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.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold Or Black Mold
Homeowners insurance will only cover mold or damage caused by mold if it grew as a result of a covered peril and occurred quickly. So a hurricane taking out your roof, allowing rain to come through and assist mold growth throughout your home would likely be covered.
But mold-related problems are only covered if theyre caused by sudden and accidental issues, which typically result from water damage caused by a burst pipe, improperly working air conditioner or something along those lines.
However, while a burst pipe that creates mold may be covered by your insurer, mold that comes from pipes connected to an improperly working AC unit may not share the same coverage.
Most mold-related insurance claims are denied because the growth occurred over time and wasnt caught quickly enough. Your policy has special guidelines for mold coverage, so its best to consult with your agent to figure out exactly what is and isnt covered under your policy.
Mold coverage also doesnt have the same high-dollar limits as other parts of your policy. While repairs and removal from mold damage could set you back thousands of dollars, its common that homeowners insurance policies have a maximum limit of $1,000 to $10,000 for mold remediation which is used for removal and repairs.
Does Umbrella Insurance Cover Mold Damage
Not typically but it may cover mold damage repairs of someone elses property or structure if the mold growth was your fault. Umbrella insurance is a liability insurance that typically is for liability coverage that will cover your assets in the event something happens and you are being held responsible. Most homeowners insurance has liability coverage but the limits are much lower than umbrella insurance limits. This insurance possibly would cover property damage from mold if the mold was from a burst pipe in your property and the water flowed to your neighbors property and the added moisture caused severe mold growth resulting in repair costs that are above the limits of your homeowners policy.
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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.
Can I Clean Up Mold Damage Myself
Some large mold problems are beyond the cleanup capabilities of the average homeowner.
FEMA recommends hiring a mold remediation specialist whos affiliated with or certified by the National Environmental Health Association, the American Industrial Hygiene Association, the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification, or the American Council for Accredited Certification.
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Does Home Insurance Cover Mold Damage
Possibly. It depends on the peril or event that caused the mold in the first place and whether your policy covers it, according to Jim Hickey, head of personal lines at World Insurance Associates. Some examples of commonly covered perils are fire, lightning, wind, or hail.
If its not a covered peril and its long-term wear and tear or a result of a damp, moist area that causes mold to occur over time, that would likely not be covered, he said.
Insurance companies also typically have sub-limits for mold claims, even if the mold occurs because of a named peril in the policy. That can limit reimbursement to as little as $1,000 for some policies. If you want additional coverage, you can typically purchase an endorsement or rider, but it may be costly if you live in an area prone to mold damage.
When Is Mold Not Covered By Home Insurance
Like rodent or bed bug infestations, mold has a reputation for being a home maintenance issue, and damage that results from a lack of upkeep or neglect is excluded under most homeowners insurance policies.
Mold formation is relatively gradual and â in its worst form â takes several months of accumulation before you realize it’s caused irrevocable damage to your drywall and flooring. At that point, it may be difficult for you or your insurer to correctly identify the exact cause of the mold and they may chalk it up to neglect or pre-existing mold growth.
Mold is also extremely costly to remove, with removal costs as high as $30,000 depending on the cause, extent, and location of the buildup, and many insurance companies want no part in covering something as preventable and costly as mold.
Here are a few causes of mold growth that are typically not covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy.
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How To Treat And Remove House Mold
If mold has already made an appearance in your home, it’s important to nip it in the bud. Depending on the extent of the mold, you can either apply home treatments or hire a professional.
Before taking action, be sure to take pictures of the mold. This documentation is important if you plan to submit an insurance claim.
Do-It-Yourself Mold RemovalThere are various mold-killing products available on the market. When working around mold, always wear long rubber gloves, goggles, and an N-95 respirator. For proper disposal, place moldy items and cleaning materials in an airtight plastic bag.
Here are tips for removing mold from certain areas:
- For hard surfaces: Scrubbing with detergent and water should remove the mold.
- For walls, showers, or windows: Clean off the mold first and then repaint or recaulk.
- For porous or absorbent materials, like carpet or ceiling tiles: Remove the affected areas and throw them away.
- For upholstery items, like furniture: Have a professional remove the material and reupholster.
When to Hire a ProfessionalIf the mold is extensive, you should hire a mold remediation service. The EPA recommends hiring a professional if the moldy area is more than 10 square feet .
Once you remove the mold, be sure to fix the problem that caused the mold. Otherwise, it will make a return appearance.
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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.
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Examples Of Situations When Mold Damage May Be Covered2 3
Here are some scenarios in which you would be covered for resulting mold damage2, 3:
- Malfunctioning appliance, such as a washer or dishwasher, causing a leak
- Burst or frozen pipe
- Broken water heater
- Water damage caused from extinguishing a fire
Its important to note that for situations such as these, the mold is resulting damage not initial damage. That means your insurance can help you with mold remediation and repairing your floors or walls, but it will probably not replace a broken appliance. Your policy might also have a cap on the amount it pays toward mold removal, which may not cover all of the mold damage.2
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.
