Water Damage Side Effects More Than Just Property Damage

Water damage affects many each year and the cause of origin can be any number of things you can imagine.  Did you know that on average at least $12 million of water damage is the cause of headache and loss in California each year? Some of the most common causes are broken or frozen pipes, heavy rain and believe it or not, sprinkler systems! When this happens depending on the humidity and present weather conditions, mold can start growing in as quickly as 24-48 hours.  Mold will spread fast and cover areas thoroughly and extensively.

Seemingly small areas can appear easy to fix but there should be no delay in action of this process as there are many more dangers that should be considered.

Why does mold grow so fast, especially indoors? The reason is that elements such as wet wood and drywall, for instance, encourage growth of mold in humid environments.  Water and heat creates this humid environment making it a breeding ground for mold.

Once mold has grown in an area that has been damaged by water, it can cause various illnesses and unwanted symptoms, especially in susceptible individuals with lowered immune systems. Mold also attracts various insects such as dust mites that also thrive in these areas. Some of the health problems that are caused can be the direct attack mold launches on your immune system.  Dr. John T. Chiu of the Allergy Medical Group, Inc. outlines the dangers and effects that mold can have on his site here.  Dr. Chiu is an allergy expert and his expert testimony has been used in various legal matters concerning mold and the body’s reaction to mold.  Mold is a volatile organic compound that can irritate the respiratory system and entire immune system at various levels.  For many others, symptoms remain unknown.  He says that the prime reason for mold’s ability to inhabit the body as it does is due to the microbial nature of the bacteria strain.

“Genetically susceptible people often develop allergic reactions to these agents. The most frequently detected molds in these structures are Aspergillus, Penicillium, and Stachybotrys, but elevated spore counts of other mold species are often detected as well. Such measurements can be obtained through an environmental assessment firm usually headed by an industrial hygienist or a Ph.D. in microbiology.”

“Diseases such as bronchial asthma, allergic rhinitis, allergic conjunctivitis, and occasionally hives (urticaria) are usually the consequence of allergic sensitization to the molds detected and/or house dust mite droppings.”

Please be careful when dealing with wet environments and do not deal with any mold you may encounter directly.  If you suspect mold please call a professional immediately. Public adjusters or Insurance Claims Adjuster can help you recover damages from water damaged areas in your home or building and coordinate restoration services so that your area can be cleaned and restored to proper conditions.

Water and Flood Damage Claims

by John Morgenstern

Just last week I wrote about water damage and mentioned that actual flooding damage won’t be covered unless you have flood insurance. Wow – lots of feedback requesting further information! I hope this helps.

Homeowners and commercial property owners in flood plains are keenly aware of the need to purchase insurance to cover flood-related losses. The federal government, in conjunction with the insurance industry and local communities, formed the National Flood Insurance Program in 1968. This program makes flood coverage available nationwide.

Nearly twenty-five percent of flood insurance claims come from parts of the country that the NFIP considers low to moderate flood risk. NFIP reports that recent year average flood claims have been $24K per household. Often, for homes in moderate to high risk areas, lenders mandate the coverage. Don’t bank on disaster assistance from the feds. The federal government only provides it if the President declares a disaster. And, that assistance is loans, not grants.

To be eligible for flood insurance, you must live in a community that participates in the NFIP. In return, communities implement floodplain management specifications that minimize losses from floods. Use FEMA’s website to determine if your California community participates. The policy is subsidized and administered by the federal government but you purchase it through regular insurance companies.

Costs – Flooding is currently in the news in Minnesota and Wisconsin. A quick check of rates there shows that homeowners in Stillwater, MN (on the WI border and on the scenic St. Croix River) pay over $100 per month for coverage, while a homeowner in Anaheim, CA may only spend $150 per year.

Limitations on coverage are about $500,000 for commercial property and about $350,000 for homes (including damage to contents).

Be cautious. You must know the definition of a flood before you purchase a policy! For example, damage from heavy rains may not qualify. The definition of “flood” used in the coverage is – a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area or of two or more properties (at least one of which is the policyholder’s property) from 1) overflow of inland or tidal waters, 2) unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source, 3) mudflow or 4) collapse of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels.

Myths and Misconceptions abound. For some reason there are lots of misconceptions about flood insurance. The truth is that you can get coverage

1. Nationwide

2. Flood plain or not

3. In spite of the fact that your property may have flooded in the recent past

4. Through your existing Agent/Company (likely)

I hope this helps you understand a little more about water damage from floods. Please visit our Water Damage Insurance Claims page for additional information and resources.