Mold is also known as mildew. These are terms used to describe more than 100,000 species of fungi. These spores are absolutely everywhere across the world. They become active in damp and dark places and can cause serious problems.
Mold is a living organism. Once it becomes active, it will form a fine web and spread across the area that has been contaminated. Aside from the fact that mold can generate a foul smell, it can also be very dangerous for humans and animals.
Inhaled through the nose and mouth and absorbed through cracks in the skin, mold can cause serious respiratory problems as well as skin and eye irritation. While the degree of risk is determined by your overall health, mold can cause problems whether active or not.
But, how do health-related mold problems occur in the first place? Well, mold can literally enter through your doors and windows. It can also get in through your air vents, heating, and air conditioning.
Once it’s in your home, it attaches to your clothes, shoes, books, bags, and even your walls and floors. Once mold appears in your home, it will do it’s best to damage household materials and structures, thus leaving you with thousands of dollars worth of repairs.
With all the above in mind, it may be time for you to check whether or not mold damage is covered by your homeowners insurance. Here is some information:
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as mold insurance. That being said, there are circumstances where mold damage is covered by homeowners insurance, for example, if a covered peril caused the mold problem in the first place.
If a covered peril caused the mold problem, then your homeowners insurance will cover the repairs necessary to fix the damages.
Perils that are covered by insurance usual include lightning, fire, theft, vandalism, damage caused by ice, snow or sleet, and some types of water damage.
As mentioned above, homeowners insurance will cover mold remediation and removal if the company in question believes that the mold was caused by an event that is considered to be a covered peril.
Sudden and accidental incidents which result in sudden mold growth are usually covered and your insurance company will pay for the removal of the mold.
Mold damage is covered by homeowners insurance if it is the result of one of the aforementioned perils. For example, if your home catches fire and mold develops after firefighters use water to put out the fire.
Another example could be your water heater rupturing or a main pipe bursting in your home. You may also find that your water tank leaks in your attic and you only find out months later.
In all these circumstances, your insurance policy should pay for the removal of the mold in your home.
Water damage is one of the most common causes of mold growth in a home. That being said, not all water damage is covered by a homeowners insurance policy.
Sudden and accidental water-related issues such as burst pipes, malfunctioning appliances, as well as water heaters and water tanks cracking should be covered by your policy. Be sure to read all the fine print before signing though.
Standard policies do not normally cover mold caused by water damage if the problem is considered a maintenance problem. This means that if the problem has been ongoing or not dealt with in the right away, your policy will not cover the damage.You should also be able to add an optional rider to cover extra mold damage, although this can be very expensive depending on where you live.
With so many mold-related claims taking place today, insurance companies are doing whatever they can to avoid covering these types of issues. With this in mind, be sure that your policy covers at least a minimum amount of damage caused by mold.
Also, please be aware that many companies now exclude flood damage in their policies. This means that if a flood causes mold damage in your home, you will have to pay the price of the repairs.
Each policy varies and some come with flood insurance which will cover your back if anything were to happen. You may also find that your homeowners insurance offers an option to add mold damage coverage to your policy.
There is no simple answer to this question. The fact of the matter is, it completely depends on your individual circumstances. Your homeowners insurance will cover mold damage if the damage occurred from an accident that you reported right away.
Take water leaks for example. If a pipe cracks or bursts in your home while you are at work and mold starts to form on the drywall by the time you get back, you’ll likely be covered.
On the other hand, if you’ve had a leak in your kitchen for months and you now decide to fix it, you won’t be covered by your homeowners insurance if there is damage caused by mold growth.
More often than not, mold damage in the attic is covered as water damage in this area of a home is common and can go unnoticed for months.
For example, if you’re hit by a harsh winter with a lot of rain, snow, and ice, you may find that water leaks through your roof into your attic. In this case, your insurance will likely cover the damage.
When it comes to mold in the bathroom, it depends if it’s due to a leak or poor ventilation. If there is no leak, your insurance company will most likely blame the problem on a lack of ventilation, thus leaving you to pick up the cost of the damages.
Now that we’ve looked at different scenarios where homeowners insurance does cover mold damage, let’s check out some scenarios when it will not.
There are little to no insurance policies that will cover mold damage if it is not due to a sudden accident that was out of your control. Here are some popular examples of scenarios where homeowners insurance does not cover mold damage:
Imagine there are small specs of mold growing in your shower, bathtub or on the walls. If you have not put any thought into it for months and suddenly put through a claim, your insurance company will reject it.
Another example could be mold damage in your attic. Let’s say you have not been up to your attic for over a year and when you do, you suddenly realize mold has formed on the walls. There is no sign of any leaks or cracks.
If the reason the mold has formed is that you have not performed any maintenance on your roof for over 40 years, your policy will not cover the damages.
These scenarios mentioned above are caused by negligence rather than a freak accident. Your insurance company expects you to look after your home and perform regular maintenance to ensure that these do not happen.
To ensure that your insurance policy is valid, you must check your home regularly, ventilate all rooms and bathrooms on a daily basis, use heating and dehumidifiers when necessary, and even get your roof inspected every couple of years.
