Mold Caused By Sewer Backup
Water damage caused by a sewer backup is not a covered peril on a standard homeowners policy. However, most property insurers will offer an optional sewer backup as an endorsement. If you have purchased the sewer backup add-on, your policy may extend coverage to mold resulting from the sewer backup through the mitigation process, but generally, mold caused by a sewer backup is not covered. In this case, you may want to inquire about a separate mold rider or mold policy.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold Damage
Dealing with mold can be quite a headache for any homeowner. The damage it can cause can be quite extensive and can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs. Not to mention, it can be extremely detrimental to you or your familys health.
In fact, theres several types of mold and some are more dangerous than others. Mold can grow more rapidly in your home due to warmer climates or water damage. Ultimately, the best way to avoid this stressful situation is to regularly clean your home and monitor it for any water damage. However, we cant always prevent disasters from striking.
In this article we will discuss whether or not mold is covered under your homeowners insurance policy.
How To Prevent Mold
With moisture comes the possibility of mold. Mold can grow anywhere in your home, even above ceiling tiles and inside your walls, so it’s important to practice moisture control:
- Check for water leaks/spills and fix them right away
- Make sure rainwater flows away from your home
- Watch for condensation on your walls and windowsyou may need to turn down or shut off your humidifier if you notice increased moisture
- Consider running a dehumidifier in your basement or other damp areas of your home
- Keep your gutters clean and functional
- Make sure fresh air circulates throughout your home to decrease moisture
- Perform routine maintenance on all appliances that use water
- Avoid carpet in wet areas like basements and bathrooms
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Costs Of Mold Damage Repair
If your homeowners insurance doesnt cover your homes mold damage, you likely pay out of pocket for repairs. A mold inspection is the first step because it identifies the source and extent of the damage and provides a repair estimate. An inspection costs about $200 to $600, though some companies offer a free initial inspection. Once you know the extent of the damage, you can decide if you want to tackle the cleanup on your own, or if you want to hire a professional.
If you pay for mold remediation, the cost depends on several factors, including the size of the impacted area and the amount of damage. Homeowners spend on average between $1,100 and $3,325 for mold remediation. Larger areas can cost as much as $6,000. If your whole house has mold damage, expect to spend between $10,000 and $25,000 per 1,000 square feet to remove it.
Failure To Maintain Or Repair Small Damage
Insurance companies wont usually cover damage that could have been prevented. If there is a small slow leak that results in water damage, typically the claim would be denied as the damage could have been prevented with regular home maintenance. You should have regular home checks for damage and leaks, if you are inexperienced then a professional such as a home inspector should be hired to find any damage or issues that need to be fixed in order to stop further damage.
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How To File Mold Insurance Claims
You can file a mold claim the same way you file a regular homeowners insurance claim, with a few slight adjustments. To improve your chances of a successful claim, you need to take every step possible to prevent mold from forming. That way, the claims adjuster can see that youve acted responsibly to mitigate the damage, even if unavoidable mold begins to form. Before filing a claim:
- Dry all affected areas as quickly and thoroughly as possible
- Stop leaking pipes by shutting off the water to your house
- Remove soaked items such as carpeting, furniture, insulation and mattresses
- Open doors and windows and use fans to promote faster drying
- Clean all affected areas with detergent to prevent bacteria spread
- Cover damaged areas such as a hole in the roof or a broken window
- Take photos of all damage, including closeups and wide shots
- Contact your insurance agent to file a claim
If your policy doesnt exclude mold damage for covered losses, its best to separate the mold repair expenses from other repair costs. For example, if storm damage soaks the drywall in your bedroom and mold forms, the contractor likely will charge you a mold remediation fee. List the mold remediation fee separately from the drywall removal costs. By separating the expenses, you can minimize the risk of a claim denial if the insurer doesnt want to pay for mold remediation.
Why Wont My Home Insurance Policy Cover My Mold Problem
If youve had a water leak for years and failed to sort the problem out and now that area has developed a mold infestation, then you will not be entitled to coverage as that is neglect on your behalf and it does not count as an accident or emergency.
If you live in a humid area and you have failed to take the right precautions e.g using a dehumidifier in areas of your home where moisture levels are high, then you will not be entitled to coverage as that is your responsibility to take action against mold growth.
Unfortunately, due to the high number of storms and flooding that happens, home insurance companies are unable to offer policies that cover mold growth due to water damage from these natural events.
