Mold Contamination Insurance Coverage : The Basics
Mold Contamination Insurance Coverage 101: The Basics
Mold is a fungus. There are all kinds. Its everywhereindoors and out. At trace background levels, mold is not usually a problem for most people. There are exceptions. Mold needs a moist breeding ground to grow and reproduce. Mold can grow almost anywhere there is water intrusion, high humidity or dampness. Most often mold is confined to areas near the source of water. As mold grows, it may break down or otherwise compromises the integrity of its host material. The first 48 hours after water damage can be critical in preventing or containing mold growth.
Mold reproduces by generating sporesmicroscopic reproductive bodies similar to seeds. Spores and microscopic fragments of mold growth are a natural component of both outdoor and indoor air. However, when mold germinates and grows, it can produce large amounts of spores. Elevated levels of mold spores in indoor living or working environments can cause adverse health effects, particularly respiratory problems. When moldy material becomes damaged or disturbed, spores can be released into the air. Even if you kill the mold with bleach, but dont remove the mold, when it dries, you may actually make the problem worse by disturbing the dry mold and releasing spores in the air. Exposure can occur if people inhale the spores, directly handle moldy materials, or accidentally ingest them. Some species of mold are considered benign.
Property Damage Coverage
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold Remediation
When it comes to homeowners insurance, it is best to be well informed and proactive before mold becomes a problem in your home. Coverage varies from company to company and policy to policy. If you have any questions regarding mold coverage and cleanup, dont hesitate to contact your insurance agency for help sorting it out.
How Does Mold Grow In Your Home
Mold is found just about everywhere, but it can actively grow on surfaces in your home that have been exposed to moisture. That includes ceilings, walls, floors, windows, insulation, HVAC systems and air ducts, and even your furniture and clothes. Mold can also grow behind your walls if you’ve had a water leak. If an area of your home has experienced excessive moisture, commonly from a flood, humidity or a water leak, there is a potential for mold growth.
There are many different types of mold, and some are more harmful to your home and health than others. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , some species produce toxins and can cause people to become ill from exposure and others can cause allergic reactions, including asthma attacks.
You may hear harmful mold referred to as black mold. When mold is actively growing in your home, it can damage the surface it’s growing on, requiring repairs. Additionally, mold releases spores into the air which can be problematic to breathe in, causing allergic reactions to many people.
Some homeowners prefer to spray Lysol or other similar products around their bathroom on a regular basis. Once mold starts growing, though, you need a professional to deal with your problem. It’s not just about appearance. Professional services protect you from serious health consequences. You’ll want to take care of your mold problem as soon as you detect it to avoid getting sick and to prevent home damage from worsening.
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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.
When Is Mold Covered By Home Insurance
A standard HO-3 homeowners insurance policy lists mold, fungus or wet rot as exclusions, unless under the following conditions: the mold is hidden within the walls, ceiling, or beneath the floors, if the mold growth results from the âaccidental discharge or overflow of water or steamâ. Mold can begin to form anywhere from 24 to 48 hours after an incidence of water damage, so if youâve recently had a pipe burst or appliance malfunction, make sure the affected areas are completely dry.
Here are a few real-world examples where that may happen.
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Does Flood Insurance Cover Mold Remediation
The black mold removal cost of an unfinished basement can really vary. It could be as little as $500 or as high as $4,000 depending on the scope and size AKA how much mold is present and how much area it covers. If the attic and ducts are involved, the cost for those generally ranges from $2,000 to $6,000.23 mar. 2017
What To Look For In Your Insurance Policy
There are two ways to look at mold insurance claims. First, know that most homeowners insurance policies do not cover things like mold, fungi or bacteria.
If you have mold in your home and you report it to your policy provider, youre likely to get a rejection. However, mold is often related to something that might be covered by your insurance policies, like flooding.
If you have a leak in your home or theres a massive flood in your area caused by a weather event, you may run the risk of mold development. In these cases, while homeowners insurance may not cover mold expressly, it should cover the cause of the mold which would then provide coverage to repair any damages related to the flooding.
There are two ways to check for yourself. First, you can look at the covered perils section of your homeowners insurance policy. This is the fine print that outlines what is covered and what isnt covered and the amount anything might be covered up to.
Perhaps the way to check for yourself is to call your insurance provider. They are there to serve you, and you can ask all sorts of questions about what is covered and what is not.
If you live in an area that is at risk from flooding either due to weather events like hurricanes, the overflowing of local water sources or spring snow melt consider getting flood insurance.
