Mold is everywhere, no matter if we feel like we are avoiding it at all costs. While you may feel like mold may never be a problem for you, it is always important to feel secure with the insurance company and policy you have. You never know what can happen in the future while under homeowners’ insurance and what type of coverage you may need, it is best to be overprepared when becoming a homeowner. There are all different kinds of mold, based on its makeup and it can appear in many different forms inside the home.
What is Mold Made Up Of?
Mold is made up of microscopic organisms that can be present both indoors and outdoors. Mushrooms, yeast, mildew, and mold are types of fungi that are needed to break down dead organic material and subsequently recycle decomposed organic nutrients into the soil and environment. In order for mold to grow and reproduce, moisture and a food source must be present. While moisture comes from a water source, any organic material such as wood, paper, leaves, or soil can furnish the food source. Mold growth on surfaces can often be seen in the form of discoloration that can range in color from orange to green to brown to black. Sometimes mold can even be white. Molds release tiny, lightweight spores that travel through the air.
Certain types of molds can produce toxins, called mycotoxins, that the mold uses to inhibit or prevent the growth of other organisms. It is believed that very specific environmental conditions are needed for mycotoxins to be produced. Currently, the specific conditions that cause mycotoxin production are not fully understood. The presence of toxic mold is serious, as mycotoxin exposure can be dangerous to your health. Scientists, doctors, and health specialists are still debating exactly what effect mycotoxin exposure has on specific health conditions.
How Can I Prevent Mold Growth?
Mold in your home is caused by moisture and can usually be found in damp, dark areas where moisture tends to accumulate. Potential avenues and hiding places for water leaks include:
- Laundry rooms
- Roofs, attics, and crawl spaces
- Windows and sliding glass doors
- Plumbing pipes
If water is not detected, it can accumulate over time causing an environment where mold can grow.
To prevent mold growth, it is important to manage normal areas of moisture in your home such as the bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room. Proper ventilation is an important component to drying common moisture. Regular drying and cleaning of wet areas in the home can greatly decrease mold growth. It is also important to periodically check those small hard to reach spaces, bleach down your bathrooms and avoid installing carpet in damp areas.
What Should I Do if I Have Found Mold in My Home?
It is important to immediately locate the source of moisture if you suspect mold damage. Once the water leakage and accumulation has stopped, the area must be thoroughly dried and then cleaned. In some instances, the contaminated areas and materials should be removed. Your homeowner’s policy may cover mold cleanup and damage to property caused by mold when the mold damage is considered to be the consequence of a covered peril. For instance, if a pipe bursts and floods an area of your house while you are on vacation, and mold is present on your return, the mold cleanup and property repair will most likely be covered if the water damage is covered under the policy. Contact your agent or company representative immediately if you experience water damage. Timely inspection and cleanup of water damage can help to minimize the growth of mold. As a general rule, mold and other problems caused due to lack of maintenance or wear and tear are not covered under a homeowner’s policy.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold?
Upon accepting and examining your claim, an adjuster or company representative may deny your claim stating the cost of mold detection, cleanup, and property repair are not covered under your policy. If this occurs, you should review your policy provisions and exclusions to see if you agree with the adjuster or company representative’s position. If your agent or company representative refuses to respond to a mold claim, or any other filed claim, then immediately contact your state’s department of insurance for assistance.
The cost of mold damage can range between $15,000 and $30,000; insurance policies have a maximum limit of $1,000 and $10,000 for mold clean up. Before filing a claim, consider the following:
- Mold may not be covered if your shower and bathtub have been leaky for years, if you failed to use a dehumidifier in a humid area, and if a natural disaster or storm causes flooding.
- Mold may be covered if your water heater ruptures and mold grows on the walls, if you have experienced a fire and water was used to get rid of it, if your kitchen floods due to the dishwasher.
Methods of mold cleanup vary upon the type of mold discovered. Testing the mold may be necessary if extensive damage is present to determine what type of mold you have. If mold damage is pervasive, you may need to hire a contractor that specializes in mold removal. Whether mold damage is covered or not, you can seek assistance from your agent or company representative on how to proceed with mold abatement. Do not be discourages, it is possible to get rid of mold.
- Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold? Value Penguin.
- Mold Contamination Insurance Coverage, Uphelp.