How Can You Prevent Mold From Growing In Your Home
While it’s common to find mold in your home, there are ways you can prevent it. If the humidity in your home is high , you may have mold growth in your home. If you can keep the humidity in your home in check, that may help prevent mold growth. Purchasing a dehumidifier can help with humidity and ensure coverage later on from your homeowners insurance policy.
The bathroom is a common place for mold to grow because of steam from the shower. Make sure you use a fan in your bathroom to remove the moisture and dry the area quickly. Other areas of your home that may experience moisture should also be properly ventilated: your kitchen, laundry room, basement and attic.
If you experience a leak or flood in your home, the best way to prevent mold damage is to repair the leak as soon as you can and make sure all the water is dried up as soon as possible. Even if it’s a small leak, take action immediately. If you suspect the leak went deeper for any reason, talk to your insurance to see if it’s a covered peril.
Keep an eye on your water bills. If you see an unexpected spike in the bill, that may be an indicator that you have a leak somewhere in your home. Water may be able to get into your home during a storm if you have cracks in your foundation. Be sure to repair these to avoid water seeping into your basement from heavy rain. Additionally, make sure to clear out all gutters and drains. Water damage can be a major safety hazard in your home.
How To File A Homeowners Claim For Mold
The first step in filing a claim is to call your insurance company quickly and informing them of the damages. Once you speak with your insurance company and they provide you with next steps, gather the evidence. You can do this by taking several pictures of the damages. Also, take pictures any mold that becomes visible before anyone comes out and fixes the issue. Keep in mind that mold only needs 24 hours to begin to grow. It would also be a good idea to contact a mold remediation company and have them come out and dry the water before mold starts to grow. However, consult with your insurance company before making this call to be sure that they will cover the costs.
Once your insurance claim goes through and resolves all damages, keep any documentation and images. If mold later grows in that area and the growth is due to the initial incident, then your insurance company will likely have to cover the costs of going back in and fixing the problem.
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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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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.
Finding Coverage For Mold
If you live in an area prone to mildew or high humidity, you may need more routine maintenance in order to fend off moisture and mold. Even if you meticulously clean your property, mold could go unnoticed and cause extensive damage before you spot it. There may be some coverage options.
Policies that include mold rememdiation. Some homeowners insurance policies, such as policies for high-value homes, will give you more coverage automatically.
For example, Chubb can provide coverage for mold remediation expenses. This includes testing indoor air quality and surfaces, developing a mold remediation plan, and implementing the plan, such as removing, containing and disposing of the mold.
Mold insurance riders. Some insurers offer a mold-damage rider or endorsement that you can add to your policy. This rider removes a policys exclusion for mold.
Keep in mind, mold damage riders might not be offered in your state or by your insurer.
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Types Of Mold Damage Typically Covered
Whether or not your homeownerâs policy covers mold damage largely depends on the cause of mold growth. A standard policy often lists mold as an exclusion, unless under the following conditions:
- Mold is hidden within the walls, ceiling, or beneath the floors,
- Mold growth results from an accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam,
Examples of accidental discharge or overflow of water
- A burst pipe
- Overflow resulting from a malfunctioning AC unit,
- Your washing machine hose bursts,
- A fire sprinkler causing water damage
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, you would need to make sure the affected areas are completely dry.
While every home insurance policy is different, standard homeownerâs insurance policies protect you from a âcovered perilâ. In some cases, mold can grow as a result of water damage from outside forces. Whether your homeownerâs insurance covers mold in that instance depends on what caused the damage to begin with. If you have a flood insurance policy and your home is flooded or damaged due to heavy rains, a hurricane, or other acts of nature, then your policy may extend to mold coverage in those cases.
How To File A Claim When You Have Mold
This is ideal, since it can minimize damage and prevent you from paying a deductible for two separate claims one for repairing the damage from the burst pipe, the other for the future mold removal.
In these situations, ask your insurance agent if the necessary mold remediation is totally covered by your claim. Also, keep meticulous records of all damaged areas and repairs in order to support potential future claims. In other cases, you might discover mold some time after water damage has occurred.
In these situations, you need to prove that the mold resulted from the covered peril and not a new leak or lack of maintenance. If this is true, follow these steps to file a claim:
- Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible. They’ll need to send an adjuster to assess the total cost of the damage and evaluate whether it is, indeed, related to a covered claim.
- Open windows or run a dehumidifier or fan in order to dry out the room and prevent further mold growth. However, don’t try to clean or remove anything. The adjuster needs to review all damaged property.
- Review your policy or consult your agent to determine your policy’s mold coverage limits.
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Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage
Sometimes it covers some types of water damage, but not others.
