Does Your Insurer Impact The Coverage You Need

Does Your Insurer Impact The Coverage You Need?

Imagine you come home one day to see a raccoon climb out of your attic vent and scurry down a tree. You hurry inside to investigate and find that the raccoon has done considerable damage to your attic. Will your homeowner’s insurance pay to fix it? Coverage varies.

What’s Covered?

Homeowner’s insurance generally covers damage to the structure of your home from things like fires and storms. If lightning strikes your home, the damage will be covered. Similarly, if a tree falls on your roof, your insurance will pay to fix it.

When you get beyond the basics, though, coverage varies. Insurers may cover different amounts of damage. They may also offer additional coverage that can be added to your policy. Often, homeowners don’t realize some damage isn’t covered until after it has already occurred.

Floods and Sewage

Most areas of the country are prone to storms. Although lightning damage is covered by standard policies, if the same storm causes your basement to flood, the damage to your basement will not be covered.

Along the same lines, if flooding causes your sump pump to fail or sewage to back up into your house, that’s usually not covered by standard policies either.

If you live in an area where flooding occurs, even infrequently, it’s a good idea to purchase flood insurance. Many insurers also offer coverage for sewer backup. Paying a small fee now helps you avoid footing the entire bill for cleanup later.


Like floods, earthquakes are often left out of standard homeowner’s policies. If earthquakes are a concern where you live, it’s smart to purchase coverage that will allow you to repair damage or rebuild your home if necessary.


Mold is a serious problem that can damage the structural integrity of your home. It also poses a health hazard to you and your family. Unfortunately, the coverage provided by insurers varies widely.

Some insurers only cover mold if it is caused by specific perils listed in your policy. Others offer more broad coverage that pays for mold damage unless the cause is explicitly excluded.

Coverage for mold is often confusing, and many insurers attempt to exclude it altogether. It’s wise to ask your agent about specific scenarios to get an idea of what is covered under the policy you’re considering.


If we return to the scenario this post opened with, the good news is because it was a raccoon, there’s a good chance the damage is covered. However, there are exceptions. If your insurer finds that the raccoon was nesting in your attic for a prolonged period of time and you made no attempts to block its access, you may not be covered.

Unlike damage from raccoons, rodent damage is virtually never covered. If you have a rat, mouse, or squirrel problem, odds are you’re on your own. In contrast, if a deer crashes into your bay window or a bear pulls your door open and raids your cabinets, you’re probably covered.

When it comes to damage from animals, the damage usually needs to have happened in a single event. If it happened over time, your insurer may say you could have taken steps to prevent the damage.

If you live in a wooded area, where wildlife is plentiful, we recommend talking to your insurance agent to see what types of animal damage are covered by your policy.

ECOS has over a decade of experience working with insurance companies to get our clients covered. Whether you’re experiencing damage from water, animals, mold, or fire, we are happy to help you navigate the often-confusing process of getting insurance claims approved.

In the event that damage is not covered by your insurer, ECOS will work with you on the most cost-effective method of cleaning and restoring your home to a healthy environment. If your home has been damaged, don’t wait for problems to get worse. Call ECOS today.

Bad Air Quality Health Risks

Bad Air Quality – How To Evaluate The Health Risks

If you’ve had headaches, itchy eyes, or sinus congestion, you probably just chalked it up to a cold or allergies. That could be the case. However, people often fail to consider air quality as a possible cause. Read on to see how the air in your home could be making you sick.

What Causes Bad Air Quality?

According to one article, people spend an estimated 90% of their time indoors. That means it’s crucial that the air we breathe when we’re indoors is clean.

There are many factors that change the air quality in our homes and other buildings. Pet dander, mold spores, and dust mites can build up, especially in the winter. Outdoor pollution can enter through ventilation systems, and moisture can find its way inside.

The things we use to clean and heat our homes can harm indoor air quality, too. The habits and behaviors of occupants also matter. For example, it’s well known that smoking creates a health hazard inside.

How Do I Know If Bad Air Quality Is Making Me Sick?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, you may experience symptoms after just one exposure to bad indoor air. Your eyes, nose, and throat may feel irritated. You might feel dizzy or fatigued, and you may have a headache.

Clearly, the symptoms listed above are vague and can be caused by a variety of illnesses. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to when they happen. If you feel better after leaving the building, there’s a good chance your symptoms are caused by bad indoor air quality.

Long-Term Problems

Sometimes, bad indoor air quality causes health problems years after the fact. Repeated exposure to bad air quality over a long period of time also leads to serious health problems for some.

Respiratory diseases, cancer, and heart disease can all be caused by bad indoor air. Since these diseases are often fatal, it’s important to address indoor air quality issues as soon as possible.

