Does Your Homeowners Insurance Cover Your Home For Mold
Mold is a prevalent, and potentially dangerous, threat to homeowners and their families. Its found in many homes, and can grow in both older homes and newer homes . If you have a home and are concerned about potential mold in your house, you may want to add a mold endorsement to your homeowners insurance.
What Are The Homeowners Insurance Coverage Options
As said earlier, homeowners insurance has a limit to its coverage.
Hence, it offers coverage based on two policies: the named peril homeowners insurance and the all-risk peril homeowners insurance.
The named peril is a homeowner insurance policy that covers damages listed specifically in the contract.
This policy offers coverage for only damages that could result in a total loss. The named peril policy could be broad or basic.
The basic named peril covers a limited amount of perils, while the broad named peril covers a wider range of occurrences.
All damages covered under this policy are fire, falling objects, lightning, hailstorm, explosion, smoke, burglary, vandalism, aircraft collision, vehicle collision and riot, accidental water damage, ice, or snow weight damage.
This policy does not cover every other damage excluded from this list
Then there is the special all-risk policy that offers coverage for all kinds of perils except those damages that are specifically excluded from the policy.
In the all-risk policy, the ordinance of law, earthquake, flood, power failure, nuclear hazards, war, neglect, and intentional acts are typically not covered.
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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Insurance Coverage On Mold From Water Damage Gets Complicated
As you can see, things can get quite complicated. Thats why some homeowners choose to hire a public adjuster to deal with a mold problem especially if the mold problem is particularly large, costly, or complicated.
Below, are some of the common scenarios where homeowners encountered mold, including scenarios where you can expect your home insurance to cover the cost of mold remediation and scenarios where they will likely deny coverage.
Situations Where Insurance Will Likely Cover Mold Damage:
Here are situations where you can expect a standard home insurance policy to cover mold damage repairs and remediation:
In all of these situations, you can expect a homeowners insurance policy to cover your mold damage problem.
Situations Where Insurance is Unlikely to Cover Mold Damage:
In certain situations, homeowners insurance will not cover your mold problem regardless of its severity. Some of the situations where a home insurance policy will not cover a mold problem include:
In all of these situations, your insurance company might refuse to cover the cost of repairing your mold problem.
Why? Well, a home insurance policy goes two ways. Your insurance company agrees to cover certain damages to your home, and their obligation to cover those damages is also contingent upon certain duties to properly maintain your property, prevent further damage, and keep your house in good repair.
Check Your Insurance Policy Coverage In Detail
How Much Does It Cost To Get Rid Of Mold In Your Home
Mold is a costly and dangerous issue, both because of the difficulty to remove as well as the health hazards it poses to your homes structure and your families health. While overall costs are dependent on the size of the mold growth as well as the type of mold, you can expect to pay an average of $2,222 for mold remediation.
According to the CDC, mold can not only cause an allergic reaction, but it can also exacerbate asthma or other breathing difficulties. It can also cause rashes. Long-term exposure to any type of mold can lead to cancers and other chronic conditions such as heart disorders, lung scarring and liver disease. And while all mold poses some amount of danger to your familys health, some types are more dangerous than others.
Mold removal costs an average of $2,222, depending on the type of mold and the size of the growth . However, pulling up and replacing structural elements like walls, showers and tile damaged by mold can greatly increase your overall cost.
The most common types of mold youll find in your home are aspergillus, cladosporium and black mold. Though black mold is known to be the most dangerous, all types are harmful to humans and should be removed immediately. Because there are so many different types of mold, growth can appear on a variety of surfaces and grow in various climates, so its important to check your home thoroughly and regularly for any signs of growth.
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Home Insurance Will Only Cover Mold If It Was Caused By A Covered Peril
Mold damage is quite often a result of preceding water damage. By default, a homeowners insurance policy will not cover mold damage.
However, home insurance policies will cover mold damage if it was caused by what is called a covered peril. A covered peril is an incident that caused the loss or damage that your insurance policy provides coverage for. There are many typical perils you would normally expect to be covered under your home insurance. Examples of commonly covered perils on a typical home insurance policy are:
- The weight of ice, snow, or sleet on your home
- Water damage from frozen pipes and breakage of pipes
- Water damage from sudden accidental leaks or overflows of water from plumbing, heating, air conditioners, sprinkler systems, or household appliances
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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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?
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What Is Mold Insurance Or Mold Liability Coverage
Mold insurance is the coverage for damage due to mold, which is included in an insurance policy. Environmental insurance, General Liability, and Property policies sometimes include coverage of mold. If these policies do not include mold insurance coverage, then, an insurance coverage could be made available by purchasing an endorsement to the forms.
