Mold is all too common and is often found after water damages your home, but it’s not always covered by homeowner’s insurance. Not only can mold be destructive and an eyesore, but it can also be hazardous to your family’s health and expensive to remedy, with an infestation potentially costing upwards of $30,000 to remove.
The good news is that your home insurance might help cover removal of the mold, depending on what caused the mold in the first place.
When Mold Is And Isn’t Covered
Mold is covered by your homeowners’ insurance if it is the result of water damage related to what the insurance industry terms “a common peril.” Such perils include burst pipes and an overflow from a malfunctioning AC system. If the water from such a mishap seeps into spots in your home in which mold subsequently grows, your homeowner’s insurance should cover some, if not all, of the cost of removing the growth, since the mold will be considered an extension of “water damage.”
However, you may not have the same luck should the homeowners insurance company be able to link the mold to a lack of maintenance or neglect on your part. So if, say, you’ve allowed a pipe under a sink to leak for months or years, the resulting mold will be your responsibility to remedy, since it will be deemed as resulting from your own negligence. Ditto for mold that’s grown in an environment, like a bathroom or basement, that’s so humid that a dehumidifier or some other way to remove the moisture would have been necessary.
The obviousness of a moisture problem is, of course, open to debate, and debate you may with the insurance company’s adjuster, whose job it is to evaluate the claim and determine if to cover it, and to what extent.
A final note about mold that flourishes after a flood. It may be covered, but likely only if you have purchased flood insurance. Regular homeowners’ insurance typically does not cover any damage from water that, as with a flood, contacted the ground before it entered your home.
Preventive Measures Against Mold
You can proactively prevent the growth of mold by keeping areas dry and cleaning spills and leaks as soon as you find them. While this may be more difficult for homeowners in Florida or Louisiana, more naturally humid states, we recommend using vents and fans to reduce moisture and humidity in areas and appliances prone to such. Stay on top of repairs and maintenance around your home, specifically in basements, crawl spaces, and bathrooms where moisture and humidity can wreak havoc and create ideal conditions for mold to grow. Bleaching an area after a spill or leak can help fight against a potential mold infestation.
If you do suffer leakage, the damage from which (including any subsequent mold) is covered under your insurance, take pictures. Images could be very useful should mold develop in the area in future, since they can support your claim that the mold grew as a result of water damage and not from neglect.
Be sure to keep the pictures of the water damage and all documents associated with the damage and your claim in the event mold grows in the future. Your insurance company will be hesitant to agree that any potential mold is the result of prior water damage, but having pictures and records will serve as valuable proof of your claim.
However, there’s one caveat here. If the mold is deemed to have come from water damage, some insurers may make you file a second claim of water damage instead, requiring you to pay another deductible before remediation takes place.
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.