Is Black Mold and Mold Damage Covered by Insurance? Rarely, It Depends
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While usually excluded from coverage, mold damage may be insured if it was caused by a covered peril in your insurance policy, like a pipe bursting between your walls and creating a damp environment for mold to grow. Mold resulting from neglect and lack of maintenance, however, is not covered.
Keep reading to see how to file a claim with your insurance company as well as signs that tell if there is mold in your home.
When Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold?
Homeowners insurance covers mold damage if it is the result of a named peril in your policy, like a burst pipe or a tree falling on your roof during a rainstorm. For example, if a pipe under your sink suddenly bursts and creates a damp environment for mold to grow, then that type of damage may be covered by insurance.
Note that mold coverage can vary between insurance policies and some policies may have a mold coverage limit between $1,000 to $10,000.
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When Doesn’t Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold?
Homeowners insurance won't cover mold damage if the cause of the mold growth results from poor maintenance or negligence. Let’s use the same example from earlier with the pipe under the sink. If that pipe was leaking for months and you knew about it but never fixed it, your insurer likely will not cover the resulting mold growth.
Other common insurance exclusions from mold coverage include damage that is the result of:
- Natural flooding
- Earth movement, such as earthquakes or landslides
- Neglect or intentional acts
- Poor construction or design
How To File a Home Insurance Claim for Mold
If you need to file a homeowners insurance claim for mold damage, here are the steps you can follow:
- Assess the damage: Before you file a claim, inspect the affected areas thoroughly and document the extent of the damage. Take photos and make a list of items that have been damaged.
- Check your policy: Review your homeowners insurance policy to determine if mold damage is covered and if there are any limits or exclusions.
- Report the damage: Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to report the mold damage. Provide them with a detailed description of the damage including pictures and a home inventory list if necessary as well as the cause, if known.
- Schedule an inspection: Your insurance provider will likely send an adjuster to inspect the damage and assess the cost of repairs. Be sure to be present for the inspection and answer any questions the adjuster may have.
- File the claim: Once the adjuster has assessed the damage, your insurance company will provide you with an estimate of the cost of repairs.
- Coordinate repairs: Homeowners can typically choose their own contractor to complete the repairs or use one recommended by their insurance company.
- Keep records: Keep detailed records of all correspondence and receipts related to the claim, including photos of the damage, the estimate of repairs and any receipts for expenses you have incurred.
Common Signs of Mold Growth in Homes
Mold growth in homes can have a variety of signs, including:
- Musty odor
- Visible growth, usually black, green, gray or white, on the walls, ceilings or floors in the form of discolored spots or streaks.
- Health symptoms, like coughing, sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, skin irritation, headaches and difficulty breathing.
- Water damage around the affected area.
- High humidity areas
- Peeling or discolored paint
It is important to address mold growth in homes as soon as possible, as it can cause serious health problems and damage to your home. If you suspect you have mold growth in your home, follow the above steps and have a professional assess the situation and determine the best course of action.
How Do You Prevent Mold From Growing Around Your House?
Preventing mold growth in your home requires controlling moisture and addressing any water damage promptly. The table below provides tips to help you prevent mold growth and maintain a healthy and comfortable living environment for you, your family and pets:
- Control moisture. Keep the humidity levels in your home below 50% to prevent mold growth. Use a dehumidifier in damp areas and ensure proper ventilation in bathrooms, kitchens and other areas prone to high humidity.
- Fix leaks promptly: Address any leaks or water damage as soon as possible to prevent mold growth. Make sure to dry out wet areas thoroughly to prevent moisture from accumulating.
- Use mold-resistant products: When constructing or remodeling your home, use mold-resistant drywall, paint and caulk.
- Improve ventilation: Using exhaust fans in your bathrooms, kitchens, attics and crawl spaces can help alleviate excess moisture.
- Clean regularly. Regular cleaning, especially in damp or humid areas, can help prevent mold growth by removing any mold spores or spores that may have accumulated on surfaces.
- Store items properly. You can store items in airtight containers or clothes in a standalone closet that zips shut. Also, be careful about stacking certain materials — stacking mopheads and some fabrics can trap moisture and heat, leading to mold growth.
How Much Does Mold Remediation and Removal Cost?
The average cost for mold remediation and removal is $3,500. For small areas of mold growth, such as in a bathroom or under a sink, the cost of mold remediation can typically be done for as low as $500. Treating a large space, like your entire basement, can quickly escalate the price to up to $9,000.
In general, the cost of mold remediation will depend on the following factors:
- Size of the affected area: The larger the affected area, the higher the cost of mold remediation will be.
- Extent of damage: More extensive damage will result in higher costs for mold remediation.
- Location: The cost of mold remediation can also vary depending on the location of the mold, with more remote or hard-to-reach areas typically costing more.
- Professional services: Hiring a professional mold remediation company will add to the cost, but it is often worth it for the peace of mind that comes with knowing the job will be done correctly and thoroughly.
Is Mold Remediation Covered by Home Insurance?
If mold was the result of a covered peril in your home policy, like a burst pipe, then insurance may cover the cost of mold remediation. Mold growth due to neglect or lack of maintenance or some other cause that is not sudden and accident will not be covered.