Avoid Any Further Damage
While you may be eager to start cleaning or getting rid of the mold, it is very important to it begin any reloads before the insurance adjuster has arrived to evaluate the extent of the damage. However, it is vital that you gale measured to prevent further damage. You may turn off the leak to a pipe or place a bucket where a roof is leaking or block the hole etc.
When Does Homeowners Insurance Not Cover Mold
Some homeowners insurance policies do cover mold, but limit the amount they will pay for mold damagetypically to $5,000. Insurers may sell additional mold coverage as an endorsement to a standard policy.
Generally, whether mold damage is covered depends on whether what caused it is covered by insurance. Although coverage varies based on the specifics of your policy, here are some common scenarios where homeowners insurance likely wouldn’t cover mold damage:
What Should You Do If You Find Mold In Your Home
Because there are so many species of mold, it’s important that you determine the type of mold you have growing in your home to figure out if it’s harmful and to what degree. You’ll want to have it removed from your home as soon as you can.
The following steps can be a helpful guide if you find a mold problem in your home:
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How To Prevent Mold
One of the major issues with mold is that it can take awhile for you to detect its presence. It tends to grow and spread unnoticed. Want to prevent mold from growing in the first place? Here are a few steps to take:
Use air conditioners and dehumidifiers to keep the humidity in your home low. Its also good measure to install exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens. A low-moisture, well-ventilated home will reduce the odds of mold accumulating in a stealth manner and at a rapid pace.
Clean your bathrooms with bleach. And before painting your walls, consider adding mold inhibitors before application.
Stay on top of maintaining your roof so its in tip-top shape. A saggy, leaky roof can cause mold issues in due time.
Why Is Mold In Your House A Problem
Mold is a fungus that plays an essential role in the decaying process because it breaks down dead matter. Its a necessary part of the world outside your home, but inside your home, mold can cause health problems, especially if left untreated.
Nasal congestion, wheezing, itchy eyes, and a cough, are common reactions to mold. Other symptoms such as fever, memory loss, and fatigue may also occur but have not been definitively linked to mold. People who have a suppressed immune system are at a higher risk for suffering serious side effects from exposure to mold.
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How Can You Prevent Mold Growth
The cheapest way to deal with mold is by preventing it from growing in the first place. This is especially important for homeowners in mold-prone states such as Florida or Louisiana. You can achieve this by regularly cleaning, ventilating and dehumidifying areas prime for mold growth, or by doing the following:
- Keep the humidity in your home between 30% and 60% with air conditioners and/or dehumidifiers.
- Install exhaust fans in kitchens and bathrooms.
- Don’t install carpets in damp areas, such as basements or bathrooms.
- Don’t allow water to accumulate under house plants.
- Bleach your bathroom frequently.
- Regularly clean out your gutters.
- Periodically check crawl spaces, laundry rooms and cabinetry beneath sinks for mold dampness.
- Inspect and replace hoses to appliances like dishwashers and refrigerators every five years.
Being mindful of this list could help you save thousands of dollars over the course of your homeownership. However, if you do suffer a home flood, there are also several measures you can take to make sure mold doesn’t grow before you can get a mold prevention team into the affected area.
- Remove any standing water as soon as you’ve photographed the damage.
- Move any rugs or affected furniture outside to dry.
- Open windows and run a dehumidifier to remove moisture from the room.
- Disinfect the area with bleach.
Getting Sick From Mold
Another way to detect mold is to consider whether you or your family have been experiencing the physical symptoms of mold exposure. These can include the following:
- Sore throat
All of the above symptoms may be related to a multitude of illnesses especially allergies and the common cold. However, you can distinguish between a common illness and mold exposure if you can determine whether the symptoms are worse on evenings and weekends, when you spend more time at home. Also, if others in your home display similar symptoms over a long stretch of time, you may have a mold problem.
Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the authors opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.
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Homeowners Coverage For Mold
If you find mold in your home, you might consider filing a claim with your insurance company. The cause of the mold problem is the deciding factor for whether or not youre covered under your homeowners policy. Most home insurance policies cover mold damage from a sudden, covered peril. The policys coverage may have limited coverage for mold, though. For example, the Florida Department of Financial Services noted that the most common mold coverage limit it sees is $10,000. This includes mold caused by water damage due to a burst water heater, leaking appliance, or firefighters when extinguishing a fire.
You must mitigate further losses by taking common-sense steps, like drying out damp sections in the home as soon as possible to prevent further mold growth. Failure to do so could result in you not getting the maximum claim reimbursement youre entitled to for the covered event.
However, most policies wont cover mold resulting from gradual damage over time. This means if you have mold damage from a leaky pipe that you knew about and neglected to fix, its not covered. Similarly, if you have a window that isnt sealed properly, water can get into your wall each time it rains. The resulting damage also isnt covered.
If a flood caused your mold damage, a standard insurance policy wouldnt cover it. Youd need a separate flood insurance policy.
What To Do When You Have Water Damage
If you have water damage, contact your insurance company right away. Make sure you document the mold with photographs. Also, keep a record of everything impacted by the mold so you can submit this information to your insurer when you make your claim.
Then, make any temporary repairs to stop the water damage from getting worse. For example, turn off the water lines to broken appliances or put cardboard in a broken window. Dont make permanent repairs until after your insurance company reviews the damage because your insurer may send out an adjuster to see the extent of the damage before making a decision.
If youve detected mold in your home, take proper precautions as you investigate. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends wearing gloves to protect your skin and goggles to protect your eyes. According to their recommendations, you should also wear an N-95 mask to avoid breathing in mold spores.