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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.
Who Pays For Mold Remediation
Even if you file a successful claim with your insurance company for mold remediation, chances are it won’t cover it all.
The process of remediating mold from a property is a time-consuming one. Its also an expensive one, with the average cost ranging from $15,000 to $30,000, according to EC Insurance in Oklahoma. To mitigate these costs, insurers have sub-limits.
“Typically, insurance policies will state a maximum limit of between $1,000 and $10,000 for mold remediation. Depending on the company you’re with, there may be an option to increase that coverage. However, if you live in a mold-prone state where there is a lot of rain, this coverage can be expensive or nearly impossible to obtain, Ragsdale says.
And remember, there is no small way to handle mold other than full remediation, so don’t cut corners.
“There really is no shortcut to mold remediation. The source of the water/moisture must be corrected, non-salvageable materials will need to be removed, and the remaining affected surfaces will need to be cleaned, Ragsdale says.
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Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold Damage
Whether you’re 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 homeowners 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 homeowners when the presence of persistent moisture goes undetected or unresolved, leading to widespread mold growth.
Moisture can result from high indoor humidity, flooding, a leaky roof or leaks in a dishwasher.
Whether mold damage is covered by homeowners 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.
Most basic homeowners insurance policies exclude coverage of damage caused by mold, fungi and bacteria. Yet that doesn’t mean a mold claim will be denied automatically.
In most cases, if mold results from a sudden and accidental covered peril, such as a pipe bursting, the cost of remediation should be covered. Technically, the pipe burst is the reason for the claim, not the mold itself.
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.
However, the average mold claim cost is between $15,000
Tips That May Help Prevent Mold:
- Check for water leaks and make repairs right away
- Make sure your downspout is directed away from your home
- Watch for condensation on your walls and windows
- Consider running a dehumidifier in your basement or other damp areas of your home
- Keep your gutters free of debris 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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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.
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 To Protect Your Home From Mold Growth
Protecting your home from mold growth is relatively simple, and so important for your homes long-term health. Mold tends to grow in humid and warm environments, so there are easy steps you can take to keep it from growing in likely areas such as HVAC closets, bathrooms and gutters.
- Install dehumidifiers in the bathrooms and basement
- Commit to regular home maintenance and cleaning
- Areas especially susceptible to mold growth should be monitored regularly
- Install smart devices to help keep an eye on your homes condition
- Devices like temperature, humidity and water leak sensors can take the guesswork out of home maintenance by immediately alerting you to any issues
As frustrating as it can be, mold growth isnt a death sentence for your home. And with proper preventative care, you can decrease the chance of mold spreading again throughout your home. If you’re looking for an insurer thatll walk you through the claim process, speak to a member of our team about your home insurance options.
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Clue Database And The Effect Of Filing Claims
Some homeowners who have filed claims for mold or water damage later experience difficulty in renewing or obtaining new insurance coverage for their homes. Contact the Texas Department of Insurance for possible assistance if you have difficulty finding an insurer.
Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange is a national database that tracks claims filed on properties. The database tracks both the claims history of your house and on claims filed a homeowner. In general, property claims filed with insurers are recorded in the CLUE database. In some cases, insurers may have reported inquiries about how to file a mold claim, even when no claim was made. Home buyers may request a building’s CLUE report. Claims on your property may prevent potential buyers from obtaining homeowners insurance. This in turn may limit your ability to sell the property. Therefore consider carefully whether to file repair claims on your home.
Under federal law, you can challenge incorrect information in your CLUE report. If you are denied homeowners coverage because of a CLUE report, you are entitled to receive the report free. Contact the Equifax Insurance Consumer Center at 456-6004. You do not have to report mold problems to your insurance company if you pay for the remediation. However in order to accept a claim, your policy may require you to report water damage to your insurance company within a set time after you discover or should have discovered the damage.
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Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold Removal
Whether home insurance covers mold removal depends on the damage, policy and insurance company.
“Frequency of coverage is difficult to answer. Coverage will vary by carrier and individual policy. Most carriers that do offer mold coverage have limits that typically start around $2,500 to $5,000 and can go up from there it depends on the individual policy and what the customer is willing to pay for from a premium standpoint,” Ragsdale said.
One situation in which a home insurance company will cover the insurance claim is during winter. For instance, a home insurance company will likely cover water damage caused by an ice dam because it falls under the “covered peril and timing” part of your policy.
“If a leak occurs but goes unattended for an extended period of time and mold begins to grow, it may not be covered. However, if an ice dam forms in the winter, water leaks into the attic for a short period of time and mold begins to form before the damage becomes apparent, then it may be covered. Mold coverage is strictly determined by the investigating adjuster,” Ragsdale said.
Basically, homeowners insurance will protect you if there is damage to the actual home or its contents. There are exceptions, though.
Some issues usually not covered by home insurance and will likely prove unsuccessful as a mold claim include damage from a flood, sewer backup or water seeping from the ground.