certainly an independent person is better, but not sure it is necessary. Any thoughts?
Mark

2015
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Re: Mold in house and insurance won't cover - options?

Post by 2015 » Sat Sep 08, 2018 11:36 am

markcoop wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 7:07 am
So I hired the mold removal guy.They seem to be doing a thorough job. Since I am paying everything out of pocket, I am looking to save costs anywhere. I am still debating whether it is worth it to hire the hygienist a second time for $675 to test the work of the mold removal guy. Right now there is a big humidifier in the room. They removed the drywall in the affected area. Everything was thoroughly heppa vacuumed and wiped down with antimicrobial. They have some of their own testing items (test moisture in walls). Certainly an independent person is better, but not sure it is necessary. Any thoughts?
The suggestion above the mold remediation companies exist only to prey on the fears of the public is nonsense. Depending on your state, you may have significant issues when you go to sell your home if mold has not been remediated. If you live in California you have to complete all kinds of disclosures that specifically directing you as a home seller disclosing having any knowledge of past or present mold. Disclosure forms in California have specific warning language to buyers regarding mold (and everything else under the sun). Also in California, you must provide to the prospective buyer any and all reports provided to you during the process of remediation. In March of this year, a mold remediation company I contacted due to a mold smell referred me to a separate, independent lab who tested pre-remediation. After the mold was remediated, they referred me to a second, independent lab for post-remediation testing. I highly recommend engaging post-remediation testing if you think you may have to disclose the presence of mold in the future. The pre and post testing companies as well as the mold remediation company were outstanding. Their reports helped sell my home as they satisfied the buyer that the mold had been successfully remediated.

Edited to add: There is no way I would have attempted to remediate the mold on my own as the people who do this for a living are true experts. They create containment areas, work only in hazmat like suits, and ensure the mold does not spread during remediation. Mold does exist everywhere, but my post-remediation results showed subsequent mold testing levels to be lower inside than outside. This is not something I would play with, but many BH individuals seem to think they can do everything themselves including creating the universe in just 6 days after watching a Youtube video. In life, sometimes you really do get what you pay for, and mold is one of those areas I personally would not want to mess around with.

IntangibleAssets
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Re: Mold in house and insurance won't cover - options?

Post by IntangibleAssets » Sat Sep 08, 2018 1:45 pm

$675 does seem quite excessive (idk your area, we are LCOL), we recently had a full visual house inspection done for $45. We knew there was some mold in our house, and called around several reputable places (Reviews, BBB, Angieslist, etc) to get quotes. The place that stuck out to us said "if you can see the mold...the mitigation procedure will be the same" We did our homework reviewing mitigation procedures and options online to ask the right questions and they weren't some fly by night company. The others quoted $300-400, in order to come out and test...their test included samples sent to the lab to determine what mold it is" along with some infrared "in the wall" looks. None of that was worth an additional $250 to me as you didn't need those things in order to mitigate properly.

I wouldn't involve insurance, and might recommend trying to get an additional quotes if you can get them cheaply before that large of an outlay.

You could additionally try a payment plan approach, or just ask for a discount. Every tradeperson I've worked with has some flexibility built in to negotiate prices, if they are under median price I don't negotiate unless the job done was IMO poor.

Most mold issues are mitigated with a dehumidifier, but one in the attic would be a PITA unless you had easy access to drain it.

Hope it works out for you!

markcoop
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Re: Mold in house and insurance won't cover - options?

Post by markcoop » Sat Sep 08, 2018 2:59 pm

I live in NY state if that sheds any light on my situation.

I guess my question at the moment is what will be needed when I sell the house at some point. It's not like I am not taking care of the problem. I hired an hygienist to do the initial testing. I hired a mold company to do the remediation. Is there any requirement in NY to have another independent test done? How does getting such a test affect a future house sale? I guess that's my homework assignment, but would appreciate any other comments.
Mark

markcoop
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Re: Mold in house and insurance won't cover - options?

Post by markcoop » Sat Sep 08, 2018 3:54 pm

IntangibleAssets wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 1:45 pm
I wouldn't involve insurance, and might recommend trying to get an additional quotes if you can get them cheaply before that large of an outlay.
Why not involve insurance? A letter from lawyer to the insurance may help get something. Why not pursue that?
Mark

IntangibleAssets
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Re: Mold in house and insurance won't cover - options?

Post by IntangibleAssets » Sat Sep 08, 2018 4:08 pm

markcoop wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 3:54 pm
IntangibleAssets wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 1:45 pm
I wouldn't involve insurance, and might recommend trying to get an additional quotes if you can get them cheaply before that large of an outlay.
Why not involve insurance? A letter from lawyer to the insurance may help get something. Why not pursue that?
If I'm reading correctly, it sounded like you already reviewed your policy and called the insurance company and it was determined not covered (although yes it's possible a contractor could reframe it as water damage, most policies also have a roof deductible you might check that).

I suppose it depends on your ability (financial), willingness, and stomach for that and the potential souring of a relationship with your Ins company (i.e they don't renew, raise rate, etc. as mentioned above by other posters)

It's a very personal thing and you may get some resolution, I might try calling your agent again or another one first before resorting to a letter from a lawyer if that's an avenue you choose to pursue.

carolinaman
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Re: Mold in house and insurance won't cover - options?

Post by carolinaman » Sun Sep 09, 2018 7:20 am

SimonJester wrote:
Thu Aug 23, 2018 8:55 am
Personally I think mold remediation companies are ripping people off based on fear. We live with mold in the air all around us, and unless the infestation is extreme or you are a person who is highly allergic you can clean it up yourself.
First thing you need to do is stop the water intrusion into the building. Mold needs water.


