We Have Mold in the House: Is it Covered by Insurance?

 In Insurance

Is mold it Covered by Insurance? It Depends

Not only do you suspect you have mold in your home, but now you are faced with how to pay for it. You may, rightfully so, wonder if your homeowner’s insurance will cover the expense of getting it removed. What are your options?

The answer to whether insurance will cover the mold testing and removal is: it depends. If the mold was the result of a leak that could have been prevented, along with flooding within the home or high humidity levels, your home owner’s insurance probably won’t cover it. If the mold was caused by a “covered peril,” you may be able to get coverage.

So what’s a covered peril? These are incidents that are beyond a homeowner’s control, such as:

  • Fire
  • Lightning
  • Vandalism
  • Damage caused by vehicles
  • Theft
  • Falling objects
  • Heavy ice, snow, or sleet
  • Accidental discharge or overflow of water/steam arising from plumbing, heating, air conditioners, sprinkler systems or appliances
  • Frozen/burst pipes

Basically, if your home insurance company determines the root cause of the mold could have been prevented by you, they won’t pay for it. It’s expected that homeowners will perform basic maintenance tasks to ensure water damage does not occur, such as keeping humidity levels low in basements and maintaining and repairing pipes as needed.

If one of the above “covered perils” caused the mold damage, your insurance company will pay for the repairs and clean up. In the case of sudden events such as washer hoses that spring leaks, ice dams that soak your attic during a thaw, or burst pipes may all be covered – IF you notice and report them right away. These are considered “sudden and accidental” incidents.

When Insurance WON’T Pay

There are instances in which the insurance will not pay for your mold damages. Basically, if the water damage is caused by your own negligence and/or you fail to report the incident in a timely manner. Here are some examples:

  • Your pipes freeze and burst in the basement, causing a few inches of water on the floor. You don’t notice or report it for three weeks and mold is proliferating.
  • You didn’t maintain your shingles and one broke on your 40-year-old roofing system. Water gets into the attic, saturates the wood and insulation, and causes mold growth.
  • You notice large amounts of mold in your shower. You let weeks and months go by, then get concerned that it may be making you sick.

While all of these circumstances are unfortunate, don’t expect the insurance company to have sympathy on you and pay the claim. They expect you to keep up basic maintenance within your home. If you fail to do that as a responsible homeowner, they don’t think that should be their problem.

On top of that, standard homeowner’s insurance policies don’t cover water damage caused by a flood – unless of course you have purchased a separate flood policy. In that case, mold and mildew are covered, so long as it didn’t spread and proliferate due to your failure to inspect and maintain your property after the flood occurred.

To know what’s covered and what’s not, check your homeowner’s insurance policy or call your agent to ask. If you indeed have mold in your home, don’t remove it yourself or touch it. Call Stock Environmental Consulting right away at 732-383-5190.

 

 

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