Posted on October 16, 2017
Marijuana Grow-Ops and Home Insurance Coverage

A marijuana home grow operation is a house that has gone through modifications to grow marijuana. Marijuana grow-ops have no specific size or location and can be set up virtually anywhere but residential and rental properties are most common.

To make a house suitable for growing marijuana, changes are made to the home's structure, sophisticated and significant structural changes are made to supply water, light and ventilation to the plants. The modifications to a grow-op home along with the post-production affects of growing marijuana can cause considerable damage to a home, costing thousands of dollars in repairs.

High levels of moisture can cause mould to grow in the walls. Pesticides and other chemicals can seep into carpets and walls and contaminate the air. Even the home’s structural integrity and electrical wiring may be compromised.

Black mould and damage inside a grow op house. (Western Site Technologies Inc.)

Finding insurance coverage for a former grow-op home can also be a big headache. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, after only one successful grow operation the average claim to repair the damage caused to a home is over $40,000 but can be significantly higher, depending on the amount of damage. A lot of people don't know that they're buying a grow-op and it's not until after a home owner has an insurance claim (maybe unrelated to the grow-op) that they learn that a former marijuana grow operation voided their policy.

Many home insurance policies contain stipulation refusing to insure properties that were “used in whole or in part for the cultivation, harvesting, processing, manufacture, distribution or sale of marijuana or any product derived from or containing marijuana … regardless if any other cause or event that contributes concurrently or in any sequence to the loss or damage.”

Marijuana grow operations include a greater likelihood of water damage, mold, fire, vandalism and burglary. In the event that a marijuana grow operation is removed from a property, coverage may subsequently be offered providing that proper remediation of the property is completed.

It is important to confirm with your insurance provider what damages may be excluded from damage claims. Losses due to drug operations are an insurance concern.

It is also important to check your insurance coverage if you are not occupying the property. If someone else is living in the property and is engaged in a criminal activity that results in damages to the property – your claim may be denied even if you are innocent of participating in the production of drugs.

When buying a new home, here are 12 signs to detect if it may have been a marijuana grow operation:

  • Chunks of brickwork on the exterior that have been replaced.
  • Modified ductwork that isn out of place or doesn’t seem to make sense.
  • Brown stains on the exposed undersurface of a roof eave from the grow-op venting to the outside.
  • In the winter there are spots without snow on the roof from heat loss.
  • Circular holes in floor joists or roof trusses from venting, also look for holes that have been recently patched up.
  • Stains on basement floors from pots that sat there for long periods of time and/or stains in laundry tubs.
  • Modified wiring and electrical panel.
  • Warped and/or rotted wood on staircases, floors and window cases due to excessive moisture.
  • New/modified plumbing for water supply and drains.
  • Foundation and concrete walls have been breached to get wiring around the hydro meter.
  • Toxic moulds form, within wall cavities, inside window frames, ventilation systems and attic spaces.
  • A musty smell.

Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases in your life, always make sure you do your homework and find out as much information as you can with regards to the property.

This blog is intended for informational and entertainment purposes only. Contact your insurance agent for expert advice. Contact Insurance Jack at 1-888-268-2408 or help@insurancejack.com 

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