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The effects of wall dampness and how your insurance company can help

20 June 2022 · By Ana Navarrina

Damp is an incredibly frustrating problem for homeowners. It can devalue your property, put your health at risk, and be extremely expensive to fix. 

Damp is also a key concern for those looking to rent properties. A study by UK property care service Rentokil found that 5.8 million British renters have experienced issues relating to dampness. 

So, why is damp such a big issue, and how can your home insurer help ease the burden? 

How wall dampness affects homeowners

Damp is caused by excess moisture from various sources, including leaky pipes, rising dampness in basements, damage to the roof or window frames, condensation, etc. Even new build houses can suffer from dampness because the water used during construction is still drying out. 

We spend a large percentage of our time at home, and, during the pandemic, the time we spent at home increased substantially. Homes should be a respite from the rest of the world. But for homeowners dealing with damp issues, being at home can be stressful and can seriously impact each occupant’s physical and mental health. 

Physical health issues caused by damp

Damp inevitably leads to mold, which presents a greater risk to the occupant’s health. The molds caused by dampness produce allergens, irritants, and occasionally toxic substances (especially black mold). These allergens come from mold spores, which can have disastrous repercussions when inhaled. These spores are small enough to get into the respiratory system. And long-term exposure can cause respiratory problems like reduced long function or chronic diseases like asthma.

Damp is especially dangerous for those with pre-existing respiratory or other health issues. Those who may be more sensitive to the dangers of mold include: 

  • Babies and children

  • Elderly people

  • Those with existing skin problems, such as eczema

  • Those with respiratory problems, such as allergies and asthma

  • Those with a weakened immune system

Psychological issues associated with damp

Alongside degrading occupants' physical health, dampness can seriously affect a person's mental state. This is especially true in recent years as we’ve spent more time at home.

Research clearly shows the link between dampness and mold in the home and depression. Those living in a property with damp issues are more likely to show symptoms of depression than those living in a damp-free home. This is partly due to reduced physical health caused by dampness and mold but many homeowners dealing with damp issues feel like they’ve lost control. While they understand that dampness is a problem that needs to be fixed, many people struggle to find a solution. This could be for various reasons, such as the cost and effort involved with treating damp.

Another study by Brown University showed a much darker effect damp can have on homeowners. Their study shows that levels of depression rose, but it also found that those living with dampness can affect the nervous system, and the immune system, and can potentially impede the function of the frontal cortex. This can have an effect on an individual’s memory, problem-solving, and even social abilities. In the worst cases, living in a home with dampness and mold can lead to panic attacks, mood swings, and night terrors. 

How your insurer can help with wall dampness

It’s important to note that most insurance plans won’t cover you for damage caused by dampness if it’s deemed a pre-existing issue. However, not all cases of dampness are caused by pre-existing issues, and some insurers can offer plans that include cover for dampness. 

Those looking to their insurer for help with damp problems are likely incredibly stressed and facing a hefty repair bill. At the first point of contact, insurers need to emphasize and try to reassure homeowners. This can be difficult, as the point of contact for most insurers is now an automated service, like a chatbot. But with modern technology, chatbots can provide a friendly introduction to worried customers. 

AI-powered chatbots offer customers instant access to expert advice and assistance. No more waiting on hold for hours and no more waiting for responses to email queries. Customers can get help and information right when they need it. 

Chatbots also use machine learning to tailor their efforts, giving you a conversation that feels natural and empathetic. 

AI can speed up the claims process by automating many of the tedious tasks associated with home insurance. Those dealing with damp issues will be most interested in a short “time-to-settle” metric. They want a fast way to manage their claims to move on with their lives.

Utilizing AI in the claim process can do just that. Better still, Bdeo’s AI is constantly learning from previous claims and user data, evolving to become even more accurate at recognizing a legitimate claim or flagging the claim as fraud.

Incorporating AI throughout the customer support process can help those suffering from damp problems gain their confidence back and build a better, meaningful connection with their insurer. 

Finally, VI can speed up the claims process dramatically. Bdeo’s technology empowers policyholders to capture accurate and high-quality visual evidence via their smartphones or other devices to submit their claims in seconds. Then, AI analyzes and assesses the damage and automatically determines the next steps based on the information available. 

Bdeo can help you give policyholders some peace of mind

Policyholders want a fast, efficient, and modern solution to home insurance. With Bdeo, you can give them exactly what they need while everyone else continues to play catchup. Request a demo today to see how we can revolutionize your insurance company.

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