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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.
What Is A Sewer Backup Rider
A sewer backup rider is additional coverage in instances where water gets backed up from a drainage system or sewer, goes through the pipes, and does damage to your home.
What causes sewer backups? Tree roots combined pipelines, which are systems that mix raw sewage and storm water and a blockage in a sanitary main can all be causes.
As backed up sewers are increasing at a 3 percent rate each year, it might be worthwhile to tack on a sewer backup rider.
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Does Insurance Cover Mold Damage
The short answer to this question is yes. However, mold may only be covered by insurance if and when certain conditions are met.
Typically, insurance coverage depends on the source of the moisture or the leading cause of mold growth. Several insurance policies will cover any damage if linked to an actual loss that was initially covered. Also, you need to prove that such loss resulted in the mold problems you are facing.
For instance, let us assume your insurance covers water damage . Then molds appear because your walls were saturated from the water overflow. Your insurance will possibly cover the cost of restoration for such a mold problem.
While most insurance policies offer minimal coverage for mold claims, you still need to check with your homeowners insurance provider for whatever mold remediation coverage you may be able to access.
A Few Questions To Help Assess Safety:
- Do you notice water around the mold?
- Was there a storm a few days before the mold growth?
- Is the surface around the mold wet or damp?
- Is the room humid?
If the mold source is hard to find or attribute to a certain event, then the insurance company will probably only cover it if the insurance policy directly covers mold. If you can find a leak in the water heater it may be covered depending on how long the leak was going on before you noticed it. You should also document the situation with noted dates and times of when you noticed it, suspected sources, and take many pictures of the damaged area with timestamps. If you suspect rainfall was the source, try to get documentation of the weather around your area at the time your house flooded.
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Proper Repairs And Fixes Of Issues
If you have any repairs done on your home such as a leaky faucet or pipes, having documentation that the repairs were performed by professionals and the date they were performed will help in the event mold growth happens in the area of the repairs. You should also have documentation of any other home maintenance upgrades you have to deal with issues in your environment. This would be using a dehumidifier in an area known for humidity. You could call your insurance company to provide them with the receipt with the date of purchase and let them know that you are addressing humidity issues to prevent future claims getting denied for an issue you have corrected.
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.
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When Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold
When homeowners insurance covers mold depends on the specific named perils in your policy. However, the following situations are typically covered:
- Mold from a leak: This may be caused by a malfunctioning dishwasher, washing machine, water heater or other appliance. Damage from this type of sudden failure is usually covered by home insurance.
- Mold due to a frozen or burst pipe: Such water damage, and any resulting mold, is generally covered by home insurance.
- Mold caused by putting out a fire: If water used to douse a house fire causes mold, it should be covered by insurance.
- Mold caused by melting snow or ice on the roof or by ice dams: Melting snow and ice or ice dams that clog your rain gutters can leak water into the house. Water damage that comes from above is generally covered by homeowners insurance.
Even if your insurance policy covers mold in certain situations, there may be limitations. Get details of your policy’s mold coverage and exclusions in the full policy or by asking your insurance agent. Whenever you receive updates to your insurance policy, review them carefully for any changes to mold coverage.
What Does Mold Cause That Isnt Covered By Home Insurance
While you may think your home insurance policy will protect you from everything, unfortunately thats not always true. Mold caused by perils not covered in your dwelling/personal property policy will not be covered.
So lets say you decided not to purchase a separate flood insurance policy, and then your home is flooded from a rainstorm or other natural disaster. The resulting mold that grows from that flood damage wouldnt be covered. If you want to be covered in instances such as this, its recommended that you buy flood or hurricane insurance, or at least add a mold endorsement to your policy.
Insurers also dont cover any mold growth that comes from damage that occurred before the policy began, or before you purchased your home. So make sure to conduct a thorough inspection of your new home before buying . Finally, homeowner negligence is another excluded coverage when it comes to mold. If you noticed a leak but took a while to fix it, or simply didnt notice it at all, the resulting mold that developed would be on you to fix.
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Home Insurance And Mold: Is Mold Covered
Whether youre covered often comes down to the source of moisture and the wording of a policy.
Mold strikes fear into the hearts of those who’ve heard horror stories about toxic mold, expensive mold remediation, and denied home owners insurance claims. Yet mold can be found anywhere, including in most homes. It’s usually harmless.
Mold needs moisture to thrive. Problems can arise for home owners when the presence of persistent moisture goes undetected or unresolved, leading to widespread mold growth. Moisture can result from high indoor humidity, flooding, or a leaky roof or dishwasher.Whether mold damage is covered by home owners insurance often comes down to the source of that moisture. Take an hour or two to review the language of your policy, especially as it pertains to water damage. Look for mold exclusions or limitations. Call your agent if the wording is unclear.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Black Mold
Whether homeowners insurance covers black mold will depend on the source of the mold.
Did you notice in the middle of a bathroom renovation that your bathtub had been leaking and mold grew? Homeowners insurance wouldnt cover that because it would be considered negligent maintenance.
A standard homeowners insurance policy also likely wouldnt cover mold damage caused by a leaky pipe under a kitchen sink. Insurance companies expect you to perform regular home maintenance to avoid these kinds of problems. A homeowners insurance company could say that you neglected to remediate the problem, which caused mold to grow.
Let’s say, though, that there was a fire and the water used to douse the flames by firefighters caused an environment that caused mold to grow. In that case, your homeowners insurance policy would likely cover the mold damage. Home insurance companies will cover sudden and accidental damage, but don’t generally cover mold damage that could have been prevented.
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