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Does Insurance Cover Mold?

Water is water and mold is mold, but your homeowner’s insurance doesn’t see the causes and effects the same way you do.

According to Valuepenguin.com, standard homeowners insurance policies protect you from water damage caused by sudden and accidental incidents, such as a burst pipe, leaking water heater, or overflow resulting from a malfunctioning AC unit. But mold removal isn’t covered unless the mold grew from a covered event. Ask your insurer if mold remediation is covered by your claim before.

What if a pipe bursts into your home and ruins your floors? That depends on what made it burst. Your basic policy may cover water damage inside the home, which allows you to file a claim for mold removal and restoration. Some policies, however, may not cover all the costs of mold remediation, limiting the insurer’s liability to an acceptably low fixed number, like $1000 to $10,000, but the real costs can be as high as $30,000. Good insurers will send a team to help clean up the water damage so that mold growth can be prevented which will keep you from filing a separate claim.

Insurers also won’t pay if the cause of the mold was due to your failure to maintain your home properly or if you don’t report water damage immediately. Inspectors can easily determine if a leak is long-standing and was simply ignored until mold began to grow.

What if the flooding came from the outside? The extreme weather we’ve been experiencing across the country could cause rainwater to seep into your home and cause mold. Unfortunately, that event wouldn’t be covered by your homeowner’s insurance. If you live in a highly humid climate, flood plain, or hurricane-prone area, mold growth is highly likely, but again, not covered unless you can tie water damage and mold growth to a specific covered event.

You can always supplement your homeowner’s insurance with flood insurance, which is for natural disasters where the water comes in from the outside. In mold-prone areas like Florida, Louisiana and the Carolinas, insurers expect residents to take appropriate preventive measures, such as using a humidifier in their basement to prevent mold growth. Areas such as these that are targets for hurricanes and flooding may not provide flood insurance at all. But, residents can obtain flood protection through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

That’s why it’s crucial to get the right insurance for your needs. As soon as a water event occurs, contact your insurer. Open windows and put fans and a humidifier near the damage. Take plenty of photos for the claim adjuster. Adjust your home’s humidity between 30% and 60% and use humidifiers. Use exhaust fans in the bathrooms.

Mold might not be discovered for some time, so keep meticulous records and copies of your photos so you can tie the mold damage to the original water damage claim and the insurer won’t deny the claim. Keep the humidity in your home between 30% and 60% with air conditioners and/or dehumidifiers and check water connections and pipes regularly.