Photo courtesy of Jenkins Restorations.
2. What are some of the dangers involved in a hoarding claim?
Hoarding creates a number of health and safety issues for the occupants and raises coverage issues for insurers. There are trip and fall hazards, fire hazards, the presence of rodents and reptiles, as well as an inability to identify any leaks or structural issues with a property since so much of the area is hidden and inaccessible.
Cory Chalmers, a featured expert on AE’s “Hoarders” television show and an expert in hoarding and biohazards says that homes of hoarders are more likely to “have losses created by fire, floods and mold. The lack of maintenance in hoarders’ homes is the main culprit, but is compounded by the use of space heaters, portable cooking devices and other temporary fixes to malfunctioning home appliances.” He says that the typical hoarder is frequently “too ashamed and afraid to call a repairman to fix broken items in the home, so they ultimately grow into major problems.”
For restoration contractors, hoarding claims can be very tricky. From an environmental standpoint, there can be a wide variety of biohazards such as animal waste, human waste, mold and trash. “It’s very hard to breathe in these types of homes,” says Michael Pelonero, director of Enservio’s service on-site team.
He described a situation where a technician found a nest of water moccasins in a home under tons of contents. “You find things you’re not expecting like dead animals, wild animals, birds, squirrels, raccoons. You may even find something alive.”