Since mold growth is usually a gradual process, pinpointing the exact cause can also be a real challenge, especially if you need to file an insurance claim.
The best way to protect your home and family from mold is to utilize preventative strategies that can keep growth and spread to a minimum. It’s also helpful to speak with an insurance agent about the explicit boundaries of your homeowners policy.
To help you get started, let’s review when standard homeowners insurance does and does not cover mold remediation.
WHEN DOES HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE COVER MOLD REMOVAL?
Much like water damage, mold coverage is dependent on whether or not the growth is the result of a covered peril.
Homeowners with a named peril policy are only protected if the mold was caused by a specific hazard listed in their contract, such as a burst pipe or vandalism.
Keep in mind, the burden of proof is on the insured under a named peril policy, which can make it difficult to successfully file a mold claim.
Open peril policies offer comprehensive homeowners coverage for any hazard that is not specifically excluded in your contract, but even this can leave you vulnerable to mold damage. More often than not, mold growth is a gradual process rather than a sudden and accidental event.
Unless you’re able to prove the mold growing in your home was directly related to a covered hazard, you’ll likely have to pay out of pocket to remove the mold and repair damage.
Mold growth that results from a flood is also a tricky situation, as standard homeowners policies do not include any protections for this hazard.
To insure your home against flood-related damages, you’ll need to obtain a separate flood insurance policy through the National Flood Insurance Program.
Even if your insurance company does approve your mold claim, it may not cover the entire cost of removal, as nearly all standard and enhanced policies feature compensation limits.
The general rule of thumb is to exercise caution when it comes to your mold coverage, as this can help you anticipate out of pocket expenses for mold remediation.
WHEN DOES HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE EXCLUDE MOLD REMOVAL?
In most cases, mold damage is not covered by homeowners insurance, as it’s often considered a home maintenance issue, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
Any mold growth that results from long-term neglect or overdue repairs will likely be denied by your insurer, so it’s important to stay proactive.
For example, if you notice a minor leak in your roof but do not take immediate action to resolve it, you would be held accountable for any associated removal and remediation costs.
Some sources of mold damage not covered under a standard homeowners policy include:
- Slow leaks from pipes and plumbing fixtures
- Excessive moisture in basements, attics and crawl spaces
- Gradual seepage from groundwater
- Aging roofs, siding and window frames
Mold spreads quickly in warm and humid conditions, meaning your basement could be overrun in a matter of months, even weeks.
Not only can this weaken the overall structural integrity of your home, it can also lead to severe respiratory problems. What’s more, the cost of mold removal can be enormous depending on the extent and location of the growth.
Professional mold remediation ranges from $500 to $6,000 on average, but severe outbreaks can lead to tens of thousands in repairs, per the National Association of Realtors.
The surest way to prevent mold damage is to stay on top of your home’s upkeep and act quickly when new growth is discovered.
HOW TO PREVENT MOLD FROM GROWING IN YOUR HOME
Mold is typically a symptom of water-related damages, as the high levels of moisture creates the perfect incubator for additional growth.
This is why patching leaks and channeling rainwater away from your home is so important, as poor drainage can accelerate the spread of mold spores.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the following strategies can help you control moisture levels in your home and avoid mold from developing:
- Keep your home’s humidity level between 30% and 60%
- Clean your bathroom using bleach and other mold killing substances
- Add mold inhibitors to wall and ceiling paints before applying
- Regularly inspect your hoses, pipes and fittings
- Replace leaky home appliances
At National Advisors Group, we work alongside our policyholders to anticipate the common causes of mold damage and build a customized home insurance policy that provides maximum coverage at a competitive rate. To learn what we can do for you, browse our website or contact one of insurance experts today!