Solved! Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold?
Does homeowners insurance cover mold problems? It all depends on the cause of the mold and your policy.
Q: I found mold in my home and I’m hiring a professional to remove it. Does my homeowners insurance cover mold problems?
A: The mention of mold can strike fear into the hearts of homeowners everywhere. Depending on the source of the fungus, homeowners insurance may cover the cost of mold remediation and removal. Depending on where a homeowner lives, their insurance policy may cover a maximum of between $1,000 and $10,000 for mold remediation.
What is mold? Mold is a type of fungus dependent on moisture for growth. Mold species can be classified into three groups: allergenic (molds that produce allergies or asthma attacks), pathogenic (molds that can cause health problems), and toxigenic (molds that produce toxic substances that can lead to dangerous or fatal health conditions).
Why is mold considered harmful? Apart from its appearance, indoor mold can cause irreversible damage to fabric, upholstery, wood, and other building materials. Mold can also release spores into the air, potentially sickening whoever lives in the mold-infested home or area. In addition, mold remediation can be very costly, which no homeowner wants to hear (or pay for).
If a flood causes mold, a separate flood insurance policy will cover it.
Homeowners living in high-risk flood zones or areas with a proclivity for natural disasters like storm surges or hurricanes should invest in flood insurance immediately, as homeowners insurance usually doesn’t cover mold caused by floods or storm surges.
Flood insurance can be adopted for a building policy, a contents policy, or both. With a building policy, the walls, HVAC, built-in appliances, roof, and floors (among other systems) are covered. A contents policy, often added onto a building policy, protects household valuables like furniture, small appliances, clothes, and more.
It’s important to talk to an insurance agent to understand the limitations of flood insurance policy coverage. Discuss direct versus indirect coverage in addition to where mold removal would be covered. Policies may limit mold coverage to certain areas of the home, like basements or crawl spaces.
Homeowners in a high-risk flood area should ensure they have proper homeowners insurance and flood insurance, as well as a basic knowledge of mold detection and prevention to protect their homes from damage.
If mold comes from a malfunctioning appliance, you are covered.
Mold remediation remains covered under homeowners insurance policies when caused by a malfunctioning appliance because that appliance is a covered peril, meaning the insurance company has agreed to pay for specific events or situations. While covered perils vary by insurance policy, common covered perils include sudden or accidental damage to a water heater or HVAC system, unexpected freezing of appliances due to weather, the weight of snow, ice or sleet, and explosions.
Mold resulting from a rainstorm is not covered by homeowners insurance.
Natural disasters that produce high winds and heavy precipitation, such as hurricanes, can cause mold to grow, and these are usually covered under homeowners insurance. However, if mold is the result of a simple rainstorm, it likely will not be covered.
Typically, when mold grows after rain, the homeowner failed to take the proper preventative measures. Mold can develop after a rainstorm for a variety of reasons:
- A leaky roof lets rainwater into an attic, crawlspace, or other small, poorly ventilated part of the home.
- Improperly sealed windows allow rain to leak in over some time.
- Poor irrigation or gutter maintenance causes water to settle in and around a home instead of flowing away from it.
Taking preventative measures, especially after heavy rainstorms, can stop mold growth and save homeowners hundreds or thousands of dollars in damage costs.
If mold is a result of putting out a fire, insurance will cover it.
While this issue tends to depend on the vendor, insurance policies will typically cover mold that results from extinguishing a house fire, as this situation isn’t the consequence of negligence.
If you live in a humid area and don’t have a dehumidifier, you are not covered.
Homeowner insurance policies cover mold remediation when the source of peril is already covered under the insurance policy, like water heaters or dishwashers malfunctioning. However, if mold growth results from not fixing a leaky bathtub or showerhead or failing to dehumidify a basement, the homeowners insurance will not cover this. Should a homeowner still submit a claim, it will likely be denied based on failing to immediately rectify the problem, as mold growth may take several days or weeks to notice.
Homeowners who live in humid areas can prevent mold growth in several ways:
- Use a dehumidifier.
- Utilize mold-resistant products.
- Inspect the property at regular intervals (especially after heavy storms).
- Allow fresh air to circulate through proper ventilation.
- Install appropriate insulation.
- Dry condensation as soon as it appears.
If you suspect there is widespread mold in your home, hire a professional to help remove and address it.
While there are several at-home remedies to remove mold — or at the very least, prevent it from growing and spreading — hiring a professional to address and remediate a widespread mold problem is the best and safest option.
Homeowners should be wary when dealing with mold, as the growth could pose health-related severe threats. Ignoring the issue and allowing the mold to thrive and spread throughout the home can be dangerous and harmful to those who live there. Professionals can identify the type of mold growing, know how to protect themselves and those living in the home, remove the mold, and advise how to prevent additional mold growth.
As a general rule, professionals should be entrusted with mold removal, no matter how minor or widespread the issue is. Homeowners shouldn’t blow on the mold, touch it, dry it or attempt to paint over it. Hiring a mold removal specialist to take care of the issue right away is your best bet at stopping it in its tracks before it’s too late.