Hurricane Preparedness Checklist


Advice For Mold In Your Home

What to Do If You Find Mold in Your Home

If you were to list potential threats to both your health and your home, chances are mold wouldn’t be anywhere near the top. But considering how common and dangerous mold actually is, perhaps it should be.

Mold is no pesky cleaning problem. It has been known to cause serious illness ranging from allergic reactions and dermatitis to full-blown asthma attacks. Children, the elderly and those suffering from chronic diseases are especially susceptible to mold’s unhealthy effects.

If you notice mold in your home, it requires immediate attention. The steps you take to eradicate existing mold and manage future outbreaks will protect not only your home but your health as well.

Here is some key information for dealing with mold in your home.

How Does Mold Get into Your Home?

Like most microorganisms, mold spores are everywhere—including in your home—and are virtually impossible to get rid of completely. In most instances, this microscopic freeloading usually comes at no consequence to the homeowner. However, trouble starts when these spores are given sufficient amounts of moisture. Their favorite spots to fester indoors include naturally damp areas such as bathrooms, kitchens, laundry rooms, basements and crawlspaces.

Because the spores cannot grow without moisture, reducing the dampness in your home is the number one way to combat mold growth. If you notice mold resulting from too much moisture in your home, try using a dehumidifier or adding insulation to cold surfaces to lessen dampness. It is also a good idea to keep doors between rooms open to increase air circulation and heat cold surfaces, which reduces condensation.

How Do You Clean It Up?

All the dehumidifiers and circulation in the world, however, will not help you deal with mold that’s already present. Once you have spotted mold in your home—maybe some of your items are discolored or look smudged and blotchy—or smelled its musty odor, it needs to be dealt with swiftly. The question is: Who is going to take care of the cleanup?

The size and scope of the outbreak determines who does the dirty work. If the mold is isolated to a few spots in your shower or kitchen, then you can often take charge and clean it yourself. Routine maintenance with water and bleach—always wear proper gloves and eye protection—should take care of the problem. However, if the mold growth is too widespread or in hard-to-reach places like the back of wallpaper, drywall or underneath the carpet, we suggest hiring someone you trust to do the job for you.

When it comes to protecting your home from mold, prevention really is the best way to go. If you can control the amount of moisture in your home, then you can control the amount of mold in your home.

It is important to be aware that there is frequently a $10,000 limit on mold in many homeowner policies. Gables Insurance Recovery is available to examine your policy in light of these limits, which can be an unwelcomed surprise in the event of a loss.

If you have mold in your home and would like to file an insurance claim but have some questions, feel free to contact us today. We would be more than happy to walk you through the process.

Up to Date Appraisal

Why You Should Have An Up-to-Date Appraisal For Your Home

Your home is one of the biggest investments you will make in your lifetime, so it’s especially important that you protect it with a comprehensive insurance policy. But in order to do so, you must first estimate the market value of your home.

Knowing approximately what your South Florida home is worth can benefit you in many ways. It allows you to have greater control over your insurance premiums, your property taxes and the eventual refinancing or sale of your home. What’s more, in the event of a claim or a total loss, having an updated appraisal can also relieve you of the burden of a costly co-insurance penalty.

Of course you can make an educated estimate about the value of your home yourself, but for a precise figure, you will need to hire a licensed professional to do an appraisal. Here are a couple of reasons you want to make sure that figure is up-to-date.

More Control

It’s common knowledge that no one likes overpaying for products or services. From luxury items to necessities, everyone likes to keep as much of their money as possible. In this way, appraisals are like safety nets, valuable services that save you from overpaying where you don’t have to.

If you regularly have your home appraised, you are more likely to discover that the value has changed. For instance, if the value has dropped but you are still with the same policy that insured your property’s greater value, then you are paying more than you have to each month on your policy premiums. Armed with the updated knowledge afforded by regular appraisals, you can meet with your insurance provider and negotiate new terms that more accurately reflect your property’s true value.

Avoid Costly Penalties

Regular appraisals save you money by helping you avoid unnecessary expenses—namely the coinsurance penalty. This penalty occurs when “the limit of insurance purchased by the insured is not at least equal to a specified percentage of the value of the insured property.” In other words, this coinsurance provision gives your insurance company the right to penalize you by reducing the amount of your claim payment in the event the amount of insurance you purchased is inadequate.

If you are worried that you could receive a coinsurance penalty, we recommend you contact your insurance agent and ask them to go over your full Explanation of Benefits (EOB).

An up-to-date home appraisal nips this problem in the bud. As we mentioned before, if you know the current value of your home, then you can purchase an appropriate amount of insurance sufficient to cover you in the event of a loss, keeping your insurance adequate and keeping you out of harm’s way.

Dealing with Termites

How to Deal with Termite Damage

If you are a homeowner or are considering buying a home, then you might be familiar with the nightmare termites can be. Often unseen, these pint-sized pests need just the smallest crack in a home’s foundation to enter and turn a wooden structure into an all-you-can-eat buffet. Before you know it, they have caused extensive damage that is costly and time-consuming to repair.
While that image is in your mind, we’ll suggest that it’s never a bad idea to review your homeowner’s insurance policy to see if it covers termite damage. And in the meantime, here are a few pointers on preventing, treating, and repairing termite damage.

How to Prevent Termites

There are a few steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of an unwanted termite infestation. Termites love standing water, so make sure your gutters aren’t blocked and the grade around your property properly drains water away from the house. Check to make sure there are no cracks or gaps in your foundation that could afford termites access to the structural wood they feed on. Also, keep firewood or scrap wood well away from the house so as not to attract the pests. If you have a porch or other wooden elements, treat them with a high-grade sealant.

But all termite-control products wear off over time, so one of the surest ways to prevent infestation is to have your home inspected annually, especially if you live in a wet, humid climate like South Florida that is conducive to termites. Also, if your neighbors have been tenting, it’s a good idea to get an inspection. Misery loves company and a history of termites in the area is worth investigating.

How to Treat an Infestation

Of course, the best way to deal with termites is not to have them in the first place. But once they’re in your home, nothing matters more than getting rid of them fast. If you notice termite tunnels, come across debris that looks like excreted wood or spot termites themselves (they appear as small, milky white insects), call a professional immediately before further damage is done. You can attempt to treat the infestation yourself using either a bait treatment or a liquid treatment. But that carries the risk of not doing away with the entire colony—subterranean colonies can house hundreds of thousands of termites foraging in different directions—and localized treatments, while less expensive, don’t always get the job done.

How to Find Out If Your Insurance Covers Termite Damage

It’s generally a complicated issue, so your first step should be to speak with your insurance agent. Most agents say that termite damage is not covered by their homeowner’s insurance policy, but it is important to read your policy for yourself, because under the terms of some policies, termite damage is indeed covered. For example, a policy might explicitly exclude termite damage from coverage, but later provide coverage for “collapse.” In this case, if the “collapse” was the result of termite damage, then the same policy that excluded termite damage might in reality cover it.
If you need assistance recovering on an insurance claim related to termite damage, or merely need help determining if your insurance will cover it, give us a call to schedule an appointment today.