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When You File A Mold Claim
In some cases, the insurance company may send out moldremediation specialists from the start of the repair process for a water damage claimonce it is approved. If you have a covered plumbing leak,for example, your insurer is going to assume the professional drying and moldremediation efforts will be necessary before any additional repairs likefloor or drywall replacements can truly commence in earnest.
Mold remediation companies often utilize the highest qualityair movers and dehumidifiers for the specific purpose of completely drying outflooded areas. Florida, along with our other Gulf Coast neighbors, have whatare probably the most experienced mold remediation professionals in the UnitedStates.
If anyone knows how to adequately dry a home or businessthats suffered water damage, its the mold remediation professionals inFlorida.
How To File A Claim For Mold Damage
In many cases, homeowners insurance claims related to mold are part of a larger water damage claim. For example, maybe a pipe burst, flooded your basement, and months later you discover mold growth in your walls.
In the event you discover mold months after the initial incident, reach out to your insurance company to see if youâre still able to file a claim for the damage. Most insurers require you to report mold damage no later than six months from the date of the covered event that caused the mold.
Here are a few steps you should take to ensure that youâll get reimbursed for mold-related loss.
Contact your insurance company right away to report the water damage incident or mold growth
Document the damage with photos and videos
Ventilate the affected area as much as possible to prevent further mold growth
Closely follow your insurance companyâs instructions for filing a claim
Contact local mold removal companies to get cleanup and repair estimates
Provide insurance company with estimates and receive a payout
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When Mold Is Covered By Your Insurance
You may be covered for sudden mold-related incidents specified on your policy. For example, a fire in your home is put out with hose-water, which then caused dampness and mold. Another scenario where you could be covered is if your water heater bursts and floods your basement, causing mold in the aftermath.
How To Prevent Mold In Your Home
Mold is more than a household headache, it can cause serious health problems, too. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people with allergies, diseases that weaken the immune system and respiratory diseases face the highest mold-related health risks.
Its almost impossible to keep your home mold free all the time, but with proper maintenance you can prevent mold from getting out of hand. Oftentimes, you can smell the musty odor of mold before you see it or feel a slimy substance when you touch surfaces. Dry mold can grow in linens and pillows and form around dressers, shelves and heating and cooling vents. To prevent mold, regularly follow a few lifestyle and maintenance tips:
- Dry spills immediately
- Regularly check pipes and appliance hoses for leaks and replace hoses before they spring a leak if possible
- Clean surfaces like bathroom tile and ceramic floors with mold killing products, like bleach
- Install exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathrooms
- Maintain a humidity level of 30% to 60% inside your home
- Paint walls and ceilings with paint that contains mold inhibitors
- Remove carpets from damp areas, like bathrooms and basements
- Dont allow water to accumulate in water reservoirs of house plants
- Inspect your roof and attic for water seepage and promptly make repairs, as necessary
- Clean debris from gutters to ensure proper water drainage
- Seal windows and doors to prevent seepage and keep out moisture
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What Types Of Water Damages Are Covered
Sudden, accidental water damage events, such as a burst water pipe, leaky appliance, water heater failure, or the overflow from an air conditioning unit, are covered by standard homeowners insurance policies in California. Coverage is limited to water damage that originates from within the home.
Burst pipes are the number one cause of water damage in California homes. Water damage due to such sudden instances is covered by homeowners insurance. Surprisingly, water damage is among the most common home insurance claims filed by the states residents.
Making A Successful Mold Insurance Claim
Most homeowners don’t think about mold until it’s already become a problem. And then you may be surprised what is and isn’t covered by your homeowners insurance.
Lloyd Crosthwait, an engineer at Continental Machinery Company in Dallas, a disaster-recovery firm, has seen mold growing in many of his clients’ homes.
“Mold spores are everywhere in nature so that challenge is always there. I’ve seen problems where people have mold growing in closets just because they’re living near a coastline or other humid areas,” said Crosthwait.
Exposure to molds can cause symptoms such as nasal stuffiness, eye irritation or wheezing. And some people may have more severe reactions. Mycotoxins from mold growth can also cause other respiratory problems, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
- Some home insurance policies cover mold that is caused by a covered peril.
- Insurance policies will not cover mold that is the result of a maintenance issue. For example, if there is mold due to pipe leak or humid climate.
- If you find mold in your home, the best thing to do is to call a company that does specializes in removing mold.
- Mold removal can be expensive, so the more help you can get through insurance in covering those costs the better.
