Having insurance is supposed to give you peace of mind when the worst happens. Whether it’s health, auto, or home insurance, we pay those monthly dues in full confidence that when something unexpected occurs, we’ll be able to handle it financially.
But there are tons of insurance loopholes and exceptions that aren’t covered by insurance. When it comes to homeowner’s insurance, you need to understand what’s in your policy so you can be prepared for uncovered expenses such as mold remediation or water damage.
Unfortunately, mold is a common home problem that is only sometimes covered by insurance.
Is Mold Remediation Covered By My Insurance Policy?
Your policy will be very clear about this. You will usually see some coverage for mold removal, but not complete blanket coverage. Let’s look at instances when mold remediation is covered by homeowners insurance and when it is not.
In general, whether or not mold damage repairs are covered by insurance depends on what caused the mold. If it is there due to an accident or something out of your control, you are not considered liable and insurance usually will cover mold removal services up to a certain amount. If the mold is the result of liability on your part, insurance is less likely to pay.
Let’s take a moment to separate out a completely different insurance issue. Mold damages often occur as a result of water leaks. Flooding and roof leaks are covered by a different part of your insurance policy. These clauses and coverages do not extend to mold damages that occur as a result of the water leaks.
If you want extra coverage for flood and water damage, you will probably have to purchase a supplemental policy to accompany your regular homeowners insurance.
Now that we understand that, we can move on to the important question: When does home insurance cover mold removal and remediation?
There are a few instances where mold repairs normally are covered. They will probably be called “covered perils” or “resulting damage” in your insurance policy. These are events that you cannot predict nor prevent.
These include problems caused by:
- Malfunctioning appliances – Water damages caused by the refrigerator, washing machine and dishwasher are usually covered. You may also have coverage for the appliances themselves.
- Hot water heaters – A hot water heater can “bust” without warning and flood an entire level of your home. Resulting mold growth would be covered, but not necessarily the cost of a new hot water heater.
- Fire hoses – If firefighters have to use their equipment on your home or a nearby structure, any resulting damage and subsequent mold growth is usually covered as well.
Although you do have resulting damage coverage in any one of these instances, remember that most insurances have a cap on the amount they will pay for repairs, including mold remediation. This may be anywhere from $1000 to $5000 to $25,000, depending on your policy.
Acts of Nature
Acts of nature include flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, sleet, snow, and several other weather events. Mold that is a result of an act of nature is usually covered by insurance.
As we stated earlier, acts of nature are no liability of the homeowner. By definition, this is the reason we have insurance.
Depending on where you live, flood insurance may be a good idea. It will cost extra, but it will cover far more than what normal homeowner’s insurance will. Supplemental flood insurance will also cover mold that results from the excess water.
Most other acts of nature are covered under homeowners insurances, including mold removal that may be necessary as a result of the damages.
Finally, you have to realize that not all home problems are the insurance company’s responsibility to pay for.
Negligence that results in mold growth within your home is generally not covered by insurance. Negligence is defined as ignoring needed repairs or postponing home maintenance services for so long that other problems (like mold) occur.
Examples of negligence include the following:
- Roof leaks
- Leaking pipes
- Appliance leaks
In any of these cases, if there is evidence that you were aware of the leak and did nothing to rectify the problem, your insurance probably won’t cover mold damages incurred because of the leak.
Surprisingly, running a humidifier can be considered negligent as well. Since the main purpose of a humidifier is to add humidity into the air of your home, your insurance doesn’t always cover mold remediation for homeowners who use humidifiers.
Building Versus Buying a Home
You don’t expect mold in a new build, but probably wouldn’t be surprised to find it in an older home.
However, new homes have their own set of problems when it comes to mold. Many of them are built completely airtight – which sounds great – but it actually prevents the home from naturally expelling excess humidity.
High humidity within the home almost always leads to a mold problem, regardless of how it got there.
Mold is just as common in newer homes as it is in older ones, so you need to maintain vigilance about excess moisture in your home to avoid this problem.
How to Make Sure your Mold Claim is Covered
So if you’re a little worried now about whether or not your home will be covered in the case of mold, take comfort in knowing that there are several things you can do to ensure that you stay within the exceptions of your homeowners insurance.
If you ever need mold remediation services, they will almost always be covered by insurance as long as you follow these simple tips:
- Use dehumidifiers in damp areas
- Check for pipe and leaks regularly. Insulate pipes so they are not prone to busting during the winter.
- Ventilate your home using exhaust fans and by opening windows when weather permits
- Clean gutters regularly to prevent roof leaks and check your roof for damages at least once a year.
- Inspect behind and underneath indoor appliances periodically to check for signs of leaks.