Finding mold in your home can be an upsetting experience, and not being sure how to deal with it and whether it’s covered by your homeowners insurance only adds to that. Although some incidences of mold are covered and some aren’t, it’s usually easy enough to work out whether yours is.
Typically, mold will be covered by your insurance company if it results from a covered peril, and not otherwise. A covered peril is a specific event that is covered by your insurance policy. It’s important to note, however, that many insurers limit how much you’re able to claim in relation to mold damage.
Examples of When Mold Is Covered
Some typical scenarios where mold growth would be covered by your homeowners insurance are if it results from a burst pipe, a malfunctioning appliance such as a washing machine, or water from firefighters extinguishing a fire.
In the case of the malfunctioning appliance, the insurance typically will not cover its replacement, but will cover any damage the incident causes to your home, including the development of mold. In any of these cases though, you’ll be glad you were covered.
When Mold Is Not Covered
Generally, cases of mold which could have been prevented by taking reasonable steps to avoid the issue will not be covered. This includes cases where you have failed to address minor leaks you were aware of or where you have not allowed for adequate ventilation in a room with high moisture levels, such as a bathroom. Other instances where regular maintenance would have prevented the issue are also unlikely to be covered.
Mold Resulting From Flooding
Mold that is the result of flooding will not be covered by your homeowners insurance. This is because flood damage and associated costs are covered by flood insurance, not homeowners. If you do have flood insurance, this may or may not cover mold resulting from flooding. If you’re not sure, your best option is to check your policy or speak with your provider.
How Do I Make an Insurance Claim for Mold?
If you need to make a claim for mold, it’s important that you proceed in the right way to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible. The following steps serve as a guideline for how best to proceed.
1. Take Any Urgent Preventative Measures
If you find that, for example, the mold is caused by a leak, you should shut off your water until the matter can be addressed properly. This both stops it from worsening the mold problem and prevents further damage. Similarly, you may want to act to increase ventilation to the affected area if there is a build-up of moisture.
2. Report the Mold to Your Insurer
This will allow them to begin processing your claim. If they provide you with any specific advice when you speak to them, be sure to follow this so that your claim can be processed and the situation resolved as quickly and easily as possible.
3. Document Any Damage
This means taking photos and videos showing the extent of the mold and any related damage, as well as potentially written descriptions. Although it’s best to discuss and agree repairs with your insurer before they take place, if any urgent repairs are required you should ensure that you keep the receipts. Your insurer will likely want to see some or all of this evidence, so it’s good to be prepared.
Once all this is done, you just need to follow your insurer’s instructions as they let you know what they need from you and guide you through the rest of the process.
How To Protect Yourself
As annoying as mold can be, there are a few easy steps you can take to help protect yourself from this nasty problem. In addition to having a good homeowners insurance policy, which will cover you in some mold cases as well as with many other home issues, the following serves as a good start for anyone.
1. Keep Humidity and Moisture Levels Low
This means ensuring that your home, and in particular bathrooms and other areas which are naturally more prone to mold, are adequately ventilated. You may also need to utilize an air conditioner or a dehumidifier in order to keep humidity under control.
2. Ensure That Exhaust Fans Are Used and Work Correctly
This includes exhaust fans in your kitchen as well as in other areas such as bathrooms. They should be used whenever necessary and should be kept clean, as a build-up of dirt may hamper their effectiveness.
3. Perform Regular Checks and Maintenance
This includes checking that no leaks have developed and that there are no signs of mold growth anywhere. If there are, it’s best that you notice quickly and can take steps to remedy the issue before it becomes more of a problem.