If you struggle with hoarding, you could put your health at risk due to the dangerous and unsanitary conditions created by clutter. What’s worse, hoarding can also make your homeowners insurance claims denied. That’s because most hazards that arise due to hoarding occur because of negligence and poor home maintenance.
Yet, you can probably obtain homeowner’s insurance without difficulty. To approve or deny your request, the insurance representative conducts a “drive-by” inspection of your home. And, unless you have piles of belongings in the yard, you will be granted the policy.
However, you may be left without coverage when you want to renew your policy or if an insurance agent performs a home inspection for any reason.
How Hoarding Affects Your Insurance Claim
If your home is in poor condition, the adjuster may recommend not renewing your policy. But you may receive a warning from your insurance company – to fix the safety hazards and maintenance concerns in a limited time frame – or risk losing coverage.
The common hazards associated with hoarding include:
- Fire – Too much clutter (i.e, paper, plastic, and flammable materials) could start a fire, especially when it accumulates around heating vents, stoves or power outlets. In the kitchen, the buildup of grease, food items, and trash increases fire risk.
- Water Damage – Because of the clutter, hoarders conduct limited roof and plumbing maintenance, which can lead to severe water damage. Also, if water damage occurs, the excessive contents around leaks can worsen the damage. And, even if a water loss is found, it’s difficult to distinguish between pre-existing and new damage.
- Mold – Water leaks and excessive trash can cause mold and other bacteria to flourish in the home. Most insurance companies don’t cover mold damage as it’s considered a home maintenance problem. Stop water leaks and declutter your home to prevent mold.
- Pests – As insects and rodents are attracted to unchecked, cluttered trash, they can damage the walls, wiring, and even foundation, leading to dangerous living conditions.
- Trip Hazards – Excessive amounts of contents in the home creates a trip hazard for the insured and their guests.
- Blocked Exits – Belongings that obstruct or block exits make it more difficult to escape during an emergency. It can also prevent firefighters from getting into the home if a fire starts.
Also, if the time comes to file an insurance claim but your loss was caused by one of the above issues, your claim might be denied. The insurance adjuster may state that the damage wasn’t accidental. The loss could have been prevented ahead of time, but became inevitable due to massive clutter accumulation. Another reason your claim might be denied is that walking between rooms is a challenge, making finding the damaged area difficult.
Get Professional Hoarding Cleanup Services
Instead of waiting for your insurance company to assess your home or for a loss to occur, start dealing with the problem immediately. With professional hoarding cleanup services, you can declutter your home and eliminate dangerous living conditions. This is where PuroClean comes in. Our certified technicians can sanitize and deodorize your home to bring it to a safe and insurable condition. Contact your local PuroClean office for more information.