Mold, especially black mold, strikes fear in the hearts of those who discover it. Mold is unsightly and can cause damage to your home, and can cause significant health complications as well. Mold remediation is important as soon after discovery as possible in order to prevent further damage or illness, but the cause of the mold will determine whether or not it is covered by your homeowners insurance policy.
Mold and Covered Causes of Loss
Most homeowners insurance policies will cover damage caused by mold if the mold is the result of a covered cause of loss and is not specifically excluded from the policy. Examples of covered cause of loss is a storm that punctures a hole in your roof and results in water damage or a burst pipe. Some policies specifically exclude things like sump pump failure or sewer backup, while others might include the coverage but specifically exclude mold damage.
Some insurance companies offer mold remediation coverage but will only do so if your home meets certain criteria. For example, most companies will not extend mold abatement to homes that have had prior flood damage.
Mold and Maintenance Issues
The majority of insurance companies will not pay for mold damage if the problem is the result of your own negligence, a maintenance issue, or normal “wear and tear” on the property. Examples include condensation issues or landscape drainage problems. Because most homeowners policies do not cover floods, mold that develops as a result of a flood is not likely to be covered either.
It is important to talk to your insurance professional to find out exactly what your homeowners policy covers in terms of mold abatement, and what changes or additions might be beneficial to your situation. While some carriers will exclude it completely, you may be able to purchase an endorsement to buy the coverage back. Some companies will include mold abatement but will assign a separate limit of coverage and deductible.
No matter what type of coverage your homeowners insurance policy extends, swift action upon the discovery of mold is critical to preventing additional damage to your home and to keeping your family safe and healthy. Call your agent to clarify exactly what your own policy covers and consider making changes, or shopping around, if you and your agent decide that you don’t have the type of coverage you need.