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Charlie Glahe WIN Broomfield

Many Americans ill-informed about mold damage

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Homeowners insurance provides for a variety of issues that can damage a home, issues that ultimately affect what's traditionally they're most significant financial investment. But there are those things that insurance doesn't cover, and as such, individuals need to be vigilant about how to avoid them by performing their own home inspection.

According to a recent study conducted by polling firm Princeton Survey Research Associates International, more than four in every 10 Americans - 41 percent - are under the impression that standard homeowners coverage protects policyholders from the costs associated with mold damage. But in the vast majority of instances, this assumption is inaccurate, as insurers traditionally don't include this in their covered losses.

Laura Adams, an insurance experts for a quote comparison company that commissioned the poll, pointed out that these flawed suppositions can prove to be costly for homeowners, as they may intentionally voluntarily avoid or put off certain maintenance tasks, assuming that their plan will cover any major damage that results.

"Mold remediation can cost tens of thousands of dollars," said Adams. "It's often not covered by homeowner's insurance, especially if it was caused by neglected maintenance such as a leaky pipe."

What to look for
While a house inspection company can help homeowners determine if they have a mold problem, they can perform their own inspection if they so choose.

For example, a strong musty smell is a strong indication that mold may be present. And even though it may not be apparent with the naked eye, that could be because it's growing inside the walls. If that's the case, it's best to get in touch with a mold removal specialist who can handle the situation.

As noted by the Environmental Protection Agency, mold thrives in locations of a home that are dark and where there's lots of moisture. Other factors that can have an influence on its presence is if there's water in the area, which may materialize from leaking pipes or cracks in the foundation. In either case, it's crucial to clean up portions of the home that have been affected by water within one to two days. Any more than that and it increases the risk of mold spores, which can be difficult to manage once they spread.

Mold is not only unsightly, but it can also create adverse health effects. Common symptoms of mold exposure include irritation of the eyes, nose, mouth and throat, sneezing and skin rashes, the EPA indicates.