A common question we get from home owners here in Toronto is if mold removal is covered by their insurance policy. Usually this questions comes up immediately after discovery mold growing in their home. Unfortunately, there isn’t really a clear answer to this since it all depends on each individual homeowner’s policy. In general, if the damage is the result of a covered peril then the insurance company should take care of it.
When is Mold Covered By Homeowners Insurance?
If the mold damage is caused by something that is considered preventable, such as flooding, a leak, poor drainage or high levels of moisture and humidity then you’re likely on your own. The reason for this is that most insurance companies believe these are preventable maintenance issues which will only lead to mold damage if they are neglected.
On the bright side, many insurance policies will cover mold damage if it is caused by covered perils such as lightning/storms, fire, theft, vandalism, falling objects, a traffic mishap and ice/snow. The damage may also be taken care of if it results from the malfunction of a household appliance, heating, plumbing, air conditioning, sprinkler systems and/or a frozen water pipe.
Basically, these are accidental situations which a homeowner doesn’t really have any control over and couldn’t have done anything to prevent via maintenance etc. For instance, if a water pipe bursts or your washing machine breaks down and floods your home then you aren’t responsible.
It’s important that you report all situations and home accidents to your insurer immediately since mold may grow later on. If your basement is flooded for any reason and you notice mold a year or two later you may have a hard time receiving any assistance if you didn’t report the initial flooding incident.
Therefore, if a water pipe bursts and you don’t report it for several weeks then you likely won’t be covered.
In today’s age of high-tech gadgetry you should take photographs and/or videos of any water damage as soon as possible and submit them to the insurer. In addition, most companies won’t cover the damage through negligence such as inadequate ventilation or not replacing your old worn out roofing or fixing a leaky basement or window etc. This is why it’s important to take care of regular home maintenance issues.
Also, be aware that most standard insurance policies don’t cover mold damage which was caused by a flooding river/lake etc. You may be able to purchase flood insurance though and this could cover any mold damage that results as long as there was no negligence on the homeowner’s part and you tried to clean up as much as possible following the flood.
Call Your Homeowners Insurance Policy Before You Get Mold
The best way to find out if your insurance policy covers mold is to simply ask the insurance company. Request the information in writing and if it isn’t covered you may ask if you can have it included as an endorsement/rider or purchase a separate policy for it. In most cases it will cost more, but could well be worth it in the long run. Some policies will also cover living and hotel expenses if your home needs to be evacuated while being repaired. In addition, some insurers may cap the amount they will pay out for the damage, such as $10,000 etc.
You may also have to pay more or may be turned down for coverage if your home has submitted a mold claim in the past. For instance, if the previous owners had mold problems and submitted a claim it means there’s a greater risk of mold in the home.
One of the last things you want to have happen is to receive a huge bill for mold removal when you had the chance to cover it via an insurance policy. For your peace of mind, it’s highly recommended that you contact your insurance company to find out what exactly is and isn’t covered in your policy when it comes to removing mold damage.
About Restoration Mate
Restoration Mate is a mold removal and testing company in Toronto. We provide 24-hour emergency response for water, fire and storm related damage, which can often lead to the growth of mold in the home. You can contact us here for a free estimate.