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The Challenges of Collecting for Mold Damage After a Major Storm

| Jan 27, 2016 | Insurance Claims |

Just about every coastal Floridian understands the effects of water better than many other Americans. The combination of wetness and high humidity create the perfect environment for the growth of mold within a home. Mold, not only has potentially serious effects on your health, but it can cause extensive and expensive property damage in a very short period of time. Even though the connection between a storm event, property damage and the subsequent growth of mold seems obvious, our Fort Lauderdale property damage attorneys often get called in to assist when insurance companies deny valid claims.

Mold Control Requires Moisture Control

Although the Environmental Protection Agency asserts that it is impossible to completely eliminate indoor mold spores, those spores will not grow without moisture. Of course, property owners bear the primary responsibility for remaining constantly alert for mold growth and the conditions that cause it. You must fix leaks and other water damage promptly and make sure that water-exposed areas are dry enough to prevent the growth of mold spores.

Florida property owners can often expect to spend significant time and money addressing moisture control and mold growth issues. However, these expenditures are a natural part of property ownership — just like the countless other repairs that must be made within any building. Still, when major storms or other events covered by property insurance lead to mold damage, the policies should often cover some or all of the costs associated with mold damage. However, policies often contain mold exclusions or limitations on the amount of coverage available to pay for the testing and eradication of mold.

Insurers Often Unfairly Deny Mold Damage Claims

It is important to understand that property insurance policies commonly exclude damage for mold, but insurers should reimburse for mold remediation as part of claims for covered perils, such as storms or hurricanes. It is not uncommon for insurance companies to deny this coverage by trying to disassociate the mold from the named peril, often using one of the following two arguments:

  • Since Florida’s coastal areas are exposed to more moisture even without storms, they may claim that the mold issue already existed at the time of the storm or other covered event.
  • Mold can easily appear a distance away from storm-caused water damage. Property owners know that mold appeared in a bedroom only after the living room sustained storm damage and increased the humidity levels throughout the house. However, the insurance company may disconnect the mold from the storm damage to deny that portion of the claim.

Few property owners can fight arguments like these without legal assistance. They may need substantial evidence to prove that they properly protected their property from mold prior to the incident that caused the damage. Additionally, they will need to rely on scientific testing performed by forensic professionals who can often determine the source and scope of mold.

Before accepting that a significant out-of-pocket, uncovered mold remediation expense is inevitable, property owners should seek advice from a law firm with extensive experience in this specialized area of the law. Call us at (954) 767-6333 or use our convenient online contact form to discuss your situation and find out if you can negotiate a full and fair settlement for the mold damage portion of your claim.