What Can You Do About Bad Indoor Air Quality?

There are some easy steps you can take to improve indoor air quality. First, keep your home clean. Vacuuming, clearing clutter, and washing bedding and drapery all cut down on allergens.

Choosing to install hard flooring rather than carpeting can also be helpful. If you do have a carpet, make sure your vacuum has a HEPA filter, and use it several times a week.

Change filters in heating and cooling systems regularly and let fresh air in whenever possible. Consider purchasing an air purifier to help clean the air and a dehumidifier if damp areas are a problem.

Other Considerations

Bad indoor air quality impacts some people more severely than others. Vulnerable people like children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems are particularly susceptible.

Many times, the source of bad indoor air quality is invisible. Radon is a gas that can be a problem in some areas. Carbon monoxide is emitted by gas heaters and stoves, leaking chimneys, furnaces, and tobacco products.

Construction materials and furnishings can also pose a danger. If your home was built before the 1980s, it may contain asbestos. Formaldehyde is used in furnishings, building materials, and household products. There are often higher concentrations of formaldehyde indoors. Both formaldehyde and asbestos can cause serious health problems, including cancer.

Seeking Help From A Professional

It’s a good idea to have your home checked by a professional, particularly if you are experiencing symptoms consistent with bad indoor air quality. Professionals have the knowledge and equipment to deal with dangerous contaminants like asbestos and radon.

If you need help identifying the source of your bad indoor air quality or in remedying the problem, give ECOS a call. We have a live operator available 24/7, and our equipment is safe for the people and pets in your home.

Mold Remediation

Renovating: Dealing With Hidden Mold

Most folks know that mold needs moisture to grow indoors. You commonly find mold growth occurring after a flood, in a damp basement or as a result of your roof leaking. However, mold is sneaky, and many people end up dealing with hidden mold while renovating.

Experts suggest that hidden mold can be present in up to 60% of homes. When you see a bit of mold, you spritz, wipe and move on. However, the problem can be deeper than you assume. That cracked and leaking ceiling or broken pipe often leads to mold spreading. Out of sight, out of mind.

You Must Take Mold Seriously

Mold is different than concerns you may have with a house with old lead-based paint or asbestos. These are single contaminants that have definable and determinable health risks, such as asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer. Researchers are still getting to know mold, but current findings reveal serious, long-term concerns for those with hidden mold.

Toxic mold exposure may pose issues with memory loss, trouble concentrating, insomnia and confusion. Mold exposure can contribute to symptoms of anxiety and depression. It can also cause upper respiratory tract symptoms in adults and children. Black mold is toxigenic, and symptoms of mold poisoning often occur as flu-like symptoms.

It is important to test for hidden mold through a certified inspector before you begin the renovation process. You should hire an expert renovator who is experienced in dealing with mold.

Dealing With Hidden Mold

Uneducated renovators and home and business owners who remain unaware of the mold effects and continue with renovation risk the health of others. You must understand what mold removal entails so that you don’t further contaminate or damage the structure and cause harm to those you care about.

Microbial air sampling is conducted if experts suspect mold. It’s not visible after the initial inspection. This type of sampling helps to locate hidden mold behind walls and other structures. A combination of moisture readings and surface or bulk sampling can help determine how far colonization may spread.

Mold remediation costs soar when you attempt to remove the visible areas of mold only to find more hidden. Some insurance companies now cap off what they will and won’t cover when it comes to mold. However, a certified expert gets the job done the first time and can afford more flexible payment terms. They also offer documentation assistance for insurance purposes.
cross contamination. Containing the area experiencing mold growth is important. Always practice safety measures, such as wearing goggles, a dust mask and rubber gloves.

Porous and Non-Porous Materials

Don’t treat contaminated porous materials with bleach. Bleach kills a large degree of germs,  but it doesn’t have the same effect on mold. Adding bleach adds moisture which encourages mold growth. The toxic nature of bleach may prove dangerous when not used with care.

Has mold infected porous materials, such as drywall, carpet and ceiling tiles? The best practice is to double bag and dispose of it. Containment helps prevent cross-contamination.

It’s safer to brush or scrub mold contamination off non-porous materials. Then, you will need to utilize a HEPA vacuum to stop mold particulates from taking to the air. Airborne particulates are a common way that mold spreads. You can spray anti-microbial solutions on non-porous surfaces to prevent mold growth.

Mold may be present in up to 60% of homes, and it’s difficult to determine how deeply mold may penetrate a structure. Hidden mold is more frequent in homes and businesses than you may suspect.

Avoid cross-contamination by focusing on mold containment. Contact ECOS Environmental today for thorough mold testing and removal assistance.