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Mould and what to do about it
The recent devastating floods and generally damp weather have led to a spate of mould outbreaks along the east coast of Australia, and it’s worth knowing what you can do about it.
Australian Apartment Advocacy (AAA) says it is receiving hundreds of calls related to mould, and the level of the problem in southeast Queensland is “almost unheard of”.
But the truth is mould can strike anywhere – your home or your business – when conditions are conducive. If ignored, mould can cause serious damage to property, as well as health concerns for employees or customers.
And unfortunately, insurers usually aren’t going to pay to remediate your property. It’s one of those issues where the industry sees damage as preventable, so it’s excluded from the bulk of policies.
The exception, of course, is when mould follows an insurable event such as flood, cyclone or storm. In those circumstances your insurer may well be able to help, but as always it will depend on your level of cover and policy wording.
Otherwise, it’s on you to prevent mould developing and to tackle it swiftly when you spot it. Prevention is always better, and cheaper, than the cure.
Good practice includes airing-out affected rooms by opening windows, using mould removal products to wipe surfaces, and making sure there are no water leaks caused by damaged pipes, inadequate gutters or poor drainage.
Property owners should also be on the lookout for structural issues such as rising damp, and dehumidifiers are sometimes a good option.
AAA says that mould doesn’t go away on its own, and if left to spread it can cause serious complications. “Mould if untreated can cause health problems such as allergic reactions and asthma difficulties.”
Where mould is covered by your policy, insurers say an outbreak can significantly add to the complexity of a claim and stretched claims timelines.
As ever, it’s best to know what you’re covered for, and what you’re not, in advance of a problem occurring.
That way you can be prepared for what’s coming, and take steps to prevent problems developing in the first place.
And that’s where we come in. Talk to us about how your insurance policies respond to mould, and how to stop it becoming a serious headache for you and your business.