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Does Home Insurance Cover Mold Damage?

Mold is a series of fungi that grow in damp places. Mold often smells terrible and comes with an abundance of health complications.

Sneezing, runny nose, skin rashes, and exacerbating asthma and bronchitis are only a few health-related problems mold causes.

Mold can also destroy a house if it’s left unchecked long enough. The fungus eats organic substances, so mold often tears apart wet carpet and drywall.

Wooden support beams eventually disintegrate from the mold eating them away, and entire structures may collapse due to mold’s influence.

Now, as dramatic as this all seems, there’s something else you may not have thought about – how much of the removal are you responsible for?

At one point, it used to be easy to have your homeowners insurance cover mold damage, but now, not so much.

So the question is, can you still receive a payout if you find the fungus inside your home? What qualifies as a legitimate home insurance claim for mold damage?

Both answers are below. Read on to determine what benefits you’re entitled to if you find mold in your home under your home insurance.

Home Insurance and Mold Share a Complicated Relationship

As implied earlier, you can file a claim under your home insurance policy for mold damage, but you may not receive a payout.

Mold damage is covered based on individual circumstances. For example, there can be cases where you and your neighbor have the same insurance policy, but your neighbor’s mold instance is covered while yours isn’t.

Insurers even use this “pick and choose” methodology for deciding which mold claims to cover inside the same home.

You can have mold in your basement covered by home insurance, but mold from a leak in your roof may not be.

There is a reason for what may seem like an arbitrary decision-making process. Sometime during the late 1990s and early 2000s, there was a sudden uptick in water damage claims throughout the US.

Many households had various mold claims and could often exceed the insurance limit. Thousands of dollars had to be paid out, and companies couldn’t keep up with the demand.

As a result, terms for mold damage had to be changed to cover limited instances of fungal appearances.

So What Does Home Insurance Cover?

The majority of home insurance policies require mold damage be from a sudden issue outside your control. Whatever caused the fungus to grow has to be sudden and almost out of nowhere – a totally random occurrence.

It’s not always the case, but if you have coverage for something that can cause mold, then mold damage in relation to it is also covered.

Ultimately, no two policies are the same. The best thing you can do is research and ask your service provider what kinds of mold damage they cover.

Ask if they have paperwork or online sources detailing a complete list of situations and items covered under their home insurance policies.

What Isn’t Covered By Home Insurance?

Earlier, there was an example of mold from a leak not being covered by insurance.

Technically, mold from a leaky roof caused by wind knocking something onto it and causing damage could be considered a legit claim.

Insurers, however, may not cover mold from a leak that was there for about a year, and you did nothing to fix it.

As far as your insurance is concerned, the difference between these two instances is cause and intent. Something damaging your roof through no fault of your own (like wind or hail) could be considered random and sudden.

Having a leak and doing nothing to combat it until a year later isn’t. Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover negligence or neglect.

If something needs repair and you didn’t take steps to fix it, the mold is technically because of your inaction.

None of this is to say that you deliberately didn’t take action to fix the leak. But rather, your insurance likely won’t cover long-term and ongoing issues that cause damage caused by age or lack of attendance.

Sometimes damage can occur that you’re not aware of. Therefore, it’s best to schedule roof inspections. You’ll then know if there’s something that needs your attention before it becomes a problem.

Flood Damage

It makes sense to assume your insurance will protect you from mold caused by flooding. An act of nature like flooding isn’t something you can prevent, after all.

As it turns out, it’s not that simple. Remember, home insurance covers sudden occurrences. Flooding isn’t under the umbrella of coverable perils because it’s a gradual process.

If you live in an area prone to flooding, invest in a flood or hurricane insurance policy.

Preexisting Damage

Home insurance coverage doesn’t include preexisting mold damage either. If there was mold in your home before you bought it, you’re responsible for the removal.

Some states in the US don’t require you to tell a buyer that there’s mold in the home before selling it. South Carolina, for example, has no laws requiring you to disclose this information.

That said, it’s good practice to have any property you intend to buy or sell inspected for mold. You’ll know if there are any fungal infections you need to take care of before risking your or someone else’s health.

Stay Prepared With Homeowners’ Insurance

Home insurance for mold damage may differ depending on providers and policies. The one constant is selective approval for those damages.

Most insurance policies don’t cover many kinds of mold damage, and mold caused by flooding or neglect are not eligible claims.

Unfortunately, a long history caused by previous claims has made it so payoffs for mold damages are hard to get approved.

Thankfully, the Oliver L. E. Soden Agency can help you with all your insurance needs, and make sure you understand exactly what you’re covered for. If there’s something about insurance you want to know, contact us and we’ll provide the answers.