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How To File Mold Insurance Claims
You can file a mold claim the same way you file a regular homeowners insurance claim, with a few slight adjustments. To improve your chances of a successful claim, you need to take every step possible to prevent mold from forming. That way, the claims adjuster can see that youve acted responsibly to mitigate the damage, even if unavoidable mold begins to form. Before filing a claim:
- Dry all affected areas as quickly and thoroughly as possible
- Stop leaking pipes by shutting off the water to your house
- Remove soaked items such as carpeting, furniture, insulation and mattresses
- Open doors and windows and use fans to promote faster drying
- Clean all affected areas with detergent to prevent bacteria spread
- Cover damaged areas such as a hole in the roof or a broken window
- Take photos of all damage, including closeups and wide shots
- Contact your insurance agent to file a claim
If your policy doesnt exclude mold damage for covered losses, its best to separate the mold repair expenses from other repair costs. For example, if storm damage soaks the drywall in your bedroom and mold forms, the contractor likely will charge you a mold remediation fee. List the mold remediation fee separately from the drywall removal costs. By separating the expenses, you can minimize the risk of a claim denial if the insurer doesnt want to pay for mold remediation.
When Will Homeowners Insurance Not Cover Black Mold Damages
As stated earlier, there are exceptions or limits to black mold coverage by home insurance companies. What can make your home insurance company refuse to cover your black mold damage claims? Lets take a look at some.
Homeowners insurance does not cover black mold damage caused by aging of the property, pipe, hose, and other building elements.
Pipes, hoses, roofs, etc. all suffer wear and tear, and when this depreciation happens, they are bound to develop faults here and there.
It is expected that homeowners carry out regular house checks and change old pipes, hoses, and roofs that could normally cause leakage.
When this is not done, and the leak causes black mold to form, your insurance is less likely to cover the black mold damage that occurs.
Also, typical homeowner insurance does not cover black mold damages caused by a leak that the homeowner neglected and did not repair right up until the black mold started to form.
This is another case of neglect on the homeowners part, and the insurance company will not be liable.
It is one thing to repair a broken hose, pipes, or a leaking roof, and it is another thing to ensure that the repairs are done well.
In a situation where a repair was made to a leaking roof, pipe, or hose, but the repairs were not done well and did not stop the leaks, thereby causing black mold to appear, the black mold damage is as a result of inadequate maintenance. Your home insurance company cannot cover it.
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Mold Coverage: The Finer Details
Claiming mold damage on your insurance policy means doing your homework in at least 3 ways, which are detailed here.
Not only do you want to know how much damage repair your policy will cover , youll want to check with your homeowners insurance company if youll be responsible to pay two deductibles one for regular damage and one for mold repair if that is their mold policy.
Finally, you also need to have separate flood insurance if you dont want to pay for mold remediation because a flood damaged your home.
1. Know how much coverage you have and if you can increase it. You should check your policy for the mold removal and remediation cap, or the amount of money that your insurance company is willing to pay for mold remediation. Because mold treatment can garner a hefty tab, insurance companies reduce their risk by building a cap into the policy. For example, policies will list a maximum limit of $1,000 to $10,000 per claim for mold removal.
Ask your insurer about endorsements to improve your mold coverage. They cost more, but theyre worth it if youre in a humidity-prone environment.
Also, if you file a claim for mold coverage and it is denied, get a contractor to inspect your mold infestation and offer a second opinion to assist with your appeal of the denial. Contact your state insurance commissioner for help with filing a complaint about denial.
When Is Mold Not Covered By Homeowners Insurance
Mold caused by neglect or a lack of regular upkeep isn’t typically covered by home insurance policies. This includes mold damage from:
Improperly sealed doors or windows.
An unaddressed leaky faucet.
Poor ventilation in a moist room, like a bathroom.
Below are a few other common causes of mold damage that typically aren’t covered by a standard home insurance policy.
Sump pump failure and water backup damage. Damage caused by water backup and a sump pump failure can be costly and usually isn’t covered by standard home insurance policies.
Many insurers will allow you to add sump pump failure and water backup coverage to your policy. Without this type of coverage, mold damage in those situations is unlikely to be covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy.
Flood damage. Flooding generally isn’t a named peril under standard homeowners insurance policies. Therefore, you must purchase additional flood insurance to be covered for flood damage.
However, even if you have flood insurance, it’s possible your policy may not cover mold damage. For instance, if you purchase your insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program, or NFIP, mold damage may only be covered if you cannot access your home after flooding for specific reasons.
It’s important to note that mold damage coverage varies by the flood insurance policy. If you are unsure about what your policy covers, be sure to talk to your insurer.
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What To Do If Your Claim Is Denied
The first thing you should do is consider whether the insurance company may have made a mistake in denying your claim. You always have the ability to file an appeal, either directly to the insurance carrier or the states department of banking and insurance, if you feel its a legitimate loss thats been denied, said Hickey.
If you dont have mold coverage or your appeal is denied youll want to hire a professional to remediate the mold before it gets worse. If you have difficulty financing mold removal that wasnt covered by insurance, consider a home equity loan or home equity line of credit . Some mold remediators also work with lenders to offer financing directly. And your family could qualify for state or federal loans or grants. For example, the Section 504 Home Repair program provides loans and grants to qualified low-income families.
Finally, you should make sure that mold damage doesnt become an issue in the future. That means making sure that you have the right coverage in place and taking proactive steps to prevent mold. It comes down to being aware of moisture, says Hoffman. Cleaning up spills right away, using exhaust fans, and maintaining your appliances and air conditioning system can all help you avoid common causes of mold.
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.
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