Dangers of Hoarding for Homeowners
Insurance is all about managing risk. You purchase homeowners insurance to protect yourself from the risk of fire, theft, vandalism, and natural disasters. However, hoarding can introduce you to dangers that your homeowners insurance policy may not cover.
When you hoard, paper, plastic, and other flammable materials can pile up. Stockpiling flammable items near heating vents, stoves, power outlets, or extension cords could start a fire. In the kitchen, hoarding food items and trash and the buildup of grease can also increase the chance of a fire.
Piles of newspapers, magazines, clothing, and other items can obscure water damage from broken pipes, roof leaks, or other sources of moisture. The longer it takes to resolve an issue, the bigger the problem can grow.
A plumbing leak or food waste could lead to mold and fungus growth. Damp spots can harbor mildew and support the growth of mold spores, which can travel throughout the house by airflow. It can make the house stink and introduce serious health risks.
Rotting food, leaky plumbing, and other waste can lead to dust, odor, and ammonia in your home, creating a serious air quality issue. A home’s poor air quality can make breathing difficult and cause respiratory problems to develop.
Cluttered trash and rotting food can attract insects, rodents, and other vermin. Cockroaches, rats, ants, and flies can spread bacteria and pathogens to the people living in the home. Pests can damage the walls, wiring, and foundation, creating structural damage.
An excessive accumulation of contents can make navigating a home difficult. Family members or visitors are more likely to trip or have objects fall on them. If someone gets hurt, you could have a lawsuit on your hands.
A hoarder’s home is overpacked with belongings, making some areas inaccessible. You may put off maintenance or repairs because you can’t get to the source of a problem.
However, delaying repairs to flooring, roof, plumbing, electrical, and mechanical systems can lead to major issues that could have otherwise been prevented.
If you hoard items, you can block pathways and exits throughout your home. Blocked exits can make it difficult for you to get out of the house quickly. This puts you at an increased risk for injury and death if there’s a fire or another emergency in your home.
Excessive accumulation of items can also make it difficult for first responders to get into the house. According to the National Fire Protection Association, it’s a significant threat to firefighters as they fight fires and respond to other emergencies.