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Is Mold Covered By Homeowners Insurance

Most homeowners assume that their homeowner’s insurance will cover most of the things that can damage a home, but that is often not the case.  Termites, for example, can do significant structural damage to a home as they chew through load-bearing walls and joists.  However, most homeowner’s policies are worded so as not to cover that type of damage, usually saying something like the coverage provided is solely for “sudden and accidental damage.”  Although the termites may not have been expected, their chewing and resultant structural damage does not occur “suddenly” and the homeowner is usually left to pick up the tab for repairs.

The same thing applies to mold, UNLESS the mold is secondary to a sudden and unexpected occurrence such as a burst pipe.  Mold that is growing because of a leak that the homeowner has not repaired will not be covered.  Nor is mold due to improper ventilation.

There may be no coverage for mold or there may be stated limitations on payouts.  Some policies may require an expensive rider to insure against mold damage, and when mold is the result of flooding, it may likely not be covered because the flooding itself may not be covered if the homeowner doesn’t carry flood insurance.  Flood insurance costs between $500 and $600 annually and is obtained through the National Flood Insurance Program.

The least expensive way to protect a home against mold is to take the measures required to prevent it from becoming a problem in the first place.  Utilize dehumidifiers and air conditioners to greatly reduce indoor humidity.  Use standing fans and ceiling fans to improve air circulation, and pull furniture away from walls.  If leaks are known to exist, repair them immediately and thoroughly dry any wet areas caused by those leaks.  Routinely inspect attics and basements for mold growth.  Mold can occur in attics due to condensation beneath the roof and also as a result of ductwork or bathrooms that are vented into the attic instead of out the roof.  Check the roof and basement walls for leaks and check all plumbing to be sure that washers, gaskets, and seals are intact and dry.  When remodeling a bathroom or kitchen, and with new construction, choose “green board,” a drywall that will resist mold and is intended for high humidity locations.

Mold is everywhere and is simply a fact of life.  By taking the steps outlines above, and by properly cleaning away small areas of visible mold, insurance against it is probably a needless expense.  However, when areas of mold are large, within walls, within insulation, within flooring, or in unreachable spaces, there are mold mitigation companies that are staffed with trained professionals who are expert in mold removal and mold remediation.  The sooner they are called the damage done by mold will be less extensive (and less expensive).

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