Be careful about what you initially say to your insurance agent or adjuster when filing a claim for a leak or water damage and mold. One reason is that insurance companies, particularly some adjusters, like to seize on information you tell them about what happens which is normal. The problem is that once you say something it can be hard to correct an incorrect statement with the insurance company.
For example, if discover a leak under your kitchen sink you may surmise it has been there for a while and tell the insurance adjuster that. If you say that they will conclude that because the leak was going on for longer than a week and you just now take action about it that you were being a negligent home owner and thereby give reason to deny coverage of the claim.
When you first discover a leak or evidence of moisture/water somewhere in your home take the appropriate action to address the issue. This may mean calling a plumber or ‘mold inspector’ or a restoration company. The plumber can fix the leak but there may still be moisture in the surrounding area and that needs to be determined by one of the other type companies just mentioned. You will then get information about what needs to be done next to address lingering moisture such as a ‘Mold Inspection Report’.
At this point you can call your insurance to file a claim. However, you tell them that you ‘discovered a leak’ on said date and then took these steps to address it. This shows you are being a diligent home owner and they will normally honor your insurance claim and pay for the damages. If you say ‘I think the leak has been there for a while’, like several weeks or months, the insurance company may conclude you knew about it but took late action on it and deny the claim. Don’t tell the insurance company how long you think the leak has been going on since you really don’t know that. In the insurance company’s eyes the leak occurred ‘when you found it’ and not before. So, you always say when you discovered the leak and that you took or are taking appropriate action. Your insurance policy basically says you need to take needed action when you discover things like this. Otherwise, the insurance is not obligated to help pay the bills.
Steve Mullins (i.e. Mold Detector)
CMC, Certified Microbial Consultant
Moisture and Mold Detection, Inc.