Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold?

Learn when your insurance will cover damage due to mold

A homeowner looks over his homeowners insurance policy.
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Mold isn't something you want to discover in your home. Mold exposure can cause health problems such as a stuffy nose, wheezing, and itchy eyes. Additionally, mold spreads quickly and grows on damp surfaces, and it’ll keep spreading until you fix the problem.  

After getting over the shock of finding mold and considering the next best course of action, you might worry about how much mold removal costs. As you see dollar signs flashing through your mind, you might wonder if your home insurance policy covers mold, too. Learn about the effects of mold, when mold is covered by your homeowners policy, and how to fix mold issues. 

Key Takeaways

  • Mold can cause health problems related to allergies and your respiratory system when left untreated. 
  • Removing mold typically costs thousands of dollars. 
  • If mold in your home results from a covered event, your homeowners insurance policy may cover part of or all associated costs. If not, you may need to pay for the remediation (getting rid of mold) out of pocket. 

Why Is Mold in Your House a Problem?

Mold is a fungus that plays an essential role in the decaying process because it breaks down dead matter. It’s a necessary part of the world outside your home, but inside your home, mold can cause health problems, especially if left untreated.

Nasal congestion, wheezing, itchy eyes, and a cough, are common reactions to mold. Other symptoms such as fever, memory loss, and fatigue may also occur but have not been definitively linked to mold. People who have a suppressed immune system are at a higher risk for suffering serious side effects from exposure to mold.

Homeowners Insurance Coverage for Mold

If you find mold in your home, you might consider filing a claim with your insurance company. The cause of the mold problem is the deciding factor for whether or not you’re covered under your homeowners policy. Most home insurance policies cover mold damage from a sudden, covered peril. The policy’s coverage may have limited coverage for mold, though. For example, the Florida Department of Financial Services noted that the most common mold coverage limit it sees is $10,000. This includes mold caused by water damage due to a burst water heater, leaking appliance, or firefighters when extinguishing a fire.

You must mitigate further losses by taking common-sense steps, like drying out damp sections in the home as soon as possible to prevent further mold growth. Failure to do so could result in you not getting the maximum claim reimbursement you’re entitled to for the covered event.

However, most policies won’t cover mold resulting from gradual damage over time. This means if you have mold damage from a leaky pipe that you knew about and neglected to fix, it’s not covered. Similarly, if you have a window that isn’t sealed properly, water can get into your wall each time it rains. The resulting damage also isn’t covered. 

If a flood caused your mold damage, a standard insurance policy wouldn’t cover it. You’d need a separate flood insurance policy

It’s essential to read your policy to know what is and isn’t covered by your home insurance. For instance, some insurance companies have a mold exclusion, which means they won’t cover any mold claims. 

You may be able to add on an endorsement to help with mold remediation costs. This increases your policy’s limits on a covered event. Ask your insurance agent about adding this to your plan.  

What To Do When You Have Water Damage

If you have water damage, contact your insurance company right away. Make sure you document the mold with photographs. Also, keep a record of everything impacted by the mold so you can submit this information to your insurer when you make your claim.

Then, make any temporary repairs to stop the water damage from getting worse. For example, turn off the water lines to broken appliances or put cardboard in a broken window. Don’t make permanent repairs until after your insurance company reviews the damage because your insurer may send out an adjuster to see the extent of the damage before making a decision. 

If you’ve detected mold in your home, take proper precautions as you investigate. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends wearing gloves to protect your skin and goggles to protect your eyes. According to their recommendations, you should also wear an N-95 mask to avoid breathing in mold spores.

Costs of Mold Damage Repair

If your homeowners insurance doesn’t cover your home’s mold damage, you likely pay out of pocket for repairs. A mold inspection is the first step because it identifies the source and extent of the damage and provides a repair estimate. An inspection costs about $200 to $600, though some companies offer a free initial inspection. Once you know the extent of the damage, you can decide if you want to tackle the cleanup on your own, or if you want to hire a professional. 

If you pay for mold remediation, the cost depends on several factors, including the size of the impacted area and the amount of damage. Homeowners spend on average between $1,100 and $3,325 for mold remediation. Larger areas can cost as much as $6,000. If your whole house has mold damage, expect to spend between  $10,000 and $25,000 per 1,000 square feet to remove it.

How To Prevent Mold Growth

The best way to take care of mold in your home is to prevent it from growing in the first place. The following tips may help you keep your home mold-free. 

  • Lower the humidity levels in your home to below 50% at all times with dehumidifiers. 
  • Add ventilation with exhaust fans to increase circulation and encourage airflow. 
  • Vent your clothes dryer outside. 
  • Fix leaks promptly to eliminate damp surfaces. 
  • Dry your home quickly and completely if water damage occurs. 
  • Mix mold inhibitors into the paint before painting your walls. 
  • Use mold-killing cleaners regularly in your bathroom. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which types of mold does homeowners insurance cover?

Homeowners insurance typically covers all mold that grows as a result of a covered event. This could include water damage from a burst or frozen pipe, fire extinguishing efforts, or a malfunctioning appliance. 

What does homeowners insurance not cover?

A standard home insurance policy won’t cover damage from floods. Other events not covered include earthquakes or damage from a continuous leak. And depending on where you live, damage from windstorms, hail, or hurricanes may also not be covered.