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Home insurance covers mold damage, but only if it was caused by a "covered peril." Learn what mold damage is covered and what will be left up to you to repair.

Mold Insurance

Homeowners insurance provides protection against a lot of different things and mold is one of them.

Mold can be found almost everywhere and will grow indoors where there is moisture. But your insurance policy will cover it only when the mold damage is the result of a covered peril.

Therefore, it is always best to contact your insurance company and ask them what they cover. Also, read your home insurance policy carefully and make sure that there are no surprises waiting for you at the end.

Here's everything to help you decide what kind of coverage you need and whether your homeowners insurance covers mold damage.

KEY TAKEAWAYS
  • Home insurance covers mold damage if it was caused by a "covered peril". Otherwise, an insurance company will likely not cover mold damage.
  • Your home insurance won’t cover you for mold damage if mold forms in your shower or a burst pipe in your basement goes unnoticed and results in mold.
  • Mold endorsements will cost you more if you live in humid areas and your home is made with materials more prone to mold.

Does homeowners insurance cover mold removal?

Whether home insurance covers mold removal depends on the damage, policy and insurance company.

"Frequency of coverage is difficult to answer. Coverage will vary by carrier and individual policy. Most carriers that do offer mold coverage have limits that typically start around $2,500 to $5,000 and can go up from there; it depends on the individual policy and what the customer is willing to pay for from a premium standpoint," Ragsdale said.

One situation in which a home insurance company will cover the insurance claim is during winter. For instance, a home insurance company will likely cover water damage caused by an ice dam because it falls under the "covered peril and timing" part of your policy.

"If a leak occurs but goes unattended for an extended period of time and mold begins to grow, it may not be covered. However, if an ice dam forms in the winter, water leaks into the attic for a short period of time and mold begins to form before the damage becomes apparent, then it may be covered. Mold coverage is strictly determined by the investigating adjuster," Ragsdale said.

Basically, homeowners insurance will protect you if there is damage to the actual home or its contents. There are exceptions, though.

Typically, the home insurance company only covers what your policy lists. Some covered peril instances are standard on policies, such as fire and vandalism coverage, but you can add additional coverage to your insurance policy. Mold mitigation insurance coverage may be an option.

Some issues usually not covered by home insurance and will likely prove unsuccessful as a mold claim include damage from a flood, sewer backup or water seeping from the ground.

How to make a mold insurance claim

Once you find the mold, the first thing you need to do is not touch it. Next, make sure you document it with photos.

Steps to take when you spot a mold problem

  • Stay out of affected areas.
  • Turn off the HVAC system and fans.
  • Restrict access to the area with mold. If the mold is contained in one room or area with a door, close the door or cabinet to help with containment.
  • Contact your home insurance agent and/or a professional for mold remediation services.

What not to do when you see mold

  • Don't touch or disturb the mold.
  • Don't blow air across any surfaces with visible or suspected mold growth.
  • Don't attempt to dry the area yourself.
  • Don't spray bleach or other disinfectants on the mold.
  • Don't paint over it.

Filing a homeowners insurance claim for mold

The next step would be to review your homeowners insurance policy to see if it covers mold damage. You can also contact your insurance company about the coverage.

If you file a home insurance claim, your insurance agent or an adjuster will contact you and inspect the damage as part of the insurance claims process.

Don't forget to be your own advocate. If your mold damage claim is allowed, make sure only the applicable charges go toward the mold remediation limit. For example, if your laminate floor costs $2 per square foot to replace without mold and $2.50 per square foot to remove with mold, only $.50 per square foot should be charged to your mold limit. This will allow your mold remediation dollars to go further.

Don't be intimidated by the home insurance company, either. Most times, mold remediation companies have the expertise to assist in filing your claim.

"If the mold damage is covered, [we] can handle all the aspects of the remediation and submit billing to the carrier on behalf of the policyholder,” Ragsdale says. “We can help a policyholder through the claims process but have no authority over what is covered or not."

Does homeowners insurance cover black mold?

Whether homeowners insurance covers black mold will depend on the source of the mold.

Did you notice in the middle of a bathroom renovation that your bathtub had been leaking and mold grew? Homeowners insurance wouldn’t cover that because it would be considered negligent maintenance.

A standard homeowners insurance policy also likely wouldn’t cover mold damage caused by a leaky pipe under a kitchen sink. Insurance companies expect you to perform regular home maintenance to avoid these kinds of problems. A homeowners insurance company could say that you neglected to remediate the problem, which caused mold to grow.

Let's say, though, that there was a fire and the water used to douse the flames by firefighters caused an environment that caused mold to grow. In that case, your homeowners insurance policy would likely cover the mold damage. Home insurance companies will cover sudden and accidental damage, but don't generally cover mold damage that could have been prevented.

Who pays for mold remediation?

Even if you file a successful claim with your insurance company for mold remediation, chances are it won't cover it all.

The process of remediating mold from a property is a time-consuming one. It’s also an expensive one, with the average cost ranging from $15,000 to $30,000, according to EC Insurance in Oklahoma. To mitigate these costs, insurers have sub-limits.

"Typically, insurance policies will state a maximum limit of between $1,000 and $10,000 for mold remediation. Depending on the company you're with, there may be an option to increase that coverage. However, if you live in a mold-prone state where there is a lot of rain, this coverage can be expensive or nearly impossible to obtain,” Ragsdale says.

And remember, there is no small way to handle mold other than full remediation, so don't cut corners.

"There really is no shortcut to mold remediation. The source of the water/moisture must be corrected, non-salvageable materials will need to be removed, and the remaining affected surfaces will need to be cleaned,” Ragsdale says.

Frequently asked questions

Is mold remediation covered by insurance?

This depends on the reason for the mold. If your insurance policy covers the remediation, check limits and sub-limits. It is likely the mold remediation will cost more than the policies limit.

I had a leaky pipe that caused mold. Will my insurance cover it?

It is unlikely that your home insurance will cover the mold resulting from a leaky pipe unless it can be proven that the mold was not a result of negligence to fix the leak.

Is it okay to paint over mold?

It is not recommended to paint over mold. Proper mold remediation should be done to eliminate the mold issue.

How can I get insurance to cover mold?

Home insurance will typically only cover mold if it was the result of a covered peril and not the result of negligence. If a covered peril occurs, act quickly by contacting your insurance agent promptly to start the claims process. Document everything by taking notes, pictures and videos of the damage.

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