There have been a couple of hot topics in the home insurance industry over the past couple of years. One of the important ones revolves around Mold. Around the 90s and 2000s, the insurance industry took a new approach to constraint mold coverage over a handful of new policies.
These policies also altered the course of verifying water damage claims for home insurance. Since then, home insurance companies were allowed to exclude mold from coverage. Generally speaking, whether your homeowners’ insurance covers mold damage or not, depends on the primary cause of the problem.
Here we’ll cover the main issues around the question and see in what situation your home insurance covers mold. Let’s dive in:
When Does Home Insurance Cover Mold?
According to the home insurance regulations, a standard insurance policy covers mold claims when mold growth has been caused as a result of a problem covered by the policy. More specifically, mold claims will be covered when the problem is caused by a sudden or accidental natural disaster, or the mold has been hidden within walls or ceilings, or beneath floors.
Some of the examples where mold damage is covered by the insurance include:
- When pipes connected to the sink or water heater leak
- When appliances like washers and dryers malfunction
- When the toilet overflows due to a clogged drain, blocked vent pipe, or higher float
- When mold growth happens in a place where firefighters have put out a fire
Damages caused by natural disasters are also covered differently under different insurance policies. For example, if ceilings and walls are damaged during a storm and heavy rain, this is often covered as an act of nature. However, damage caused by a flood is usually not included in mold insurance.
Insurance companies are only required to pay a specific amount for mold removal – anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 per occurrence. However, you can increase coverage and get more protection with a policy rider. It is an optional coverage or a feature you can add to your insurance policy for an additional cost.
So, if you live in an area with high humidity and increased mold growth, consider a thorough routine maintenance protocol to protect yourself from mold. Still, you need insurance to protect your property in case mold grows unnoticed or causes major damage to your house.
Mold-included Home Insurance Policies
As mentioned, mold coverage is not necessarily part of your home insurance. But there are certain home insurance policies, like those for high-value homes that will automatically cover mold remediation.
The mold remediation plans usually include examining air quality and humidity inside the house, as well as checking ceilings, flooring, walls, and all surfaces prone to mold growth. Once the inspection is done, the insurance company will implement its plan, providing coverage for mold remediation expenses, including removing, containing, and disposing of the mold.
Mold Insurance Riders
Mold insurance riders or optional features are also great choices to protect your property against mold damage. Riders or endorsement clauses will remove the policy plan’s exclusion of mold damage. But as you can guess, optional coverage is not offered by all insurance companies and in all states.
When Doesn’t Home Insurance Cover Mold?
Despite the tremendous benefits of homeowner’s insurance policies, they often do not cover mold damage. More specifically, coverage does not apply to a standard homeowners policy if the mold was caused by neglect or lack of regular maintenance, including
- Water backup caused by broken pipes, clogged sewer lines, clogged gutters, or failed pumps.
- Neglecting leaks or broken seals in and around plumbing, fixtures, appliances, windows, and doors
- Lack of proper ventilation system in places prone to mold growth such as a moist room, basement, or bathroom
- Poorly sealed doors or windows.
Remember that homeowners’ policies do not typically include flooding as well which will require separate insurance. But even with separate flood insurance, your insurance company may not cover mold damage.
What Are The Signs Of Mold Growth?
As the old saying goes, “prevention is better than cure.” So, it’s always helpful to identify areas in your house where there is high moisture and a high chance of mold growth and come up with a timely solution. Here are a few signs that will show you may have mold problems in near future:
If you ever spotted fluffy and slimy-touching substances on the fibers of your clothes, on tile or grout, behind refrigerators, and in humid places like a basement, you should know that mold is hiding somewhere.
Dirty carpets or rugs with stains are also common breeding grounds for mold. Regularly inspect places in your home that are prone to moisture, such as the water heater, toilet, kitchen sink, and the area around the shower or bathtub.
A damp and musty smell is another telltale sign of mold. The smell is technically caused by mold volatile organic compounds (MVOCs), proving there is mold growth that may be hidden behind a wall, ceiling, beneath tiles, within a crawlspace, inside air ducts, or on ceiling tiles.
Exposure to large numbers of mold spores can cause various health problems, especially in allergic, asthmatic, and immunocompromised individuals. The most common problems caused by mold include watery eyes, runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, itching, coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, headache, skin rash, and fatigue.
All molds can produce toxins, but they often are not deadly. That said, long exposure to mold can put children and people with compromised immune systems at risk of upper and lower respiratory symptoms, chronic sinusitis, and persistent headaches and migraines.
How Do You Prevent Mold Growth?
Here are a few tips that will save you a lot of trouble:
- Avoid letting humidity levels go above 50% by using a dehumidifier or air conditioner. Remember that humidity levels change during the course of a day; so make sure to check the humidity levels more than once a day.
- Make sure the air in your home flows freely, especially in the kitchen and bathroom.
- Avoid prolonged standing water or moisture.
- Inspect your roof, flooring, plumbing, walls, and windows regularly for potential leaks or openings.
- Clean up and dry out your home fully and quickly after a flood, approximately 1 to 2 days after the event.
- If your carpets, rugs, and upholstery have been soaked, dry them immediately. If you can’t, remove or replace them.
- Replace the hoses to your dishwasher, washing machine, refrigerator, and other large appliances every couple of years.
Hopefully, this article has provided you with some practical tips and insights into managing your mold problem. Keep in mind that removing mold costs between $2,500 to $12,500 per occurrence. So, it’s better to think of a plan to save you from trouble later on.
At The Kind Insurance, our goal is to help give you peace of mind and protect the things that matter most to you, whether that’s your family, home, business, car, or else. We offer a wide range of personal and business insurances to guarantee your safety and comfort. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our affordable home insurance.