Cleaning Up A Mold Problem
If an area ofyour home has already been contaminated by mold and your insurance policycovers the cleanup, then the first step for you is to have several moldremediation specialists come to your home and give you an estimate. You want toget a few estimates and select the company that you are the most comfortablewith.
There is no cost for an initial inspection and estimate, and allinsurance companies will require written documentation for any costs associatedwith the cleanup and repair. Mold remediation companies are used to workingdirectly with insurance companies and in most cases can handle all thepaperwork for you. You can follow this link to get a list of approved moldremediation specialists in your area.
If yourinsurance policy doesnt cover the cleanup costs, you have two options: pay a professional to remove the mold, or do it yourself. Either way you should still takeadvantage of the free inspection so you can get a better understanding ofexactly what needs to be done. For more information on doing the cleanupyourself and what is involved, follow this link.
Mold Coverage And Homeowners Insurance
Mold is usually covered under a home insurance policy if it results from an insurance-covered event. However, mold claims sometimes exceed the limits of a standard home insurance policy or are denied. To ensure you have mold coverage, check your insurance policy. If you need to increase coverage limits or a rider, consider buying a new policy at a lower rate than you’re probably paying now.
Instead of spending hours calling every insurance company to compare rates, let SmartFinancial simplify the homeowners insurance buying process through their network of 200+ insurers. Enter your zip code below and answer a few questions for a free quote.
About the Author
Ashley is a personal finance writer and content creator. In addition to being a contributing writer at SmartFinancial, she writes for solo entrepreneurs as well as for Fortune 500 companies. Through her financial expertise, she provides millennials and young professionals the tools and resources they need to better manage their finances.
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
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What Types Of Mold Damage Does Insurance Cover
Water damage, whether originating from within the home or outside of it, is likely to cause a mold infestation within the property. A water heater may malfunction and spew water, for instance. The resulting water damage can lead to the growth of black mold along the walls.
Or, a California wildfire may affect portions of a residential property. Fire officials respond with water hoses, and the moisture that extinguishes the flames saturates materials within the home. The widespread dampness has the potential to cause a mold infestation.
A third example of a sudden, accidental case of water damage is when the dishwasher malfunctions. The leaky appliance releases water onto the surrounding floor. As a result of the moisture, mold develops along the baseboards of the kitchen cabinets.
These three aforementioned examples of water damage are covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy in the state of California. The mold damage that occurs as a result of the covered perils is eligible for mold remediation coverage through homeowners insurance.
Residents of The Golden State may file a claim for mold cleanup as well as for restoration of materials that have been damaged by mold growthas long as the source of the moisture is covered under the homeowners standard insurance policy.
Documentation of the mold growth is necessary for insurance purposes
How To Make A Successful Mold Insurance Claim
If you think you suspect mold in your home, here are a few tips for successfully navigating your claim.
Be ready to advocate for yourself. A home insurance company might quickly deny a mold claim. So if you believe youre entitled to coverage, be ready to stand your ground. Dont try to guess at the cause of the mold on your own, unless its obvious, such as a burst pipe. Ask for an investigation into the cause.
Make a claim. Call your insurance provider immediately to make a claim. Keep a log of detailed notes of every conversation with your insurance provider and who you spoke with.
Review your policy. Review your homeowners insurance policy carefully to understand your coverage.
Protect your property from further damage. Dont start actual repairs before an insurance adjuster has evaluated your damage, but do take actions to prevent further damage. For example, if you have roof damage, you may need to cover holes.
Provide supporting materials for your claim. Photograph, videotape and take an inventory of all of your damaged property. Youll want to document your loss as thoroughly as possible to support your claim.
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Mold From Flood Water
Typically mold from flooding such as from as storm and not flooding from a burst pipeisnt covered by standard insurance policies, even those with water damage covered. You could request additional coverage for flooding, but mold growth from the added moisture of a flood still might not be covered by the additional flood insurance. Check with your insurance company about mold growth from flooding to be sure it is also covered with the additional flood coverage.
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.
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S For Filing A Claim:
Assess the Situation for Danger and Source
The first step is to assess the situation, assess how bad the damage is and if there is structural damage and the area or house is safe to be in. Watch out for mold, which could be dangerous to breathe in. Once you have assessed the area, and it is not an immediate or short-term danger of causing harm, then you should try to determine if you can see the source.
Does Insurance Cover Mold Removal
If youfind mold in your home the first question you are probably going to ask is,does insurance cover mold removal? A home insurance policy is purchased tocover any potential damage that may occur to a home, but the problem is thatmany homeowners are unaware of the fact that there are potentially dangeroussituations that may occur in the home that might not be covered by your insurancepolicy.