However, things that are out of your control like your water heater bursting or your dishwasher or washer malfunctioning and leaking water everywhere will entitle you to coverage if mold has started to grow due to this malfunction.
If you were unfortunate to have a house fire in your home and mold has appeared from where the firefighters have used water to extinguish the flames, then your homeowners insurance should cover you.
The best way to find out is by thoroughly talking through what is and what isnt covered by your insurance policy with your provider, then you will not be left in the dark if something did happen.
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The Cause Of The Mold Problem
In many cases, homeowners insurance mold coverage depends on the cause of the mold problem. Many different things can lead to the growth of mold in the home. If mold results due to a sudden and accidental issue, like a burst pipe, which is covered, insurance is more likely to cover mold removal than if the mold is a result of neglected home maintenance.
Here are some examples:
How To Prevent Mold Growth
The best way to take care of mold in your home is to prevent it from growing in the first place. The following tips may help you keep your home mold-free.
- Lower the humidity levels in your home to below 50% at all times with dehumidifiers.
- Add ventilation with exhaust fans to increase circulation and encourage airflow.
- Vent your clothes dryer outside.
- Fix leaks promptly to eliminate damp surfaces.
- Dry your home quickly and completely if water damage occurs.
- Mix mold inhibitors into the paint before painting your walls.
- Use mold-killing cleaners regularly in your bathroom.
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Get Quotes On Mold Endorsements From A Trusted Agent
To find out exactly how much adding a mold endorsement to your homeowners insurance policy will cost, call an agent at World Insurance Associates. An independent agent will be able to check how much your current insurer will charge for a mold endorsement, and they can compare that price to what other insurers are charging for mold endorsements.
Buying Additional Mold Insurance
If mold coverage is important to you, the first thing you should do is read through your current home insurance policy to learn if you already have it. If not, find out if your company offers a mold rider, an endorsement you can buy that adds mold coverage to your standard homeowners insurance policy. Just as you can purchase a home insurance rider for water damage, some companies allow you to purchase a mold rider.
If not, it’s time to shop around for an insurance company that does offer the coverage you seek, even if it means adding a rider to your policy. Keep in mind, mold damage riders are not available in every state.
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Example Scenarios When Mold Damage May Not Be Covered
You probably wont be covered if mold forms in your home due to1, 2:
- A poorly ventilated bathroom or kitchen causing an increase in humidity
- Improper sealing around the base of a toilet or shower, allowing water to seep through the floor
- Dirty or broken roof gutters forcing water to flow over other parts of the house
If your insurance deems that your mold damage was preventable, then you may end up paying entirely out of pocket to make your repairs.
Even when mold damage is beyond your control, your insurance may still not provide support. Flooding, for instance, isnt usually covered in a standard homeowners insurance policy and often requires having flood insurance.2 If youre in a high-risk area, this could be a worthwhile purchase or it may even be required by law.4
Is Mold Removal Expensive
Yes, mold removal can work out to be very expensive especially when structural damage is involved. The price of mold removal will depend on the extent of the damage and the size of the area that is affected.
Smaller areas of your home like crawl spaces, attics, walls, and ducts may only cost between $500 to $6000 to do mold remediation, however, if walls or ceilings need to be taken down due to excessive mold growth then you could be looking at paying at around $30,000 altogether to get the mold removed and to get your home back to normal.
These costs are so high because theyre performed by licensed professionals who put their health at risk by working in contact with toxic mold every day. These costs are so high because theyre performed by licensed professionals who put their health at risk by working in contact with toxic mold every day.
These jobs can take weeks to execute and there are a lot of steps taken to ensure that the mold is removed safely and preventive measures are put in place.
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When Mold Is Not Covered
Your insurer wont cover a claim resulting from neglect. For example, if your showerhead has continuously leaked for months resulting in water damage and, consequently, mold. Or if your window is not properly sealed and rain leaks through continuously over time leading to mold growth. Claims are more likely to be rejected if mold is caused by neglected home maintenance: long-term exposure to humidity, or repeated water leaks and seepage.
Also, no mold damage resulting from a flood would be covered since flooding is a peril excluded from your homeowners insurance policy. However, if you purchased a separate flood insurance policy, that coverage would typically extend to any mold damage caused by a flood.
When Is Mold Not Covered By Homeowners Insurance
Mold caused by neglect or a lack of regular upkeep isn’t typically covered by home insurance policies. This includes mold damage from:
Improperly sealed doors or windows.
An unaddressed leaky faucet.
Poor ventilation in a moist room, like a bathroom.