Next you need to open up the wall / area where the mold is growing, get rid of wet insulation and drywall. You can get a protective mask from the hardware store while you are cleaning.

Once you have the moldy drywall / insulation out spray down the area with a strong bleach solution, allow to sit and dry. Repeat as necessary and perhaps scrubbing off any stubborn mold patches.

Re insulate and hire a drywaller to repair the drywall.
+1. There are varying degrees of mold infestation. The first thing is to solve the root cause problem, water and moisture intrusion that creates the environment for mold to grow and thrive. Moisture is the fuel that enables mold to grow. Once that is done, in many cases all you need to do is clean the affected areas with strong bleach solution. Repairs may or may not be needed depending on the damage.

Mold remediation companies use fear tactics for people to spend large sums of money to remediate mold, which is often overdone and may be unnecessary.

jbmitt
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Re: Mold in house and insurance won't cover - options?

Post by jbmitt » Sun Sep 09, 2018 7:58 am

markcoop wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 3:54 pm
IntangibleAssets wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 1:45 pm
I wouldn't involve insurance, and might recommend trying to get an additional quotes if you can get them cheaply before that large of an outlay.
Why not involve insurance? A letter from lawyer to the insurance may help get something. Why not pursue that?
What’s your endgame with the insurance company? Getting dropped? I can assure you, based on my time adjusting claims, that some adjuster didn’t decide to deny your claim without reviewing it with a manager. The odds of them reversing course are small, unless you have information to prove that their analysis was incorrect. Getting a lawyer will just cost you more money.

Mold is typically excluded by insurance as it’s usually wear and tear or lack of maintenance. Exceptions are when it’s direct, sudden and accidental. For example a pipe breaks in a warm climate, and mold grows immediately.

From what you’ve described, the mold isn’t covered by your insurance.

Jags4186
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Re: Mold in house and insurance won't cover - options?

Post by Jags4186 » Sun Sep 09, 2018 8:04 am

markcoop wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 2:59 pm
I live in NY state if that sheds any light on my situation.

I guess my question at the moment is what will be needed when I sell the house at some point. It's not like I am not taking care of the problem. I hired an hygienist to do the initial testing. I hired a mold company to do the remediation. Is there any requirement in NY to have another independent test done? How does getting such a test affect a future house sale? I guess that's my homework assignment, but would appreciate any other comments.
I guess I still don' know what a hygienist is/does, why are you not getting a mold inspector to come in? Every single house has mold--there is mold everywhere. You just don't want the bad mold. I suspect a hygienist will run some air test and say your air quality is awful based on a bunch of malarky.

markcoop
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Re: Mold in house and insurance won't cover - options?

Post by markcoop » Sun Sep 09, 2018 10:29 am

Jags4186 wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 8:04 am
markcoop wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 2:59 pm
I live in NY state if that sheds any light on my situation.

I guess my question at the moment is what will be needed when I sell the house at some point. It's not like I am not taking care of the problem. I hired an hygienist to do the initial testing. I hired a mold company to do the remediation. Is there any requirement in NY to have another independent test done? How does getting such a test affect a future house sale? I guess that's my homework assignment, but would appreciate any other comments.
I guess I still don' know what a hygienist is/does, why are you not getting a mold inspector to come in? Every single house has mold--there is mold everywhere. You just don't want the bad mold. I suspect a hygienist will run some air test and say your air quality is awful based on a bunch of malarky.
I believe the hygienist is the mold inspector. The mold removal guy told me I need to get the hygienist because it was more than 10 square feet of mold. The hygienist took samples of the mold and air and came back with this detailed report of the mold and how to re-mediate it. The mold removal guy then did the work. They are independent by design. That is where I am right now. I am content that the mold removal guy did (not really done yet) a good job. What I currently don't know is what will need to be disclosed when I sell the house. Is a second test by the hygienist necessary?

As for insurance mentioned above, I probably won't pursue anything. Was just asking the question as to what would be the harm. The hygienist is right now my main concern.
Mark

cookieid
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Re: Mold in house and insurance won't cover - options?

Post by cookieid » Sun Sep 09, 2018 1:22 pm

If the hygienist is your concerned, can you get free estimates from other hygienists.

boglerdude
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Re: Mold in house and insurance won't cover - options?

Post by boglerdude » Mon Sep 10, 2018 1:24 am

Its all BS but at this point just shell out a little more for their certificates that the place is clear

hightower
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Re: Mold in house and insurance won't cover - options?

Post by hightower » Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:49 am

How to deal with mold?

Bleach in a spray bottle
Fix humidity issue

MtnTraveler
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Re: Mold in house and insurance won't cover - options?

Post by MtnTraveler » Mon Sep 10, 2018 2:20 pm

Years ago we had a mold situation due to improperly installed windows by the former owner. One of the exterior walls had to be reframed/rebuilt and as the process went on I just took pictures so when I sell the house I can show them to the buyer if need be. I did not have any sort of 'mold' specialist come out but I did have a structural engineer who advised on what needed to be done. I don't think you need the mold hygienist back out if you can show the work was done and the problem solved.

markcoop
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Re: Mold in house and insurance won't cover - options?

Post by markcoop » Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:31 pm

The problem in my case is very clear - roof leaking. In fact, I spoke to the mold remediation guy this morning and he said he did not think the post-test is necessary if we replace all the framing (a job he would not do, but rather the roof guy would do). At this point point I am planning to skip the second test unless I learn that it will hurt the resale of the house somehow.
Mark

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