While mold and mildew are very much the same, they do have some significant differences. Mildew is normally grey or white and sits on the surface. It can be removed with regular detergent or cleaning chemicals and can be wiped with a cloth or light brush.
On the other hand, mold is normally green. But, when mold turns really nasty it turns black. This is often a sign of serious infestation. This is the most toxic and dangerous kind of mold and may require professional attention if left untreated.
But, the real question is, will your homeowner policy cover you if your mildew has turned into black mold? Once again, it completely depends on your individual circumstances.
If, as described above, a pipe burst or your water heater ruptures, leaving water damage that causes black mold, the likelihood is, your insurance policy will cover any repairs.
But, if you live in a humid part of the world and have failed to ventilate your home or use a dehumidifier and black mold has spread across your walls, the blame lies with you for not addressing the problem earlier.
Whether or not your homeowners insurance covers mold damage depends on your policy and the circumstances of the problem. There are situations where roof leaks that lead to mold damage are covered.
For example, if ice forms on your roof and leaves water in your shingles, thus leaking into your attic, and creates mold growth on your walls and floor then yes, you are most likely going to be covered.
Unfortunately, if mold grows because of a roof leak that could have been prevented, you will not be covered. With this in mind, it is essential that you undertake regular roof maintenance to prove to your insurance company that the situation was out of your control.
In addition to knowing whether or not you are covered by your insurance policy, you also need to learn how to file a mold damage claim. If the water is coming from your roof, the first step you should take is to try and patch the roof to avoid further damage.
You should also keep a log of all the work done on your roof and always promptly fix leaks or other roof related issues.
There are numerous ways you can easily prevent mold. Here are five of the easiest and most common ways to avoid having to make an insurance claim because of mold:
If you live in a humid part of the world, it is essential that you keep your home between 30% and 60% humidity at all times. To do so, you can use dehumidifiers or air conditioning.
While these appliances can be expensive to run, they are significantly cheaper than fixing the damage caused by mold.
Ventilation will keep a nice flow of air running through your home. This will be especially helpful in reducing the chances of mold growing in your bathroom. Make sure the fans and exhaust vents in your home are clean and fully functioning.
Increasing the airflow in your home will also reduce the chances of mildew and mold growing on your belongings, for example, your clothes, bags, and books.
Carpet is prone to attracting mold growth. While this material is absolutely fine for use in a living room or bedroom, it should be avoided in darker and damper areas of your home, for example, the attic, bathroom, or basement.
One of the most common reasons people suffer from leaks in their roofs is because their gutter and shingles get bunged up and retain water. This later seeps into the roof and leaks through into the attic. With this in mind, clean your gutters and roof regularly.
It is not uncommon for people to be suffering from mold damage and not even know about it. To avoid this, check all the darker spaces in your home that are prone to getting damp.
Aside from regularly checking your attic, basement and laundry room, you should also inspect your kitchen and bathroom cabinets as these normally have pipes which can slowly leak, thus increasing the chances of mold growth.
More often that not, insurance claims relating to mold coincide with other incidents such as burst pipes or cracked water tanks. This is the best way to avoid having to make two claims and will give you more chance of getting reimbursed by your insurance company.
In order to claim your insurance for water damage, you need to phone your insurance company as soon as the problem occurs. They will then send an adjuster to evaluate the situation.
If something happens such as a burst pipe, for example, open all the windows and doors or run a dehumidifier straight away. This will show that you are doing what you can to avoid further damage to your home. Do not, however, clean up or remove anything from the area.
You should take pictures of all the damage including parts of your home, your belongings, and everything else that has been affected by the water damage. This will help support your claim.
Once you have filed your claim and have all the evidence to support it, consult your insurance company to determine what your policy covers and find out about your mold coverage entitlement.
Your agent should give you a step by step as to how the process will take place and what is required by you to get all the repairs in your home paid for.
Your homeowners insurance does not normally cover mold damage. This is because the damages are most likely caused by the flood itself. You should take out a separate flood policy which will cover mold damage as well.
Generally speaking, when it comes to water heaters, your homeowners insurance covers mold damage. Water heaters cracking or rupturing are normally completely out of a person’s control.
That being said, make sure you service your water heater as per the manufacturer’s instructions.
If your bathtub overflows this is most likely your own fault meaning that your homeowners insurance will not cover you for mold damage resulting from this event. Additionally, if your bathtub has leaked for a long period of time, you will not be covered either.
If a pipe in your home bursts your homeowners insurance will cover you for mold damage. This will be considered an accidental incident and as long as all your papers are in order and you follow the steps outlined above, you should be able to make a claim without any problems.
Mold removal and mold remediation are two different things. In fact, if you come across a company that tells you they can remove the mold in your home once and for all, you should probably look elsewhere.
The fact of the matter is, mildew and mold are everywhere in microscopic form so removing it is impossible. Mold remediation gets the mold levels in your home back to normal.
Always check your mold remediation insurance as many companies have now put in place measures to reduce the amount they are legally forced to pay out for mold damage, even if it is caused by an accident that was out of your control.
Always check the maximum limit your insurance policy states for mold remediation as yours could range from anywhere between $1,000 and $10,000.