Your home insurance coverage for mold damage is often limited to what circumstances the mold occurred under. As common as black mold can be in a home, mold damage isn't a common peril included in home insurance. However if the mold was caused by a covered peril in your home insurance policy, the mold damage should be covered. If you have a serious mold problem in your home, its removal by professional mold remediation is often the only real way to deal with it. This article will cover:
- When home insurance covers mold
- Getting mold insurance
- The cost of mold removal
- Filing an insurance claim for mold
When does home insurance cover mold damage?
In most cases, mold damage is not covered by home insurance. Some policies will only pay for a limited amount of mold removal, and others just pay for mold testing. There are some comprehensive policies that cover mold damage, unless the cause of the mold itself is excluded. For example, if the mold was caused due to improper home maintenance, the mold damage would not be covered by your home insurance policy.
Whether or not mold damage is covered primarily comes down to the peril that caused it. If the mold damage is caused by a peril covered under your home insurance policy, your claim should be honored. Examples of covered mold damage causes include:
- If your roof is damaged by a branch and water leaks into your attic.
- Plumbing bursts under the bathroom sink.
- A cracked pipe behind the drywall in your kitchen.
- A rupture in your HVAC leaks water into your basement.
Mold damage excluded by your homeowners insurance policy
Home insurance covers mold damage only, if at all, when the mold is the result of a covered peril and not the peril itself. On top of that, it's important to know that homeowners insurance only covers sudden, accidental damage. Therefore, mold caused by constant water leaks, ongoing humidity or poor maintenance will not be covered by homeowners insurance.
If your home has a history of mold problems, finding a home insurance company that will underwrite a policy for you may be difficult. All home insurance claims on your home going back seven years will be on your home's CLUE report. It is available only to you and insurance companies. Your CLUE report shows any mold damage claims made on your property in that time frame. It can give you an idea of what your home's mold history looks like.
Standard home insurance does not cover flood damage, so mold caused by a regional flood will be excluded as well. Flood insurance through FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) can be purchased separately through homeowners insurance companies taking part in NFIP and some independent insurance providers.
How to get mold insurance
Even if your home insurance policy does not include mold protection, you still have some options. Some home insurance providers offer limited mold coverage as riders or endorsements. They can be added to your home insurance for an additional cost. On average, a mold endorsement usually costs between $500 and $1,500 yearly.
The limits of mold insurance protection you can get may vary among home insurance providers. There is no set standard for mold coverage provided. Do some homework and compare different home insurance policies to find the insurer that offers you the best mold coverage for potential risks.
How to stop mold damage
If you have a mold problem, you'll want to file a home insurance claim. Before you call your insurance agent, you need to mitigate the mold damage before it gets worse. Your home insurance provider will expect you to take preventative measures ASAP, and acting quickly can save you a lot of money down the line.
The key priority with mold mitigation is moisture removal. Until you dry out the affected area, the mold will continue to bloom and damage your home. Professional mold removal, otherwise known as mold remediation, may be required to get the most thorough job done. Contacting a mold remediation company within the first 48 hours of the mold occurrence is your best chance of avoiding a large repair bill.
If you can't contact a mold remediation company right away, you'll need to take steps on your own:
- Take photos of all mold damage.
- Find and stop the source of the leak.
- Whatever water remains, remove it with a mop or shop vac. If it's a large amount of water, a water cleanup specialist may be necessary.
- Remove all items retaining water (rugs, carpet, insulation) and move them out of the house. Wrap them in plastic and hold onto them until your insurance company can have them tested for mold.
- Open windows to get air circulation going. Use fans or dehumidifiers to start drying out the area.
- Wash the affected area thoroughly. Use a non-ammonia-based detergent and water mixture on surfaces. Use a water and bleach mixture on surfaces to kill mold spores.
Mold removal costs
You could pay between $10 and $25 per square foot for mold remediation, according to HomeAdvisor. Factors that can affect your price include the area affected by the mold and how far along the mold damage is. If you catch the damage quickly, mold remediation could cost as little as $50. However, if the mold is allowed to spread, it could cost upwards of $6,000 to remove.
Homeowners insurance with mold coverage usually has a maximum limit of mold remediation of $1,000 to $10,000. Check your home insurance policy to see what mold remediation limits it provides.
Filing a home insurance claim for mold damage
After you’ve completed the cleanup, call your insurer and start the claim process. Give them a detailed description of the damage and what preventative measures you’ve taken. Take pictures of every square inch of the damaged area. Make an inventory list of mold-damaged items along with their value. Your agent will need these in order to calculate an accurate payout.
Frequently asked questions
Q: Does homeowners insurance cover mold damage?
A: Home insurance only covers mold if it is the result of a covered peril. See our guide to find out when homeowners insurance covers mold.
Q: How do I get mold insurance?
A: You may have the option to add limited mold coverage as a rider or endorsement to your existing home insurance policy. However, limits vary by company.
Q: How much does it cost to remove mold?
A: The cost of removing mold can run you anywhere from $10 to $25 per square foot.
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