No matter how hard you try to get rid of mold, it still sprouts in places like your bedroom, bathroom, and basement. The reality is that the do-it-yourself approach to mold removal isn’t always effective. In most cases, you’ll have to hire a professional to fix the fungus issue. If you don’t, mold can eat away at your home, starting with floorboards, wallpapers, and drywalls. Eventually, the entire structure will need extensive repairs.
Fortunately, your homeowners insurance policy covers mold damage on a case-by-case basis. This means that you might not have to pay for professional mold removal, saving you as much as $2,500. Let’s take a look at what your insurance includes:
What are “covered perils”?
Your insurance company refers to a list of “covered perils” to determine if the damage is covered under your policy. Common covered perils include fire, burglary, lightning strikes, and windstorms. For instance, if a fire were to destroy your home, your homeowners insurance policy would be able to cover the costs to rebuild it.
Hence, to determine if your home insurance covers mold, you’d have to determine what caused it in the first place. Essentially, mold should be the “resulting damage” caused by a covered peril. In general, mold is covered when it is caused by water damage, resulting from accidents such as a burst pipe or ruptured water heater.
When does home insurance cover mold?
Before signing your insurance contract, don’t forget to check what kind of mold growth it covers. You’ll likely be able to file a claim if mold is caused by the following perils:
- Mold buildup after a fire
- Mold buildup from frozen, damaged, burst, or leaking pipes
- Mold buildup from the weight of snow and ice
- Mold buildup from water/steam discharge (e.g. air conditioning units and household appliances)
- Mold buildup from falling objects (e.g. branches)
Your insurance company might have a more extensive list of covered perils, hence, it’s important to thoroughly read your policy. If you’ve hired a property management company, your dedicated property manager can help you understand the kind of perils you’re protected from.
Does home insurance cover mold caused by acts of nature?
It depends. Your standard home insurance policy won’t cover mold that is a result of flooding. For that, you will need additional flood insurance especially if you live in a flood-prone area like Miami-Dade. This costs $700 a year on average. If you’ve purchased a flood insurance policy, you’ll be able to benefit from mold removal and repairs in case your property is damaged by severe storms.
However, if water enters your property after a hurricane tears off your roof, and mold grows as a result, you may be able to file a claim for damages. Again, you should always refer to your insurance policy’s list of covered perils.
Does home insurance cover mold resulting from negligence?
Negligence refers to the homeowner’s failure to stay on top of maintenance and repairs. This type of mold-related damage isn’t covered by insurance because the fault is on the homeowner. It assumes that the homeowner was in the position to prevent mold from growing in the first place. Essentially, if it weren’t for the homeowner’s lack of upkeep, there wouldn’t be any mold damage.
So, if you notice signs of mold growth, it’s important to address the issue immediately. Remember, the moment mold grows, it can be extremely difficult to get rid of. Here’s how you can tell if there is mold in your home:
- You feel like you’re always battling the flu
- You notice a musty or earthy smell in the air
- You struggling to breathe and/or have respiratory problems
- You notice mold spores
- You notice warping or peeling on the walls, ceiling, and floors
What’s the best way to prevent mold at home?
Even if your insurance policy covers mold damage, you should avoid filing a claim at the risk of raising your premium rates. If possible, practice mold prevention at home. Here’s what you can do:
- Invest in dehumidifiers and install them in areas that are damp, such as basements, bathrooms, and bedrooms
- Conduct a regular inspection of pipes and fittings
- Maintain proper ventilation throughout the home
- Clean your gutters especially before winter
- Inspect your roof, windows, and doors for gaps
- Check appliances such as air conditioners and water heaters for leaks
A property management firm can help you conduct regular maintenance to ensure that your home is free of mold and mildew.
How can I file a claim if I have mold in my home?
If the mold was a result of a covered peril (e.g. fire, hailstorm, hurricane), you may be eligible to file a claim. If you’re unsure, ask your insurance agent or property manager to confirm if the damage is covered under your policy. If it is, here is what you need to do:
- Document the damage with photos and videos. You’ll need these to support your claim.
- Prepare copies of your recent maintenance records (if any).
- Contact your insurance company so that they can begin assessing the damage.
- Follow the instructions given to you by your insurance agent to further proceed with the claim.
Can my insurance company deny my claim?
If your insurance company deems that the mold was not caused by a covered peril, they may deny your claim. In that case, you have the option to appeal their decision or hire a contractor for a second opinion.
Notice mold in your home? Don’t worry, you might not have to pay thousands of dollars out-of-pocket. As long as the mold resulted from your insurance company’s list of covered perils, you’ll be able to file a claim.
Still, it’s best to be proactive when it comes to property management. Consider conducting regular inspections to avoid mold growth in the first place. You may even hire a property management company like Luxury Property Care to stay on top of your home’s maintenance. Our property managers specialize in property preservation of luxury homes, estates, and vacation homes in South Florida.