If you've recently discovered mold in your home, don't panic. There are steps you can take to get the insurance compensation for mold damage that you deserve.
In order to figure out if your homeowner's insurance policy will cover mold damage, it is important to understand that most policies exclude coverage for mold damages. Mold is only included in the event that it becomes a problem as a result of another covered claim like water damage.
Will the cost of mold removal be covered by homeowners insurance?
Homeowner's insurance will only cover the costs of mold removal if the cause of the mold is already a covered item in your policy. For example, water damage is typically included in most policies. However, water damage that happens due to sudden and/or unexpected events, such as a broken or leaking pipe, or an overflow due to a malfunctioning air conditioner, is covered by standard homeowner's insurance.
If too much humidity in your home leads to mold, you may be able to file a claim under your policy's coverage for water damage. Sometimes this coverage covers mold removal and remediation, and also any repairs needed for mold-damaged property.
When is mold covered by homeowners insurance?
Mold is typically covered by home insurance when it occurs in the following situations:
- The water from your ruptured water heater leads to the growth of black mold.
- If your home catches on fire, mold may develop afterward from the water that was used to put the fire out.
- If a household appliance, such as a dishwasher, breaks and results in a flooded kitchen and causes water damage that allows mold to spread along the bottom of your cabinets and into your floor.
How much financial assistance will my insurance company provide for mold damage?
Mold damage might set you back anywhere from $10,000 to $40,000 to repair. Insurance companies know this and have taken countermeasures to minimize their financial obligations. One way that insurance companies cover themselves is by reducing payouts for mold damage even if it is caused by a covered event, which happens regularly. Most insurance policies cover mold remediation costs starting at only $1,000, but possibly up to $10,000.
If you wish to purchase a higher mold coverage amount, it is usually available as an add-on. Keep in mind that if you live in an area that is notorious for mold, like Florida, obtaining mold coverage is often a costly endeavor.
Under what circumstances is homeowners insurance void when it comes to mold?
If you fail to take care of your home and it becomes infested with mold, your insurance company is likely to deny your claim.
If you wait too long to file a claim for water damage, your insurance company may deny coverage because you didn't act immediately. For example, if mold starts to spread as a result of a minor leak, it could cause serious problems that often go unnoticed until it's too late.
Most homeowners insurance policies will not cover mold damage from regional flooding because of excluded perils, like floods. If you want coverage for flood-related mold growth, consider purchasing a flood insurance policy that is separate from your actual homeowner's insurance.
When is mold often not covered by insurance companies?
Here are a few examples of when mold is not typically covered by your home insurance:
- For years, water has leaked from your bathtub resulting in mold growth.
- When your basement isn't dehumidified, black mold develops owing to the humidity.
- Heavy rains bring flooding into your home, which often results in mold.
You have mold. How do you file a claim?
The first thing you should do is contact a mold professional, such as Engage Mold Solutions of Florida. We are the initial step in the mold cleanup procedure, and we will thoroughly inspect your home and provide all of the required documentation. This will assist you in filing an insurance claim and locating a mold removal specialist.
In some situations, your mold claim will be linked to a similar incident. For example, if a pipe breaks and your home is flooded, your insurance provider may send a mold removal company. The mold company will dry your home in order to prevent mold from developing.
By taking this extra precaution, you can reduce damage and save yourself from having to pay two separate deductibles — one for the pipe that burst, and another for mold removal down the road.
In order to avoid future issues, be sure to ask your agent if mold removal or remediation is included in your current claim. Additionally, keep track of all places that have been damaged as well as any repairs made. Oftentimes, people only discover mold long after damage from water has happened.
If your mold claim is denied, the adjuster will want to see more proof. The goal here is to show that the covered peril initially caused the mold and that it was not caused by a recent leak or neglecting upkeep.
Then, follow these procedures to submit an insurance claim for mold:
- You must get in touch with your agent immediately. They will send an insurance adjuster to inspect the damage, calculate costs, and determine if it is covered by your policy.
- If the room becomes wet, it's important to open windows to assist with evaporating the dampness and stop any additional mold development. Dehumidifiers can be a great help as well. Do not remove anything or clean anything, however. The adjuster must evaluate all of the damage to the property in order for things to progress smoothly.
- After you've made your claim, take photos of the damage. Don't forget walls, floors, ceilings, and other property as well as general areas that also have been damaged. Please also make sure to include photos of the original water damage as well.
- Make sure to read through your policy again, and double-check with your agent about how much mold coverage you have.
- Consult with a mold professional and make sure to keep, and review, the comprehensive reports provided. The reports provided by your mold professional should be created specifically as proof and further documentation for your insurance company.
The original water damage probably caused the mold in your home, but your insurance company will try to claim otherwise. If they succeed, you might have to pay two deductibles instead of one. Here's how you can prove that the mold is related to the original water damage so that doesn't happen.
Related: Answering 17 Common Mold Questions
Start researching other insurance providers
It's a good idea to ask your insurance carrier if it covers mold damage. Some insurance firms, such as State Farm, no longer cover mold even after a storm causes damage initially. However, a few remaining national insurance providers who provide mold coverage are still out there.
Allstate, for example, covers mold; however, claims are limited to $5,000. If you are concerned about mold, investigate changing insurers to get more coverage. You may not only get mold coverage by switching insurance companies; you could also save money on your house insurance premiums by doing so.
Preventing mold growth before it happens is key
The best way to get prevent mold is to avoid it from developing at all. For people who live in states where mold is widespread, like Florida, this is crucial. You can do this by assuring proper ventilation, cleaning on a regular basis, and purchasing a dehumidifier for areas that are prone to mold growth.
Here are a few more ideas for preventing mold growth:
- Use air conditioners and/or dehumidifiers in your home to keep the relative humidity between 30% at the lowest and 60% at the highest.
- For better ventilation, be sure exhaust fans in kitchens and bathrooms are installed properly.
- Carpets should be avoided in areas prone to dampness, like kitchens or bathrooms.
- House plants should not be kept wet.
- Clean your bathrooms with bleach on a regular basis.
- Don't forget your gutters. Gutter maintenance should be done regularly to prevent mold from growing there.
- Laundry rooms, crawl spaces, and cabinets beneath sinks should all be checked for dampness periodically.
- Every five years, replace the hoses to appliances that use water, such as dishwashers, washing machines, and refrigerators.
- Make sure that your water heater is regularly inspected and maintained.
Keeping this list in mind could prevent you from dishing out a ton of money on home repairs down the line. However, if your home is affected by a flood, here are several things you can do to prevent mold growth before your mold professional arrives:
- As you've taken the pictures, get rid of any water that has pooled up.
- To dry, remove any carpets or afflicted furniture from the room.
- Allow fresh air in, and run your dehumidifier and fans, to eliminate dampness.
- Bleach should be used to thoroughly clean the area and destroy bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
Related: How much do Mold Inspections Cost?
Contact Engage Mold at the first sign of Mold
If you suspect a mold damage or water damage issue in the Tampa Bay, Florida area or any of the surrounding communities, contact Engage Mold Solutions of Florida. We are the initial step in the mold cleanup procedure, and we will thoroughly inspect your home and provide all of the required documentation. This will assist you in filing an insurance claim and locating a mold removal specialist.