Does Home Insurance Cover Mold?

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Claire Smith 28-04-2021

What You Need to Know About Mold Insurance?

Mold-Insurance

Mold in your home is…well, gross. In addition to being unsightly, mold can damage the structural integrity of your home and it’s bad for your health.

This is why mold insurance is typically built into your homeowner’s insurance policy. Most home insurance policies will cover mold damage, but not if mold was preventable. Only “covered peril” or sudden/unexpected events that bring on mold are eligible for mold remediation. 

Covered peril situations are:

  • Weather-related (snow, lightning, fire, ice)
  • Vandalism or theft
  • Frozen pipes (within reason)
  • Accidental leaks or discharge of air conditioner, water tank, appliances, etc.

If you experience an unexpected peril like a burst pipe, then your insurance plan will pay for mold removal. However, mold remediation is expensive, so even in a covered peril event, your policy may only partially cover the repair bill. It’s not uncommon for insurance providers to cap the overall payout amount, so it’s best to call your provider if you aren’t sure about your coverage.

Insurance companies’ stance on mold is, if it’s preventable, like replacing 45-year-old shingles, then repairing the leaky roof is your responsibility.

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Adding Mold Insurance - Is Mold Coverage Worth It?

If your home insurance coverage doesn’t include mold, you can add a mold rider to your policy. Your risk level determines your eligibility and cost: old homes, humid States, or previous mold claims will drive up the price. The average annual mold endorsement cost is between $500-$1500.

Signs of Mold Growth

The best prevention is to identify the early signs of mold. Stopping the growth of mold early on will result in a more manageable repair.

These are the signs of mold to watch out for:

  • Musty Smell: Mold is known for its musty, rotting leaves smell, so if you suddenly notice a musty odor in your home, it’s time to investigate. Try and pinpoint the exact location, and if you can’t locate it, then call a mold investigation team to find it for you.
  • You See Mold: Whether you see or feel mold the next step is determining how extensive it is. You’ll often find mold in poorly vented areas (basement) or humid areas (bathroom), so be on the lookout for mold in these known hot spots.
  • Mold-Related Illness: If the mold isn’t apparent, it can still affect your family’s health so watch out for cold-like symptoms: sore throat, asthma, running nose, itchy skin or eyes, sneezing or coughing. To determine if it’s mold-related, you’ll notice that symptoms intensify when you spend an extended time at home (weeknights or weekends) or if the “illness” persists.

How to File a Mold Claim?

When you notice mold, the first thing you do is stop the leak (if there is one), then call your insurance company. Remembering to document the mold problem with photos throughout the process (before, during, after repairs).

Since mold insurance is only for “covered peril,” when an unexpected peril happens (e.g., pipe burst), and you immediately notify your insurance company, you’re:

  • Addressing Two Problems at Once: Should a pipe burst, your insurance company will have boots on the scene to repair the unforeseen damage and a mold remediation team to prevent mold from growing.
  • Paying Only One Deductible: Since your insurance company is addressing two problems concurrently, you’ll only have to pay for one deductible. 

In an unexpected event, always make sure to stop the leak safely, when possible and then soak up the unwanted water with a wet vac or mop. Remembering to photograph everything. While you’re sopping up the water, it’s a good idea to remove anything plush like carpet that can act as a breeding ground for mold, and open the windows to dry out the room.

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What If You’ve Had Mold Before?

Living in an older home with old outfittings (like plumbing) or having pre-existing mold claims is considered risky to an insurance company. Anything deemed risky means you’ll pay a higher premium for coverage, or you won’t be eligible for coverage, so you’re better off removing the current mold yourself.

Preventing Mold Growth

If you don’t want mold, stay on top of regular house maintenance to reduce your risk of unexpected incidents, more so if you live in states prone to mold like Florida.

To keep your house free of mold, regularly clean, install proper vents, and maintain good indoor humidity (using a dehumidifier when necessary).

Some other ways you can prevent mold are:

  • Maintaining indoor humidity (30-60%)
  • Having working exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens
  • Ripping up the carpeting in damp areas like the basement or bathroom and installing non-porous flooring/tile
  • Keeping an eye out for mold beneath the sinks, in crawl spaces or laundry rooms
  • Every couple of years, replacing laundry or dishwasher hoses
  • Making sure houseplants don’t have water beneath their pots
  • Regularly bleaching your bathroom
  • Cleaning the gutters often

By simply cleaning, maintaining, replacing, and constantly checking for mold, you’re saving yourself thousands in the long-run, so it’s well worth your time and effort.

Mold Insurance: Are You Sufficiently Covered?

Even though mold isn’t something that’s on your mind, it’s something you want to be protected against—just in case. Additionally, you also want to ensure that you regularly maintain your house and check for signs of mold to further protect yourself from a hefty mold remediation bill.

Claire SmithClaire is a creative entrepreneur with a variety of marketing and content creation skills, including blog and web copy writing, research, and strategy. She has a Masters in Cultural Studies from Queen's University and is known for thinking laterally about marketing, based on her deep knowledge of people and behavior.