What will it cost? Top 6 Questions to ask before a home damage restoration

Moshe Amos

Accidents can and do happen. You’ve just purchased the apartment of your dreams in New York’s historic yet on-trend Carnegie Hill neighborhood. After five paychecks’ worth of savings, your furniture and fixtures are ready to be put on display. Let the dinner parties begin, right? Now, imagine that one of your apartment’s old pipes burst while you were visiting your best friend in Boston for the weekend. Rather than getting ready to host your first dinner party, you’re now absorbed with cleaning up water damage in your apartment. This tale of woe can have a happier ending with the right insurance. Let’s explore the insurance products that cover home damage from water, mold, smoke, and asbestos.

Water and Mold Damage Recovery Insurance

In the above scenario, the plumbing problem was caused by gradual damage to the pipes that was a result of long-term corrosion. Depending on your insurance company and the policy that you carry, your standard homeowner’s insurance policy may not cover this accident. Many insurance policies cover sudden damage to pipes but not gradual damage to them. Here are five key questions that you need to ask your insurance company about water damage.

  • What is gradual damage?
  • Is there an insurance addendum that I can get to cover gradual damage?
  • What is the procedure for filing a water damage claim?
  • Does my policy cover damage from mold?
  • Does my policy cover the entire bill for mold remediation?

Modern hipster apartment interior home insuranceGradual damage, which is usually not covered under most standard insurance policies, is harm that happens slowly over a long period. Old, rusted pipes that burst will likely get categorized as gradual damage because the corrosion happened over many years. The homeowner had time to get the plumbing inspected and fixed before a costly accident happened. Mold that develops and spreads through your home over a long period due to a hidden pipe leak usually isn’t covered by your standard insurance policy. Many policies will, however, cover mold damage and pay for professional mold remediation if the mold is a result of sudden water damage. Mold remediation is expensive, and it’s common for standard policies to only pay a portion of the cost.

Smoke Damage Insurance Policies

While not all home insurance products are the same, most of them cover repair or replacement costs for household items that are damaged by smoke, soot, or ash. The problem gets a little complex if you have smoke damage that is caused by a fire at your neighbor’s house. Here are some actions to take if you have smoke damage.

  • Review your insurance policy
  • Take pictures of damaged items
  • Hire a professional smoke damage restoration professional to clean

Some insurance policies don’t cover smoke damage, and a review of your policy will unveil this gap in coverage. If your policy covers smoke damage, you’ll need proof of the damage to make your claim. It’s best not to rely on evaluations from claims adjusters. You need to document every item that has been damaged and do an assessment of each piece’s value. Cleaning up smoke and soot can be hazardous to your health if you don’t have the proper equipment or training. It’s best to hire a professional to restore your home and furnishings.

Asbestos Insurance Coverage

Home insurance damageIf your home was built before 1980, there’s a chance that it contains asbestos in its insulation, siding, and other building materials. This substance is a known carcinogen, and its tiny, sharp fibers cause severe lung damage when inhaled. Undisturbed asbestos in your home doesn’t pose a significant health risk. If you’re doing a remodeling project that will disturb the old asbestos, it’s best to have the asbestos removed by a professional. Here are some questions that you should ask your insurance company about coverage for asbestos removal.

  • Does my standard policy cover asbestos removal?
  • Does my standard policy cover asbestos removal?
  • Is there extra insurance that I can get to cover asbestos liability?
  • What’s covered under asbestos liability coverage?

Most insurance companies will not cover asbestos removal from a home just because you want to do a safe home remodel. If your home is damaged by a covered item such as a storm and its asbestos is disturbed, then the insurance company would pay for asbestos removal services as part of the storm damage. While asbestos liability insurance is a popular solution in other countries, most U.S. insurance companies don’t offer this coverage. If a company writes an asbestos liability policy, it will likely cover asbestos-related medical expenses for these three groups:

  • Property owners who live in a home that has asbestos
  • Contractors who work on the home that has asbestos
  • Asbestos abatement professionals who are hired to remove asbestos from the home

Not sure whether and how much you will be covered? Call NYTDR today and let us help you navigate through your damage restoration.


Moshe Amos

Moshe has more over 15 years as a licensed contractor in the New York City area. 

As a New York State-licensed Mold Assessor, he is especially knowledgeable about mold assessment and remediation.


Fire & Water Damage ‧ Mold Remediation ‧ Asbestos & Lead ‧ All Abatement ‧ Total Renovation