Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold Remediation
Homeowners may be surprised to learn that mold remediation is only covered by their homeowners insurance in certain events. Well discuss what is covered and how you can get coverage for the cost of mold remediation.
Have you spotted mold in the house you own? Are you looking to buy an older home that may be prone to mold, or are you curious as to what will happen with your current homeowners insurance coverage should you see microfungi growing in your house?
The bill for mold remediation can go well into the $20,000 to $30,000 range so its good to know what your homeowners insurance will cover if mold makes itself at home in your house.
When Is Mold Removal Not Included In Insurance Policies
Although excessive moisture is the primary cause of mold growth, other factors can be involved too. Home insurance companies will likely deny mold growth caused by homeowners neglect and lack of maintenance.
For example, a minor leak causes mold to spread throughout the surrounding area, and you try to file a claim for it weeks later. If thats so, most insurance providers will assume that you failed to act immediately and deny coverage for it.
Meanwhile, mold damage caused by regional floods is a peril excluded in insurance policies. However, if a separate flood insurance policy is on top of the standard insurance policy, then the coverage extends to any mold damage caused by a flood.
Guide To Mold Damage And Insurance Cover 2021
Dealing with mold problems goes beyond tackling its adverse effects on health. Often, the first headache for home or business owner comes from not having a plan or budget for mold restoration services.
Well, no one builds a home or office with plans for it to be taken over by some dangerous fungi. However, when you find mold growth in your workplace or apartment, you have to deal with it immediately. The fact that expert mold remediation services are more expensive than general cleaning makes this even more bothersome. It also brings to mind the subject of insurance.
What do you do when you find out that you are facing mold issues, and feel the need to use your insurance?
The answer to this is hardly straightforward. Does it lead to several other questions like how do you know if the mold damage you are dealing with is covered by an insurance? If you have mold problems and are unsure whether or not your homeowner or commercial insurance covers the damage caused by mold, then you are at the right place.
This article attempts to answer some of the most sought after questions regarding mold damage and insurance claims.
- What is mold insurance or mold liability coverage?
- Is mold damage covered by insurance?
- When does home insurance cover mold?
- Does homeowners insurance pay for mold removal?
- Mold insurance claims?
- Mold damage and insurance claims What to do?
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When Is Mold Damage And Removal Covered By Homeowners Insurance
Insurance carriers are very clear about whether homeowners insurance covers mold damage and removal. Some policies do not cover mold at all. Say youre located in an area that regularly floods or live near the ocean. Mold from water damage or humidity is such a predictable occurrence that insurers dont want to pay for its removal.
When an insurance company does cover mold, it is only under certain conditions. In a nutshell, it all comes down to what caused the mold and whether the thing that led to mold is covered under your policy.
Lets say your house caught on fire and the fire department sprayed tons of water putting it out. However, because the property remained damp after the fire department left, there is mold in the basement and main house. Does homeowners insurance cover mold? In this case, because fire damage is covered, so is mold resulting from the fire.
Heres a sample of situations in which mold is likely to be covered:
- A leaking pipe that you have not attempted to repair
- Any type of flooding, unless you carry flood insurance
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.
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Mold And Insurance Claims
To learn more about your coverage, you must contact your insurance company. Some insurance companies do have a clause for Mold but usually cap it at $10,000. We provide free-financing to all eligible customers to help ease any possible burdens. Our experts would be happy to assist with any inquiries or questions you may have regarding mold and insurance coverage and any restoration related inquiries. At Canada’s Restoration Services, we work with every insurance company across Canada. Building trusted relationships with these insurance companies make it easier and quicker for our customers to receive the help and support they require.
- where the mold is located
- the amount of mold there is
- how far the mold extends in the affected area
Mold Caused By Floods Or Acts Of Nature
In some cases mold can grow as a result of water damage from outside forces. Whether your homeowners insurance covers mold in that instance depends on what caused the damage to begin with.
Mold thats a result of storm surges, like floodwaters, is usually not covered by standard homeowners insurance, Harper says. Thats because standard home insurance policies dont cover flood damageyou need flood insurance for that.
If you have a flood insurance policy and your home is flooded due to heavy rains, a hurricane, or another act of nature, then your policy may extend to mold removal and repairs necessitated by flooding. Flood insurance costs on average around $700 per year in addition to your regular homeowners insurance premium, though it may cost more if you live in an area thats at higher risk for flooding.
