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When the predicted torrent of rain from El Niño comes, it will be a welcome addition to the drought-level reservoirs here in Southern California, as well as to our parched ground (although hopefully no too all much at once). But as anyone who has taken an elementary-level science class knows, water also brings mold.
Mold removal can be costly. Most experts agree that an average mold removal can cost anywhere from around $4,000 to $15,000 or more. The price can vary widely depending on where the mold is and how much of it there is. Mold behind walls will cost plenty more to remove than in and around a laundry room drain pipe. Taking care of mold limited to one room is a bit less expensive that when it has spread throughout the house.
Many homeowners policies do not cover mold damage at all. In fact, it is often specifically excluded. In certain cases, your insurance company will cover mold damage, such as if the water came from a recently burst pipe or is a result of a fire being put out. If it is due to neglect, like a chronic leaky pipe or damaged roof, then you are probably on your own.
The Insurance Information Institute (III) posted some excellent tips for avoiding mold growth in your home:
- Lower indoor humidity with air conditioners, dehumidifiers, and exhaust fans.
- Inspect hoses and fittings on appliances, sinks, and toilets.
- Use household cleaners with mold-killing ingredients like bleach.
- Opt for paints and primers that contain mold inhibitors.
- Clean gutters to avoid overflow and check roof for leaks.
- Avoid carpet in wet areas like basements and bathrooms.
- Remove and dry carpet, padding, and upholstery within 48 hours of flooding.
Sit down with your insurance professional and look over your homeowners (and other) policies to see if you are covered for mold damage as well as other potential water-related claims. The time to do it is while the sun is shining.