Does Your Homeowner Policy Cover Mold?
By Steven David Venook
In general, NO!
Most standard Florida policy’s exclude MOLD under Section 1- Perils Insured Against – We do not insure, however for loss: 2. Caused by: (e.) Any of the following: (3) Smog, rust or other corrosion, mold, wet, or dry rot;
Did you read all the fine print? Probably not!
The real answer to … Is mold covered? Is probably, YES! But it depends on your circumstances: What type of insurance policy do you have? What company wrote your policy? What are the particular facts that led to your mold? What is your insurance company’s attitude? Nothing in this world is that simple and easy, is it?
What Do We Know About Mold
We know, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, “for those who are sensitive, mold spores can bring on allergic symptoms such as:
- Respiratory problems, such as wheezing, and difficulty in breathing
- Nasal and sinus congestion
- Burning and watering eyes
- Dry, hacking cough
- Sore throat
- Nose and throat irritation
- Shortness of breath
- Skin irritation
What does the CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL (CDC) and the National Center for Environmental Heath say about mold in your home (those containing MYCROTOXINS)? “Inside homes, MYCROTOXINS can cause unique or rare health conditions such as pulmonary hemorrhage or memory loss.”
To be fair and unbiased, not all molds are bad and, mold has probably been around since the beginning of time. Where would we be without penicillin? The question is do you want high levels of toxic mold in your home, business, building, or workplace? Probably not!
What position do the insurance companies take against mold?
My experience is that most companies don’t want to pay for mold remediation because it is very costly. The companies often take the position that you were negligent in some way, allowing this problem to occur and fester. Therefore, since you did not mitigate your damages per your insurance policy, your claim is then denied.
Remember, the burden of proof always falls on you the consumer to prove that mold is present from a covered cause of loss and, be prepared to fight to get it properly covered and abated. This usually requires the bringing together of many experts, such as a licensed industrial hygienist, licensed mold remediation company, licensed general contractor, inventory specialist, and possibly more. Is it worth all that effort? Well, how important is your family’s health?
What will the future insurance environment look like?
Only those with crystal balls can be sure. But I can tell you that the insurance companies are currently lobbying to put limits on the cost of mold abatement, or not covering mold abatement at all. Certain surplus line insurance carriers have already put limits as low as $2,500 per claim to mitigate your mold damages; this includes your additional living expense while you cannot live in your home. Whereas, the average mold abatement can cost from $10,000 to $100,000 and take months to get resolved. What is the message here? Ask your agents to tell you what really is covered and, always ask a lot of questions!
Remember … the bigger the claim the more you need the advocacy of a licensed Public Adjuster.