Water damage is a common risk many homeowners face. The source of water damage can be anything from burst pipes and broken dishwashers to hurricanes and floods. When water damage in the home is not addressed quickly, it can lead to mold growth—a costly problem that can be hard to fix.
Mold tends to grow in places with moisture. When a patch of mold takes hold in a house, it can cause serious health issues. If left untreated, mold can cause respiratory illness, and people with asthma or other underlying health conditions are at a higher risk for mold-related illnesses.
Mold growth is usually a gradual process, and it can be difficult to figure out where it came from and how it happened, but the origin of the mold will largely determine if the home insurance policy will cover it or not.
Does homeowners insurance cover mold damage?
Mold can be damaging to houses, and fixing the problem is no easy matter.
There is only a narrow set of circumstances where the homeowners insurance will pick up the tab for mold. The mold must be caused by a covered sudden and accidental loss.
Even if an insurer agrees to cover mold damage, it will only do so to the coverage limit stated in the policy. In Florida its typically set at $10,000.00 although we are seeing more and more insurance carriers reducing this coverage to $2,500-$5,000.
Here are a few common examples of mold damage that could be covered by a home insurance policy:
- Water heater burst: When a water heater bursts, it can send water across the home to hard-to-reach places. Even diligent homeowners can miss cleaning up the water in spots, and mold can form.
- Washing machine hose burst: If a washing machine bursts a hose or even begins to leak and mold forms, it might be covered.
- Home fire aftermath: When a home fire requires a visit from the fire department and water hoses are used to put it out, mold could form later. If fire is covered in the home policy, the subsequent mold could be covered too.
- Dishwasher malfunction: When dishwashers malfunction, they can flood the kitchen and other rooms. If mold spreads due to the dishwasher and home appliance emergencies are covered in the policy, the insurer may pick up the tab for the mold.
- Hurricane or heavy rain: Although floods are almost always excluded from home insurance, some policies provide coverage for other natural disasters like hurricanes or heavy wind and rain. These policies may also cover further damage to the home resulting from the covered natural disaster.
When doesn’t homeowners insurance cover mold damage?
- Neglect: A common source of mold can be from lack of maintenance. If the homeowner fails to keep up with adequate repairs around the house and mold results from the lack of repairs, homeowners insurance will not cover the damage.
- Flooding: Flooding is a peril that is commonly excluded from home insurance policies, so mold damage caused by flooding will also be excluded.
- Other causes: Unfortunately, mold is a naturally occurring phenomenon, especially here in Florida. If the mold forms in the home naturally, then it’s the homeowner’s responsibility to take care of the issue. Anything that causes mold besides a peril that’s included in a home insurance policy will not be covered.
How to avoid having your mold damage claim denied
Know the cause of loss. Your insurance carrier is only going to cover you for mold if it is a direct result of a covered loss. If you call up your insurance carrier and just tell them you have mold 9 times out of 10 it will be denied.
A Public Adjuster that specializes in Mold can help determine what the actual cause of loss is and where the leak is coming from. Getting the claim filed correctly from the onset could mean the difference between getting your mold damage covered or not.
- Some instances that cause mold like natural disasters, appliance malfunctions, or water leaks may be covered.
- If mold damage is covered in a policy, there will likely be a strict coverage limit.
Mold is a costly issue for homeowners, and it’s one that is only covered by home insurance in specific instances. If mold damage is covered under the policy, it’s because the mold came from a peril that’s covered by the insurance.
If you think you may have mold in your home it is of the upmost importance to take care of it right away. A Public Adjuster can help with all of your insurance claim questions.