After a truly unfortunate turn of events, you find a situation where someone dies alone in an apartment and goes unnoticed for an extended period of time, may it be an unattended death from a nature cause or from a crime. Considering the nature of such a death, it is obvious that the body is already decomposing, and thereby the state of affairs in that building can be fairly catastrophic, and cleaning it can be the most challenging task. But the most critical question surrounding an unattended death cleanup is whether any insurance policy would cover it and how to claim for it. Let's find out.
Most likely, the homeowner's insurance may cover unattended death or crime scene cleanup costs. Depending on the insurance company – small or big – and the kind of policy the homeowner has, there is a good chance that biohazard remediation is covered. It is important to note that some smaller insurance companies don’t provide this coverage, which is why you need to do your research about the company before insuring with them.
Moreover, different policies include and exclude different aspects. You will have to go through your policy document to find out if death cleanup coverage is included, and if it is, you need to find out the details of that coverage. You can also give your insurance adjuster a call, as he or she is deeply ingrained in your cover, and therefore, understands what is covered and what’s not. The adjuster will help you to identify the grey areas (if any) and what you can do about them. That way, you will be ready if an incident of unattended death was to occur in your property.
If the insurance company does confirm the coverage of the cost then yes. Biohazard cleaning companies in the UK do accept insurance coverage to cover some if not all of the remediation costs. In fact, in most cases, the company will assist you or even submit the insurance claim on your behalf. So, after you confirm that your homeowner's insurance can cover the unattended death cleanup, all you need to do is to concentrate on finding the most reliable cleanup company, everything else will fall into place.
The short answer is no. The reason being, only a few people have the tools and skills needed to get rid of all the contaminants and bacteria in the affected area. Chances are that you are not one of these people, which also means that you won’t have a way of knowing if the scene is completely decontaminated or not. An unattended death scene involves blood or body fluid, not to mention a decomposing body, making it a dangerous area, health-wise, to clean by yourself, especially considering all the deadly diseases and blood-borne pathogens you will be exposed to. This is why biohazard remediation from a reputable company is always recommended.
But since the homeowner’s insurance won’t cover the cleanup, maybe it’s better if you start considering other payment options. For instance, you can apply with the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), a UK agency that administers a compensation scheme for crime victims or murders. You may get the financial assistance you need to cover the cleanup. It may not cover the cost entirely, but expect it to cover quite a significant amount.
The time it takes to restore the property depends on a number of factors. If the homeowner’s insurance covers the cleanup costs, it means that you will have to apply your claim, which may take several days to be processed. This may delay the remediation process a bit. Also, the nature of the unattended scene will also have an impact on the time it takes to remediate the area. The expertise and experience of the biohazard cleaning company can also influence how long they take to complete the task. So, when selecting your choice of company, you need to do your research well.
After hiring, the cleaning company will visit the scene for assessment, come up with a complete action plan on how they plan to remediate the situation, and will update you on the same, and will keep doing so throughout the entire process. The company will also help in filing the claim with your insurer. The better all these factors integrate, the shorter it will take to remediate the property.
It is not recommended to have your insurance choose a "preferred vendor" for you. The reason being, the insurance adjuster is likely to lead you into hiring a bioremediation company that may be cheap but not qualified, and therefore, ends up doing a shady job. When an unattended scene isn’t properly cleaned decontaminated and clean, it can still pose health risks to the ones who will move into that property. And if something like this happens, you will be held liable. So, it is imperative that you go for a licensed and professional biohazard cleanup company of your choice so as to ensure that your premises will be restored to their original state. Ensure that the area is completely decontaminated and free from all biohazards before you allow anyone in.
In the UK, homeowner’s insurance policies only cover the death cleanup if a reliable, licensed, and professional company completes the task. So, never allow your adjuster to mislead you.
This is a step-by-step process, which proceeds as follows:
Please note: every homeowner’s policy in the UK is subject to some terms and conditions that are only applicable to it, which means that they may slightly affect the claiming process. So, to have a better understanding of how your specific policy is, you can consult your adjuster beforehand.