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Does Tenant Insurance Cover Mold
Examples would include a burst pipe, toilet overflow, or broken washer hose. Mold damage is covered by renters insurance when it is the result of a named peril specifically listed in your renters insurance policy.
On-line Insurance As Opposed To An Insurance Agency Whats The Difference Liability Insurance Insurance Agency General Liability
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
What Happens When You File A Mold Claim
If youve read your policy and believe you have a valid mold claim, contact your insurer for next steps. The insurer will ask you for a lot of details, so be prepared to respond. Take photos of the damages and gather up any photos you have of the space before the mold appeared. You should also turn on a dehumidifier in the area to prevent additional mold growth.
Dont clean up or try to fix any issues on your own. The insurance company will send a claims adjuster to inspect the damages personally and determine the cause. Youll want that adjuster to see the full extent of the damage.
Homeowners claims can drag on for weeks. Plan on keeping detailed notes of your conversations with the adjuster and other representatives. Be prepared to follow the insurance companys process meticulously and also respond quickly to information requests.
When Doesnt Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold
Homeowners insurance doesnt cover mold when it is the result of negligence from the homeowner or in the event of flooding. Mold from hurricanes or ice storms might be covered by homeowners insurance since these events are generally a covered peril. Flood insurance is a separate entity that you must add to your homeowners policy if you need it. This means mold that grows as a result of home flooding isnt covered by a general home insurance policy.
Other example scenarios where mold isnt covered in homeowners insurance policies are:
- If there is a leak for many years that has been ignored
- Not using a dehumidifier in your basement or in any humid climate resulting in black mold
- A storm that causes flooding and consequently mold
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Mold Caused By Flooding
Flooding is one of the main causes of mold damage because it can be a lengthy amount of time after a flood before mitigation efforts begin. According to the EPA, mold growth can begin within 24-48 hours after flood damage. Unfortunately, flood damage is not a named peril covered by a standard homeowners policy. The Federal Emergency Management Agency makes flood insurance available through its National Flood Insurance Program, but the coverage may exclude mold damage.
How Much Will My Insurance Cover
Typical insurance companies have sub-limits ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 for mold restoration. Mold damage riders can help increase your coverage limits. But if the mold occurred because of a failure to properly maintain your home, your insurance company will likely deny your claim. For example, if you live in Florida but dont have a humidifier installed, mold development would constitute wear and tear rather than a covered peril.
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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.
Water Damage Following A Flood
Mold is a common occurrence after a home has been flooded. Homeowners insurance often does not cover flooding, unless you specifically purchase flood insurance. If your insurance policy does not cover flooding, it probably will not cover mold that results from flooding. It may, however, cover mold following a flood if you have flood insurance. If you live in an area prone to flooding, this is definitely something you should look into.
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How To Avoid Having A Mold Damage Claim Denied
There are several things you can do to prevent mold and/or improve the odds of having your claim approved if you incur mold damage.
On the prevention side, you can:
- Install dehumidifiers in areas that are prone to dampness
- Regularly check plumbing pipes and fittings to look for leaks
- Adequately ventilate bathrooms, laundry rooms, kitchens, and other areas of your home where mold may have an opportunity to grow
- Keep gutters clean to prevent the formation of ice dams in winter, which can lead to leaks
- Regularly inspect your roofand around windows and doorsand caulk cracks that could allow water to leak in
- Properly insulate interior and exterior pipes in winter to avoid breakages or leaks
- Routinely check appliances and hot water heaters for signs of leaks
If you have to file a claim for mold damage:
- Properly document the damage with photos and/or video
- Provide up-to-date maintenance records if you have them
- Follow any and all instructions the insurance company gives you to process the claim
- Contract approved mold removal companies to clean up the damage
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.
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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.
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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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 In Crawl Spaces
When mold growth in crawl spaces is tied to an insurance claim that was previously covered, like a ruptured water heater or another major appliance, your insurer may also cover the cost of treating and removing the mold. But your policy probably wont include coverage when mold wasnt directly related to a previous claim.
Insurance companies often treat mold in crawl spaces as a maintenance issue because it takes time for it to occur even though mold can realistically form in as little as 24 to 48 hours under the right conditions.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Water In Crawl Spaces?
You cant have mold without water, and water damage is one area where your homeowners insurance can start to get a bit grey. If theres standing water in the crawl space under your house, whether or not your homeowners insurance covers the cost of the damages or the repairs depends entirely on how the water got there in the first place.
In most cases, the following instances would be covered by your homeowners insurance policy.
- The standing water is a result of a pipe bursting unexpectedly.
- The standing water is a result of a broken or faulty appliance that leaked into the crawl space.
- Your air conditioning unit malfunctions, causing a sudden flood of water thats trapped in your crawl space.
Here are some other examples of standing water in your crawl space that arent covered by most policies:
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Crawl Space Encapsulation?
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