Below are a few other common causes of mold damage that typically aren’t covered by a standard home insurance policy.
Sump pump failure and water backup damage. Damage caused by water backup and a sump pump failure can be costly and usually isn’t covered by standard home insurance policies.
Many insurers will allow you to add sump pump failure and water backup coverage to your policy. Without this type of coverage, mold damage in those situations is unlikely to be covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy.
Flood damage. Flooding generally isn’t a named peril under standard homeowners insurance policies. Therefore, you must purchase additional flood insurance to be covered for flood damage.
However, even if you have flood insurance, it’s possible your policy may not cover mold damage. For instance, if you purchase your insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program, or NFIP, mold damage may only be covered if you cannot access your home after flooding for specific reasons.
It’s important to note that mold damage coverage varies by the flood insurance policy. If you are unsure about what your policy covers, be sure to talk to your insurer.
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Mold Damage And Insurance Claims What To Do
A larger percentage of home or property owners do not plan for mold remediation, which can be an obstacle to getting the help needed in a mold problem.
If you have discovered mild damage in your home due to a covered peril, the next question on your mind may be how to file a mold damage insurance claim. Follow these steps to make a successful mold insurance claim.
Insurance Coverage On Mold From Water Damage Gets Complicated
As you can see, things can get quite complicated. Thats why some homeowners choose to hire a public adjuster to deal with a mold problem especially if the mold problem is particularly large, costly, or complicated.
Below, are some of the common scenarios where homeowners encountered mold, including scenarios where you can expect your home insurance to cover the cost of mold remediation and scenarios where they will likely deny coverage.
Situations Where Insurance Will Likely Cover Mold Damage:
Here are situations where you can expect a standard home insurance policy to cover mold damage repairs and remediation:
In all of these situations, you can expect a homeowners insurance policy to cover your mold damage problem.
Situations Where Insurance is Unlikely to Cover Mold Damage:
In certain situations, homeowners insurance will not cover your mold problem regardless of its severity. Some of the situations where a home insurance policy will not cover a mold problem include:
In all of these situations, your insurance company might refuse to cover the cost of repairing your mold problem.
Why? Well, a home insurance policy goes two ways. Your insurance company agrees to cover certain damages to your home, and their obligation to cover those damages is also contingent upon certain duties to properly maintain your property, prevent further damage, and keep your house in good repair.
Check Your Insurance Policy Coverage In Detail
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Will Rates Increase After A Mold Damage Claim
Its likely premiums will increase after filing a claim. Having a claim on record means youre likely to file another one, making you riskier in the eyes of the insurance provider.
If you have a loss-free credit on your homeowner policy, you would see your rates increase after a mold claim since you would now lose this discount, Hickey noted. Premium increases could also result from the total number of claims filed in the past. For example, multiple homeowner claims within a short period may result in a greater increase.
If your mold problem costs less to fix than your deductible is high, you may want to consider paying for the cost to fix it yourself rather than filing a claim with your insurance company to avoid a premium increase.
To lower your premiums you can look into every possible discount available, increase the deductible, or switch providers.
Mold Resulting From Negligence
The third category of mold-related damage is associated with negligence on the part of the homeowner. What this means in simple terms is ignoring home maintenance or repairs to the extent that they allow mold to develop. Mold typically isnt covered by your homeowners insurance policy if it forms because of neglect or lack of upkeep, Howard says. If you knowingly could have prevented the mold by fixing leaky pipes or using a dehumidifier, your insurer wont reimburse you for mold removal and remediation.
Say that you notice the seal around the base of your toilet is leaking water. Instead of replacing the seal or the toilet, you let the leak continue, which causes damage to the subflooring. From there, mold sets in and spreads to the baseboards and walls. In that instance your homeowners insurance policy claim may be denied because you were in a position to prevent the mold from happening.
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When Does Insurance Not Apply To Mold Damage
There will be scenarios when your home insurance will not cover mold damages. For instance, as stated before, your insurance provider will not approve your claim when mold damage has been caused because of your lack of attention. If the mold could have been controlled by the homeowner, the insurance policy doesnt apply.
When Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold Damage And Removal
Mold the four-letter word a homeowner never wants to hear. It can conjure up images of health problems and expensive removal solutions.
Whether youre covered for mold damage and removal often comes down to the source of moisture and the wording of a policy. For most standard homeowners policies mold removal is only covered when the source of the mold is an already covered peril in your policy, such as water damage.
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