Does My Policy Cover Mold?

Thu Aug 16 2018

Does your home insurance policy help with mold clean up? It depends on what caused the mold – and your policy.

Mold happens. That’s a fact of life, as anyone who hasn’t finished a bowl of grapes in time knows. But when it happens to your home, it can lead to dangerous and unhealthy conditions, as well as high clean-up costs.

The good news: many homeowners insurance policies cover mold damage, at least to a certain extent. Here, we’ll look at common types of coverage and how you can minimize the risk of mold taking over your home.

Mold Coverage in Homeowners Insurance

As we’ve mentioned before (and will again), every home insurance policy is different. If you’re interested in your policy’s mold coverage (or lack thereof), you’ll have to dig it out and read the fine print (or call Kin).

The policies Kin sells offer some coverage for mold damage – specifically, it’s described as “limited” coverage for “fungi, mold, wet or dry rot, or bacteria.” Our policies typically offer:

  • Up to $10,000 of coverage for losses to your home or property.
  • Up to $50,000 of coverage for damage to a third party because of exposure to fungi, wet or dry rot, yeast, or bacteria (e.g., if a guest inhaled mold spores at your house and got sick as a result).

On the face of it, this sounds pretty good: the average cost of mold remediation in the United States is $2,233, with a “high-end” job costing about $6,000, though costs fluctuate somewhat by region. But generally, the coverage limits listed above should be adequate for a “typical” mold remediation job.

But there may be some exceptions to that coverage.

For example, some policies only cover mold damage if the damage results from a covered property peril. In other words, the insurance will only cover the mold if it was caused by a type of damage your home insurance already covers.

That means mold from external flooding would not be covered.

In some cases, insurance policies also exclude mold coverage if the mold occurred because you didn’t properly maintain your home. For example, if your windows weren’t fitted properly and let in excess condensation, and that led to mold growth, your insurance might not pay to repair the damage.

And lastly, your insurance won’t cover mold damage that was already in your home before you purchased the policy.

The best way to understand exactly which kinds of water and mold damage your home insurance covers is to get on the phone with your insurance provider. It’s probably smart to have a copy of your policy handy, too, so they can point you to the pertinent sections and explain what everything means.

Types of Water Damage Home Insurance Can Cover

Typical homeowners policies cover water damage from the following:

  • Burst pipes
  • Household appliances that malfunction or flood
  • Water that gets in because of a covered event (like a tree falling on your roof)
  • (Sometimes) Water and sewage that backs up into the house

If these types of water damage cause mold and your policy offers mold coverage, it may pay for mold remediation. Home insurance does NOT cover damage from floodwaters. For that protection, you need flood insurance, which may offer coverage for mold caused by surge water.

Preventing Mold in Your Home

The good news about mold is that prevention is largely a matter of standard home maintenance. That means:

  • Keeping your roof updated and watertight.
  • Caulking cracks that could let water in.
  • Updating windows and doors as needed to prevent leaks.
  • Maintaining plumbing and appliances that use water.
  • Repairing damage you see when it’s minor.

That last point is important: mold damage is, at the beginning, mostly an aesthetic problem. But over time, it can weaken the infrastructure of your home and lead to serious damage or even injuries. So as with most home maintenance projects, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.