Mold in your home isn’t just unsightly. It can cause itchy eyes, wheezing, and more severe reactions—especially for people who have asthma or mold allergies. If mold has snuck its way into your home, it’s best to remove it before it spreads. Read on to learn whether homeowners insurance can help defray costs.
When may homeowners insurance cover mold?
Whether mold damage is covered depends on the duration, source, and location of the mold. There are certain criteria your insurer will need to evaluate to determine if mold will be covered by your insurance policy.
Does homeowners insurance cover black mold?
Black mold and non-black mold are treated the same way for coverage purposes. So, whether black mold is covered, depends on the same evaluation of circumstances mentioned above.
Some types of black mold are extremely toxic and can lead to adverse health problems if left untreated over time. No matter the type of mold, or how much mold there is, proper remediation is imperative. You may consider contacting a reputable mold removal professional to ensure that the mold is safely and properly cleaned and removed to prevent future growth.
When does homeowners insurance not cover mold?
Your home insurance likely won’t cover mold if:
- A flood dampens your home and mold sets in.
- Your own negligence leads to mold. So if you put off repairing a leaky pipe, and the escaped moisture becomes a breeding ground for mold, the cleanup costs will be your responsibility.
- The mold is caused by humidity.
What should you do if you discover mold in your home?
If you’ve noticed mold, contact your insurance company right away to determine if any portion of your mold remediation costs will be covered by your insurance.
If I want to play it safe, can I buy a mold insurance rider?
You may be able to purchase an endorsement that increases the amount paid to you in the event of covered mold damage. Chat with your agent to find the coverage that’s right for you.
How can I spot mold in my house?
Follow these steps to sleuth out mold:
- Look for spots of mold. Mold often looks powdery or cottony and has a musty smell. It can be nearly any color—green, black, brown, white, purple, yellow, orange, or pink.
- If you suspect mold is growing in your walls or ventilation ducts, do the sniff test. A musty, earthy smell likely indicates mold.
- Take symptoms seriously. If you or someone in your household persistently sneezes or has watery eyes, a runny nose, or an irritated throat, mold could be the culprit.
You can also buy an at-home test kit to confirm your suspicions; but keep in mind that no test kit on the market is endorsed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
To get a solid diagnosis, the EPA recommends that homeowners hire a professional inspector, who has special tools and expertise to do the job properly The inspector might use a moisture meter or an infrared camera, for example, to detect dampness in a wall They may also use a borescope—a device that can peek behind a wall via a tiny hole.
How do I prevent mold?
While mold grows where there’s moisture, it is also preventable. To prevent mold growth in your home:
- Keep humidity levels low. Use an air conditioner or dehumidifier to maintain a low level (no higher than 50%) of moisture in the air. To check humidity levels throughout the day, you can purchase a meter from a home improvement store.
- Use fans or vents. Let air flow freely throughout your home and turn on or install fans that vent to the outside of your home for kitchens and bathrooms, as well as dryer vents.
- Fix any leaks in your roof, walls, or plumbing to ensure mold doesn’t grow.
- Clean with mold-killing products, especially in bathrooms.
- Add mold inhibitors to wall paint before painting rooms that are high in humidity or moisture, like bathrooms. Many paint and home improvement stores can add an inhibitor to the paint for you.