When water damage is covered
Generally, if the cause of the water damage is sudden and accidental, its covered by homeowners insurance.
For example, if your dishwasher suddenly goes on the fritz, your pipes burst, or your washing machine supply hose breaks, youre covered.
Btw, homeowners policy will cover both the structure of your home and your personal belongings in your home if theyre damaged by water. But take note that the thing that causes the damage isnt covered.
What does that mean? Lets say your hot water tank bursts, and leaks all over your finished basement. Your household insurance would cover the replacement of your basement, but not the hot water tank.
When water damage isnt covered
Homeowners insurance doesnt cover water damage when it stems from:
- Maintenance issues
- Water backup from an outside sewage or drain
- Mold, rot, or corrosion
- A flood
If youd like flood insurance, you can go ahead and purchase a separate flood policy through the National Flood Insurance Program.
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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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.
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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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.
How To Stop Mold Damage
If you have a mold problem, you’ll want to file a home insurance claim. Before you call your insurance agent, you need to mitigate the mold damage before it gets worse. Your home insurance provider will expect you to take preventative measures ASAP, and acting quickly can save you a lot of money down the line.
The key priority with mold mitigation is moisture removal. Until you dry out the affected area, the mold will continue to bloom and damage your home. Professional mold removal, otherwise known as mold remediation, may be required to get the most thorough job done. Contacting a mold remediation company within the first 48 hours of the mold occurrence is your best chance of avoiding a large repair bill.
If you can’t contact a mold remediation company right away, you’ll need to take steps on your own:
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Does Home Insurance Cover Mold
Heres where it gets a bit tricky. Typically, standard homeowners policies dont cover mold damage. Policies that do cover mold damage often limit the amount the provider will pay and only cover mold caused by a named peril. For example, if a storm breaks a window in your home causing rainwater to soak your carpeting and lead to a mold outbreak, your homeowners policy may pay to replace the carpet depending upon your deductible and mold limit.
However, along with named perils, homeowners insurance also list exclusions. Usually, homeowners policies list mold damage as an exclusion, but some insurers offer mold riders. Purchasing the optional coverage is a good idea because mold removal costs $10 to $25 per square foot. In our broken window scenario, the insurer may pay to replace the carpeting due to rain damage, but you could end up paying thousands of dollars out of pocket for mold remediation.
Homes can face severe mold problems following a flood but standard homeowners policies dont cover flood damage. The Federal Emergency Management Agency makes flood insurance available through its National Flood Insurance Program, however the coverage doesnt cover mold damage.
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:
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Filing A Home Insurance Claim For Mold Damage
After youâve completed the cleanup, call your insurer and start the claim process. Give them a detailed description of the damage and what preventative measures youâve taken. Take pictures of every square inch of the damaged area. Make an inventory list of mold-damaged items along with their value. Your agent will need these in order to calculate an accurate payout.
How Long Does It Take For Mold To Grow From Water Damage
Even if you have limited water intrusion and it doesnt cause significant damage, it could still lead to mold problems. Any amount of mold accumulation inside a home can easily cause mold formation.
Mold spores are everywhere in the environment, so mold can start forming as soon as the ideal conditions- moisture and organic food- are present.
Under the ideal conditions, it takes just 24-48 hours for germination and growth. Usually, the spores start colonizing in 3-12 days and then become visible in around 18-21 days.
The time varies for different mold types and depends on the specific condition in the home, household materials and surface types in the affected areas, the moisture amount, the ideal temperature, and more.
Nevertheless, the more time the mold is left unattended, the higher the chances for it to grow and spread to other parts of the home. This could mean more potential problems when it comes to mold removal.
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Covered Perils And Mold Insurance
Homeowners insurance policies spell out a list of covered perils, meaning instances of damage to the home for which youre eligible to file a claim. The main cause of mold formation is water seeping into the structure of your home, so you need to know which water-related covered perils are included in your policy.
For example, your policy may cover you if mold results from any of the following:
- Water leaks associated with a malfunctioning appliance
- Water damage caused by a burst hot water heater
- Water damage caused by firefighters extinguishing a fire in your home
In these instances mold would be resulting damage from a covered peril. Its important to distinguish between resulting damage and initial damage. For example, if your water heater breaks and a leak causes mold to form in the walls, then your policy might pay for the walls to be repaired and the mold to be removed but not for the replacement of the hot water heater.
Its important to note that the amount your policy may pay for mold repair and removal might not cover all of the resulting damage. This extent of mold coverage is typically limitedfor example, a company may cap mold removal and remediation at $10,000 for a single occurrence, says Pat Howard, homeowners insurance expert at Policygenius. Higher coverage limits may be available, but if youre unsure about whats covered, Howard suggests talking to your agent to find out what options you have.