Mold Caused By Negligence
Home insurance companies usually deny claims when the investigation determines that negligence caused the damage. Negligence is not a named peril, and therefore mold damage caused by it would not be covered under your homeowners policy. For example, if your dishwasher is leaking and you do not tend to it right away, any resulting damage from the leak can be denied by your insurer, leaving you to pay out of pocket for the repairs.
Home Insurance And Mold: Is Mold Covered
Whether youre 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 home owners 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 home owners when the presence of persistent moisture goes undetected or unresolved, leading to widespread mold growth. Moisture can result from high indoor humidity, flooding, or a leaky roof or dishwasher.Whether mold damage is covered by home owners 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.
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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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.
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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 Long Does It Take To Get Rid Of Mold In A House
The time it takes to remove mold will depend on the extent of the mold outbreak. For normal household mold that grows around sinks and in bathrooms, you can remove it within a few minutes during your weekly house cleaning routine. But if you allow mold to spread, it could result in an outbreak that could require many hours or days of professional mold removal.
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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.
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Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Black Mold
Whether homeowners insurance covers black mold will depend on the source of the mold.
Did you notice in the middle of a bathroom renovation that your bathtub had been leaking and mold grew? Homeowners insurance wouldnt cover that because it would be considered negligent maintenance.
A standard homeowners insurance policy also likely wouldnt cover mold damage caused by a leaky pipe under a kitchen sink. Insurance companies expect you to perform regular home maintenance to avoid these kinds of problems. A homeowners insurance company could say that you neglected to remediate the problem, which caused mold to grow.
Let’s say, though, that there was a fire and the water used to douse the flames by firefighters caused an environment that caused mold to grow. In that case, your homeowners insurance policy would likely cover the mold damage. Home insurance companies will cover sudden and accidental damage, but don’t generally cover mold damage that could have been prevented.
Will My Home Insurance Policy Cover Mold Damage
- 4 min read
Will My Home Insurance Cover Mold Damage?If the damage was sudden and the mold occurred in the last couple of days by a covered peril, then you should be covered. An example would be you were out on vacation for 3 days, a pipe burst, and you return to find water damage and mold in your walls which you immediately report to your insurance carrier.If the mold occurred slowly, over weeks, or was caused by poor home upkeep and lack of maintenance , then it would not be covered. It is your responsibility as a homeowner to keep your home’s roof, HVAC, plumbing, and appliances up to date. Normal wear and tear is never covered.Read your policy or check with your insurance agent to know what is covered in your policy.Keep It CleanWhen mold has formed in your home as the result of a maintenance problem, rather than a one-time incident, your insurance claim is likely to be denied. For example, if the mold is a result of a pipe that has been leaking, even if you didnt know it was there, its very likely you wont be covered for the damage and will have to foot the bill for mold remediation yourself.Every state except for Alaska, Arkansas, New York, North Carolina, and Virginia allows insurers to exclude coverage for mold damage when it isnt related to a covered peril. Be sure to check your policy thoroughly for these exclusions. In cases where it is excluded, you can usually purchase an additional rider for your existing policy.
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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 Home Insurance Cover Mold Remediation
Mold remediation is also only covered if the mold was caused by a covered peril, such as a burst pipe exploding and causing mold to grow inside the walls of your home. While removal and remediation are similar, mold remediation coverage also applies to replacing any personal belongings that were damaged by the mold.
So lets say burst pipe created mold that was covered by your insurer. If that mold damaged the interior drywall and spread to the carpets and couch against the wall, your policys dwelling coverage would pay to repair the drywall and carpets, while your policys personal property coverage would pay to replace the couch.
Mold remediation can cost upwards of $30,000 or more, depending on the size and severity of an affected area within a home. Its important to always be on the lookout for any instances and scenarios that could cause mold to grow throughout your home.
If you smell a musty odor in certain areas of your home or notice water spots in the ceiling, walls or floors, its important to call a professional as soon as possible so they can inspect the damages. If you spot damage but do nothing about it for an extended period, your home insurance company has the right to deny a mold insurance claim that otherwise wouldve been covered.
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How To Treat Mold
If mold is visible on your homes hard surfaces, it can be cleaned with detergent, water, and intense drying. Make sure to wear gloves and protective goggles. For hidden mold or large infestations, call a professional for removal to make sure its not toxic.
Learn more about what home insurance policies typically cover.
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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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:
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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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.
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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Does Insurance Cover Mold From Water Damage
The most common scenarios of mold growth typically involve water damage in the home. If the water damage was caused by a covered peril, such as a burst pipe or a natural disaster allowing rain to pour inside your home, your homeowners insurance would likely cover the mold damage, removal and remediation.
However, if the mold was formed due to a flood or water entering the foundation of your home, your homeowners insurance wouldnt cover any mold damage, removal or remediation. Homeowners insurance doesnt cover flooding, so youd need to purchase a separate flood insurance policy to get coverage.
When You Are Covered For Mold Damage, Removal and Remediation
If your insurance company deems the mold was caused by one of these covered perils, it will pay up to the policys mold insurance claims maximum to repair any damage the mold caused and to remove said mold from your home.
When Youre Not Covered For Mold Damage, Removal and Remediation
Making An Insurance Claim
In general, your insurer must begin an investigation within fifteen days after you file a written claim. The company may ask you for more information, and has another fifteen days after you send the information before it must accept or reject the claim. If the company agrees to pay the claim, it must do so within five days. If the company rejects the claim, it must give you the reasons in writing.
It is common for an insurance settlement check to be made out to both the homeowner and the mortgage company. Some mortgage companies will endorse the check to the homeowner, leaving the homeowner to arrange for remediation. Otherwise the lender usually uses the insurance checks to pay the contractor, with an inspector monitoring the work and releasing payments. Consult with your mortgage company about how involved it will become with the remediation work. If the company oversees the work, you should still understand who is responsible for ensuring the job is done properly, and the extent of your liability. Remain active in this process.
Remediation is more than just repairing damage caused by mold. It involves the process of evaluating the situation before repair work begins. It also involves removing and cleaning items contaminated with mold, treating potentially affected areas, and ensuring that mold does not reoccur.
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