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Answering the Question: Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold?

By Mike Heuer

Few perils are more dangerous than mold contamination in homes. The peril is silent, often times odorless and can cause illnesses in some people. While no deaths have been attributed to mold inside homes, it is known to cause illnesses among those susceptible to respiratory disease and other problems and can be a very costly condition to repair when discovered.

Mold proliferates in homes where it has moisture, oxygen, a food source and a surface area enabling it to grow and expand. If it goes unnoticed or untreated, mold can cause a great deal of damage in homes as well as cause health problems. And that leads many people to ask: Does homeowners insurance cover mold?

The answer is not a simple one. If the cause is leaking pipes or other water source, the home insurer might declare it the result of an ongoing condition of which the homeowner should have been aware and did nothing to correct. When an insurer declares a policyholder to be negligent or a “moral hazard” for not correcting a known and potentially damaging or dangerous condition, coverage will be denied. That could lead to a lengthy legal battle or costly repairs – and quite possibly both.

When mold impacts a home, it most often is found under carpeting, on or within walls, floors, ceilings, fabrics and inside ductworks. When found inside the ducts of heating, ventilation and cooling systems, it can lead to health issues by spreading spores more rapidly and infect people with respiratory problems.

When mold contamination is suspected and even found in some areas of a home, a thorough inspection is necessary to find and remove it to ensure the home remains safe and structurally sound. If mold is allowed to proliferate, it can weaken wooden support beams and other structural components that might need to be replaced. It also can damage extensive sections of ceilings, walls and floors that also might need to be replaced if the contamination is bad enough. And that means a great deal of expense might be required to correct the situation and restore the home and its original condition.

Correcting a mold situation might require replacing impacted sections of walls, drywalls, ceilings and flooring materials, such a carpeting and subflooring. Using a dehumidifier will help reduce humidity levels in homes and help to prevent additional growth while eliminating a common source of moisture within homes. But with extensive repair, repainting and other work required, the cost of dealing with mold contamination can be great and, once again, cause homeowners to ask: Does homeowners insurance cover mold?

Many home insurance plans will cover mold contamination, but there might be exclusions or limits that apply. To be certain, homeowners should read their insurance policies with great care. Some insurers exclude all forms of mold contamination from coverage while others will provide protection but might limit it to occurrences, such as burst water pipes or other internal flooding causes. Others might require an endorsement and additional fee to provide insurance protection.