As a public adjuster, Matthew Blumkin, a principal and public adjuster at the Greenspan Co./Adjusters International in Encino, California, has seen numerous home insurance claims relating to mold.
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Is There A Monetary Limit To Mold Remediation Coverage
If coverage for mold damage is indeed available, the amount of what exactly is covered varies. In some instances, mold testing isnt covered while mold remediation is, and there may be a cap on the dollar amount, which can result in significant out-of-pocket expenses for mold clean up. Location and building materials also factor in, as insurance companies may have higher premiums in regions where humidity and wet weather is a factor, and lower premiums in dryer climates, and for homes built with mold resistant materials.
What Is Covered Peril
Covered peril is basically what insurance looks for when determining whether to cover your mold remediation costs or not.
The examples above are a few of those instances insurance is willing to cover. But the main thing is double-checking your policy, and seeing if your particular situation falls under what the insurance company considers covered peril. If youre lucky, youll find yourself covered at least up to a certain financial point. However, if your situation doesnt line up with their definition of covered peril, you may be in for a huge financial bill to shoulder.
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Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Crawl Space Encapsulation
Even though crawl space encapsulation isnt covered by your homeowners insurance, it can still be a worthwhile investment. Its a measure that can make it more difficult for standing water to build up in the first place and it also makes it easier to remove water that does pool in the foundation of your home.
Because the most common causes of standing water in crawl spaces are also excluded from coverage, investing in a crawl space encapsulation can help you avoid the thousands of dollars that mold removal or water extraction could cost you out of pocket.
We partner with the nations top homeowners insurance companies so you can get a custom policy at an affordable price.
When Mold Is Usually Covered
In most cases, if mold results from a sudden and accidental covered peril, such as a pipe bursting or the dishwasher overflowing, the cost of the mold remediation should be covered. Thats because technically the pipe burst or faulty dishwasher is the reason for the claim not the mold itself.
Another example is a house fire. Lets say fortunately the firefighters arrived in time to keep most of your home intact. However, due to the water from the fire hoses your home has developed mold. That could be covered by home insurance.
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How Long Does It Take To Get Rid Of Mold In A House
The time it takes to remove mold will depend on the extent of the mold outbreak. For normal household mold that grows around sinks and in bathrooms, you can remove it within a few minutes during your weekly house cleaning routine. But if you allow mold to spread, it could result in an outbreak that could require many hours or days of professional mold removal.
When Does Home Insurance Cover Mold
The question of whether home insurance covers mold depends on the type of damage and the cause. Typically, homeowners insurance covers mold if the mold growth was caused by what is termed a covered peril. This means that the mold will be covered if it was caused by damage that has been covered by insurance.
The range of covered perils that may result in the insurance coverage of mold removal and repair includes
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What Do You Do If Your Mold Claim Is Denied
If mold isnt listed as an exclusion in your homeowners insurance policy and the provider denies your claim, you can appeal the ruling with the insurer. If you believe the insurer has treated you unfairly, you may also file a complaint with your states department of insurance or the Better Business Bureau. Unfortunately, if your home insurance policy lists mold damage as an exclusion, youll likely have no recourse if the insurer denies a mold damage claim.
Should Mold Damage Qualify For Homeowners Insurance Coverage
In short, the answer is yes.
Mold is very closely related to water damage, including burst pipes within walls, leaky roofs, etc. and most of the homeowners insurance covers it.
ALso, mold is a secondary problem of water damage and is just as destructive as fire, although much slower on its path to destruction.
Mold can render a whole house unfit for occupancy. It can completely destroy drywall and lead to the need for their replacement.
Not to mention, calling a water damage restoration company means you have to spend from your own pocket. Therefore, while choosing an insurance company you should keep your eyes peeled to make sure that they offer coverage for mold.
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Some Home Insurance Policies Have Low Limits For Mold
Even the home insurance policies that do offer coverage for mold frequently only afford minimal protection. Among the policies that provide mold coverage, many limit coverage to between $1,000 and $10,000 worth of mold remediation and repair. Even if mold is caused by a covered peril, homeowners may find that their policy limits coverage to mold damage to just a few thousand dollars.
Low limits on mold coverage can leave homeowners whose houses have mold with major out-of-pocket expenses. In 2003, a paper published by the Insurance Information Institute placed the cost of a typical homeowners mold claim between $15,000 and $30,000. Even a generous homeowners policy that provided $10,000 worth of mold coverage would leave homeowners with a $5,000 to $20,000 bill.