Written by Andy Gurczak

August 1, 2021

Mold Damage: Does Insurance Cover It?

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold Damage?

Home insurance covers mold damage when it is caused by an already covered peril. Otherwise, generally homeowners insurance does not cover mold damage. However, there are certain exceptions for coverage.

For example, home insurance policies usually don’t cover mold that resulted from flooding, high humidity, lack of maintenance or preventable water leaks. Rather, insurers expect homeowners to take care of those problems before they need to file an insurance claim. On the other hand, home insurance covers mold if a “covered peril” caused the damage. For instance, some of these covered perils usually include: fire, lightning, vandalism, theft, falling objects, ice, plumbing and home appliances failure, as well as frozen pipes, etc.

For this reason, you should check your homeowners insurance policy to see if there is any language about mold claims. In fact, some policies offer limited coverage for mold claims, meanwhile other insurers offer mold-related coverage as an add-on.

Mold Damage Dealing with Mold

More examples of when mold damage is covered by home insurance

  • For instance, your water heater ruptures, releasing water that causes black mold to grow on the surrounding walls.
  • Or you experience a home fire, and mold develops after firefighters use water to extinguish the flames.
  • Another case could be that your dishwasher malfunctions and floods your kitchen, resulting in mold growing along the base of your cabinetry.

Examples of when mold damage isn’t covered

  • For example, your bathtub has leaked for years, resulting in a mold infestation.
  • Or you live in a humid climate and failed to use a dehumidifier in your basement, and black mold grew as a result.
  • Also a storm causes flooding, and consequently mold grows in your home.

How Much Will Insurance Cover for Mold Damage?

Mold damage remediation can cost between $15,000 and $30,000, so insurance companies have enacted several measures to reduce payouts. For example, one of them is simply reducing the limit for mold damage reimbursement, even if it is caused by a covered peril. Usually, insurance policies will state a maximum limit of between $1,000 and $10,000.

What If a Home Had Mold Damage Problems Before?

Insurance companies hate risk and they definitely despise having to pay claims. Risky homes, such as old homes and risky areas, including high-crime neighborhoods or homes near woods that often catch fire, usually have more claims. Likewise, a home with mold or ones with previous mold-related claims. Insurance companies view those homes as risky.

In that case, your insurance company will likely decline a mold endorsement or charge you a lot for that coverage.

Steps for Filing a Mold Damage Insurance Claim:

  • First things first, stop any leaks by shutting off the water to your home or tarping up any holes through which water is entering the property
  • Second, remove any standing water with a mop or wet vacuum. If there’s a lot of damage or clean up, call a company specializing in removing water and cleaning up. Depending on the circumstances, insurance companies reimburse this and other types of damage mitigation.
  • Then, remove rugs, insulation and any other materials that can collect water and consequently become breeding grounds for mold.
  • After, open windows and doors and use fans to dry out the area. Professional water remediation companies bring in industrial fans better made out for the job.
  • Use non-ammonia detergent and water to wash the area thoroughly. Disinfect with water and bleach. However, be aware to not mix bleach with ammonia or other household cleaners.
  • Call your insurance company with detailed information about damages, what happened and what prevention and clean-up you’ve done. Furthermore, document damaged property, how much you paid for them and when you bought them. Take photos and videos of everything. Don’t throw the materials away until you call your insurance company

How to Avoid Having a Mold Damage Claim Denied

As mentioned above, properly document the damage with photos and/or video.
Then, provide up-to-date maintenance records and receipts if if you have them
Equally important is that you follow any and all instructions the insurance company gives you to process the claim
Finally, contract approved mold removal companies to clean up the damage

What to Do if Your Mold Damage Claim Is Denied

If your homeowners insurance company denies your mold claim, you may want to get a licensed contractor to offer a second opinion on what caused the damage. You could also attempt to appeal the denial with your insurance company if it has a specified appeals process. If not, your state insurance commissioner may be able to offer help on what you can do to get the claim approved or to file a complaint about denial.

Preventing Mold Damage

How to Prevent Mold Damage

Mold forms and spreads quickly. For this reason, it’s extremely important to prevent mold by reducing moisture. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests the following ways to control mold growth:

  • Fix leaky roofs, windows and pipes as soon as possible
  • Thoroughly clean, remove water and properly dry up your home after flooding or any type of water damage.
  • As well as control humidity levels. In fact, keep them between 30% and 60% with air conditioners and/or dehumidifiers.
  • Also consider installing exhaust fans in kitchens and bathrooms.
  • With this in mind, don’t install carpets in damp areas such as basements or bathrooms.
  • It is equally important to ventilate shower, laundry and cooking areas.
  • Don’t allow water to accumulate under house plants.
  • And not to mention, keep gutters clean.
  • Frequently check crawl spaces, laundry rooms, and cabinetry beneath sinks for mold dampness.
  • As well as inspect and replace damaged hoses to appliances like dishwashers and refrigerators.
  • Furthermore, properly insulate interior and exterior pipes in winter to avoid breakages or leaks.
  • Last but certainly not least, regularly inspect your roof, around windows and doors, and caulk cracks that could allow water to leak in.

Mold needs moisture and a “food source” to grow. Food sources include insulation, drywall, carpeting and mattresses. As a result, you can commonly find it, on and around these materials.

How Do You Know Whether There’s Mold Damage in Your Home?

First, smelling mold is a strong indicator you have mold damage

Mold has a strong and distinct musty scent. The smell will be strongest in rooms where the mold is growing. However, if the smell becomes apparent when you turn on your home AC or heating unit, then the mold is likely in that system. Furthermore, if you smell the mold but can’t see it, it may be under carpet, behind an appliance or wall.

Second, seeing mold damage

Of course, it seems pretty reasonable to identify mold when you see it. But don’t be fooled. Mold is not always obvious, and can often hide in plain sight. For example, mold can grow in between the grout of your bathroom tiles without you even noticing. With this in mind, mold often has a velvety or furry texture. And mold colonies frequently display uniform patterns.

As well as getting sick from mold

Another way to detect mold is to consider whether you or your family have been experiencing the physical symptoms of mold exposure. For example, asthma, itchy skin, sore eyes, runny noses, sneezing, coughing, etc. Of course, these are symptoms of a number of illnesses. However, you can determine if it’s due to mold, if the symptoms worsen whenever you spend more time at home.

Mold Damage Cleanup

Mold Damage Cleanup

If your mold problem is a very simple one, there are a few tips and tricks out there to fix it yourself. This might be an okay solution for some instances, but a very bad idea in others. For this reason, who should do the cleanup depends on a number of factors.

For example, if the water damage, and/or mold growth covers more than 10 square feet, get a professional. If you choose to hire a professional to do the cleanup, make sure they have plenty of experience. Remember, verify online reviews from other people who have worked with your professional.

If you suspect that the HVAC system may be contaminated with mold do not run it. Indeed, it could spread mold throughout the building. And most importantly, call an expert!

Furthermore, if the mold damage was caused by sewage or other contaminated water, get professional help.

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