Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold?
The discovery of mold in a home is something that immediately strikes fear into the homeowner’s heart. We’ve all heard the horror stories about the toxic mold, expensive remediation services, and denied homeowners insurance claims when it comes to covering the mold removal. This, however, does not mitigate mold’s existence or ability to grow in any kind of home. Mold needs moisture to thrive and grow, so if your home is the location of flooding, pipes bursting, or hidden leaks, mold is going to have a chance to grow and expand.
These problems for homeowners are exacerbated when the moisture has time to thrive and exist untreated. Things like slab leaks, basement pipes, and other types of unnoticeable moisture-related incidents can give the mold months to develop without remediation.
Whether mold damage is covered by your homeowners insurance or not often comes down to the source of that moisture and the nature of the source. Before you begin the process, we first recommend taking the time to review the language of your policy, especially the sections pertaining to water damage. Scan for mold exclusions and limitations, as well as exceptions. If the word is unclear, call your insurance agent to make sure you’re heading down the right path.
Am I likely to be covered?
In Florida the is a an endorsement for mold coverage, typically $10,000 in most policies we see. However, this doesn’t mean your mold claim is going to be automatically covered. In most cases, mentioned that if the mold is a result of a sudden or accidental peril that was at no fault to the homeowner, the cost of mold remediation should be covered. It works this way because the source of the mold is technically a pipe bursting, not the actual mold itself. So you need a sudden and accidental peril like a pipe leak to trigger coverage for mold, and the key word here is sudden and accidental.
But, if the mold is caused by homeowner neglect, like a long term Air Conditioning maintenance issue, the homeowners insurance is likely to shoot down any mold remediation requests. With this being said it also depends on the specific language of your policy and how the claim is presented to the carrier.
What’s the cost?
It’s hard to put a number on the cost of mold claims when presented to insurance companies. A 2003 white paper proclaimed the cost to be anywhere in the $15,000 to $30,000. Since then, companies have worked to lower the high amount, now providing homeowners with coverage on $1,000 to $10,000 worth of mold damage.
Additionally, most of these companies will not cover mold related to flooding (ground water rising) which falls under your flood policy backed by FEMA and they offer not coverage for mold. So the best thing you can do as a homeowner is to remove any wet pours materials that have been affected by flood water for two reasons: it's grossly contaminated water and removing wet materials from the property will lessen the chances of mold growth to the unaffected areas of the property.
So, in Florida a state with that’s has warm, moist air with likely tropical storms, hurricanes, or flooding, you’re going to need to cover your bases with regards to mold remediation. Be sure to have a mold endorsement on your insurance policy, and find a company that covers at least up to $10,000 in mold remediation services.