Mold is a serious threat to renters and homeowners alike. It’s present everywhere, and your home is a perfect environment for it to grow in whether you live in a semi-arid climate and have Carson City Renters Insurance or you live in a more humid area.
The reason for this is that the spores are everywhere, and it’s easy to accidentally create the ideal environment for mold growth in hidden spaces, where you’ll never notice it until it’s too late! As a renter, what can you do to protect yourself from the risk of mold? Does renters insurance cover mold? You’ll find the answers right here.
Mold Is Everywhere
The spores that create mold are everywhere. It doesn’t matter how clean your home is, and it doesn’t matter whether or not you vacuum. What matters is that mold spores are hardy and difficult at best to kill. You’ll never get rid of the spores completely.
That means it’s important to prevent the environments that mold likes to grow in. It’s also crucial to take action at the first sign of mold. Jeff Paquet, a longtime HVAC contractor, says
…Renters should keep an eye out for early signs of mold, including small patches of discoloration commonly found in the corner of the ceiling or floor, and musty mold odor. To prevent moisture build up and the development of mold, ensure your AC unit is properly installed and ventilated. Many people do not realize that over the warmer months, their AC units could be leaking and causing mold growth in their home.
Your air conditioning is actually one of the most common places for mold to start. Improper drainage and leaks in tight spaces create exactly the conditions under which mold flourishes.
Bleach Isn’t Enough To Kill Mold
If you have a small mold problem, there are appropriate household products to remove it from hard surfaces. Porous surfaces and large growth, however, mean you need to involve your landlord and either maintenance or a mold remediation professional. Keith Phillips of Franklin Environmental Services often uses an EPA-registered antimicrobial coating after cleaning the surface. This not only kills the mold colony, but also helps to prevent future growth.
For large mold problems, professionals also use various containment methods to make sure that cleanup doesn’t spread spores further. This is especially important when porous materials need to be removed and disposed of, according to Phillips.
Apartment Mold Isn’t An Eyesore, It’s A Potential Health Hazard
To be clear, very few types of mold are toxic. As a matter of fact, not all mold that is black is toxic. That’s a specific type of black mold, and requires professional remediation. But even garden-variety mold in your apartment is problematic for your health. Not because it’s all toxic, but because it can interfere with your respiratory system.
If you’re having trouble breathing, or if you’ve noticed ongoing symptoms that feel like hay fever but just won’t go away, mold may be the cause and you’d be well advised to look for it. Remember that mold can and does grow in hidden areas, especially areas with a slow leak.
Just because it’s growing in a hidden space doesn’t mean it will stay in that space, or that it won’t impact your health. The spores can travel to interfere with your breathing anywhere in the home. In apartments with poor ventilation or shared ventilation, it can even be a threat to your neighbors.
Renters Insurance And Mold Coverage
There are a number of things that you should be aware of when it comes to renters insurance and mold coverage.
First, mold coverage is excluded from the base policy form. It’s then carved back with an endorsement for a limited amount of coverage, often $5,000 for remediation.
What does carved back mean? Put simply, it means coverage for mold is added back in by endorsement. Why would the insurance company do that? This most frequently occurs when there are significant limitations or exclusions that apply to the coverage. Excluding mold and then narrowly defining remediation coverage in an endorsement allows for greater clarity of coverage.
Renters insurance coverage for mold is limited to remediation of mold which is caused by a covered peril. Covered perils are the things which are named in the policy as covered causes of loss. We’ve also gone more in-depth on coverage issues for spores, rot, mildew, and fungi elsewhere.
In addition, you have a duty to mitigate your damages. That means you need to stop the damage from getting worse to the extent possible. Make sure the leak is fixed. Dry out the area. Make sure the landlord removes the mold. Your renters insurance policy will only cover damages up to the point where you reasonably could have prevented it from getting worse.
In other words, don’t delay at all once you discover the mold!
You Often Can Prevent Apartment Mold Easily
Pete Duncanson, Director of System Development at ServiceMaster Restore and chairman of the board for the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification, offers some helpful tips.
- The best defenses against mold are to take away its food source, ensure adequate airflow, and reduce moisture in the air.
- Don’t rely on retail products, such as bleaches that promise to kill mold, especially on porous surfaces.
- Vacuum vents every month to remove dust, a primary food source for mold.
- If you see mold in an area, do not [just] use a fan to dry it out. Call a professional, as you will likely spread mold spores and create the potential for even more damage.
- To reduce moisture and control ventilation in the bathroom, run an exhaust fan during a shower or open the door and windows in the bathroom after using it.
Many retail products will change how mold looks, and you might think it’s gone because you don’t see it, Duncanson says. But, the only way to get rid of mold completely and safely — and to be sure you’re protecting your property and health from additional risk — is to have trained professionals physically remove it from the affected area.
Look For Mold In The Right Places
Duncanson, of ServiceMaster Restore, also notes that “basements and bathrooms are the rooms where mold is most likely to be present.” Different regions of the country will have different “most likely” locations, of course. Your local climate has a great deal to do with that. It’s also relevant that local construction practices vary. In areas where basements are uncommon, basement mold is unlikely to be a problem for most people.
Ventilation of the home is a crucial way to protect your home from mold. In an apartment, you can’t make permanent changes to the ventilation, of course. You can, however, make sure that you are using what ventilation you have. Exchanging room air for outside air can go a long way towards preventing the problem.
Your Health Is More Important Than Your Lifestyle Choices
We get it. You don’t like harsh chemicals, especially around your pets or your kids. We don’t blame you for using natural or safer products for every-day cleaning. You’re making a responsible lifestyle choice, and we respect that. But here’s the story when it comes to many organic and natural mold remediation products:
They don’t work.
Unfortunately, just about the only thing that kills mold and keeps it from coming back is… harsh chemical products. The good news is that mold remediation is handled by people who are trained and certified in using and containing those chemicals properly. They’re also regulated by the EPA and other agencies. They’re entirely qualified to safely and effectively choose and apply the correct products in a way that contains both the chemicals and the mold.
Now that you know what you need to know about apartment mold, coverage for it, and how to respond to it, how much do you know about renters insurance? Did you know that you can get renters insurance in just sixty seconds? Just call (800)892-4308 or click to get covered - whether you need renters insurance quotes online or coverage anywhere else!
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