That may be worth the investment, however, if youre concerned about mold resulting from a flood. According to FEMA, just one inch of water in your home can cause $25,000 in damage. Flood insurance with mold coverage could help mitigate some of the cost.
Mold that results from other acts of nature, such as a hurricane or an ice storm, may be covered under your homeowners insurance policy. For instance, if a hurricane tears your roof off and water gets inside the home, causing mold to grow, you might be able to file a claim for that along with other damages to the home.
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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.
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.
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Choosing A Mold Assessor And Remediator
All non-exempt mold assessors and remediators must be licensed by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation . Be wary of possible conflicts of interest on the part of companies that provide multiple services. A person may hold licenses, but may not do both jobs on the same project. In addition, a person may not own an interest in both firms that do the assessment and the remediation on the same project.
Keep in mind there are exceptions to the licensing requirement.
Review all bids with your insurer to determine which costs will be covered. If your lender is involved in the process, make sure the bid specifics and payment schedule meet the lenders requirements.
Check with TDLR to see if the contractors are properly licensed, and whether any complaints have been filed. Also do your homework on the companys reputation.
Some insurers may have a list of recommended mold specialists, but you must choose the contractor. Your insurer is prohibited from requiring you to use a specific company, but may assist you with your selection and with getting remediation work done in a timely manner.
After the contract is signed, licensed remediators are required to give you a Consumer Mold Information Sheet prepared by TDLR.
Under state law, a mold assessment must be done before remediation begins. Check your insurance policy to see if the remediation settlement should include the assessment cost.
Mold Caused By Covered Perils
If your home is damaged by a covered peril and results in mold, your homeowners policy may provide coverage. For example, if a storm breaks a window in your home, causing rainwater to soak your floors and walls leading to a mold outbreak, your policy may pay to remedy the damage because the storm was a named peril. Similarly, if a burst pipe causes extensive water damage and results in mold, your homeowners policy may provide coverage to remove the mold as part of the mitigation effort to restore your property. Any coverage would be subject to your deductible and any mold coverage limit applied by your property insurer.
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Homeowners Insurance For Mold
Mold remediation can be very costly and many homeowners find it difficult to afford, but since household mold can have serious negative effects on your health and on the health of your family members, it can be a necessary expense.
Read your homeowners insurance policy careful to make sure you understand what it will and will not cover. Contact your insurance agent if you have any questions. Some policies exclude coverage for mold remediation altogether. Others cover mold remediation only under specific circumstances, usually if the mold results from a sudden and accidental event that is covered. They often wont cover mold that results from neglected home maintenance. Some limit the amount they will pay for mold remediation, and the limit may be a lot lower than the average cost of mold remediation in your area. If your policy does not currently cover mold remediation, you may be able to purchase additional insurance for mold remediation if you wish to be covered.
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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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.
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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Has Your Mold Claim Been Denied
Mold claim denial is often coupled with some other type ofclaim denial, which is why you may seriously want to consider speaking with an publicadjuster or property damage lawyer.
Not every claim can be easily challenged, but if you believethe insurance company is mistaken in their decision, such as wrongly estimatingrepair costs or mischaracterizing the source of the damage, it may be worthyour time to fight their decision with professional assistance from an public claimsadjuster or property damage lawyer.
How Much Does It Cost To Remove Mold From A House
The average cost of mold removal is $2,347,1 but removing mold from an entire home can cost up to $30,000. This makes it even more crucial to spot mold early or prevent it altogether in order to avoid the high costs of remediation.
Getting rid of mold as soon as possible is extremely important in stopping its spread. Small mold remediation can cost an average of $4581 while larger scale remediation averages at about $6,333. If the infected area is more than 10 square feet, its best to hire a qualified mold inspector and get a quote. Such an inspector can charge $200 $6002 for a visit.
Mold removal costs depend on the area that it is being removed from:
- Crawl spaces only: $500 $4,000
- Ducts, crawl spaces, walls, attics: $2,000 $6,000
- Widespread structural damage: $10,000 $30,000+
The Environmental Protection Agency permits areas of mold that are less than 10 square feet to be cleaned by homeowners themselves with long gloves that go to the middle of your forearm, goggles and an N-95 respirator.
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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
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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