Homeownership may be the American dream, but it can also turn into a nightmare when things go wrong. Just as parents are prone to say, “little kids, little problems, big kids, big problems,” there is a big difference between addressing the problems that arise in a residence you’re renting and when you are the actual owner. Suddenly you’re looking at the possibility of sky-high costs to fix things that you never anticipated going wrong.
Among the biggest nightmares that homeowners face is when problems occur that they assume will be covered by their homeowner’s insurance, only to find that they either aren’t covered or that they have to fight with their insurer in order to get compensated for their expenses. Two examples are stucco defects and black mold.
Stucco defects are a relatively recent phenomenon that has arisen since builders began using stucco on residences rather than siding or brick. Stucco is attractive and is being marketed as being low maintenance, a good insulator, and flame retardant. The flip side of these benefits is that when stucco is improperly installed, water can accumulate behind it, ruining the look of your home as well as its underlying framework. Stucco defects lead to increases in the home’s humidity, insect infestations, and mold. The repairs that are required are extremely expensive. Homeowners who assume that their homeowner’s insurance will cover these damages are often unpleasantly surprised to find that insurers may argue that the problem is their own fault, or not covered under their plan. In some cases, they blame the builder and make it the homeowner’s responsibility to pursue justice from the builder’s insurance.
Similarly, when black mold is found inside a home, insurers are often quick to blame the problem on a non-covered issue such as a preventable water leak, high humidity, or flooding. Insurance policies frequently deny claims for mold, saying that the issue is a result of poor maintenance, and therefore the expense is the homeowner’s problem unless it occurs as a result of a covered peril such as fire, lightning, vandalism, or weight of ice, snow or sleet. Most insurance policies will also cover mold caused by accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam from plumbing, an HVAC system, a sprinkler system or frozen pipes.
If you have encountered either a stucco defect or black mold in your home and you are having a problem with your insurer, we can help. Contact us today to put an experienced and knowledgeable advocate on your side.