Insurance companies can take multiple approaches to mold coverage

By Carol Ostrow | | Jul 2, 2018

Hurricane or flood insurance is likely to cover mold damage when clearly storm- or flood-related.   Contributed image

Among potential storm or water damage consequences, mold ranks among the least desirable outcomes to grapple with; but when it does occur, there’s no denying that it must be dealt with expediently and professionally.

Mold problems don’t always spring from storm damage. “Any instance of excess moisture could cause mold in a home, whether it’s caused by leaks, condensation or humidity,” Kevin Turner, director of insurance product management for Chicago’s Kin Insurance Inc., said. “For example, moisture caused by leaking pipes or rainwater seeping into unsealed basements or windows could cause mold."

Experts advise safeguarding against moisture before it occurs with preventive measures — ensuring that basements are waterproofed and windows are sealed correctly, for example. To prevent mold, Turner conveyed, “combatting moisture in the home is key.”

Emphasizing the critical importance of home maintenance, Turner pointed out that proper ventilation is especially essential in high-moisture areas like bathrooms and kitchens. Moreover, homeowners are unequivocally held accountable for keeping their property in conditions unfavorable to mold — in other words, clean and dry.

“Negligence is not a covered peril,” Turner said. “Homeowners are responsible for maintaining functional condition of their home.”

If and when mold does appear, the nature of coverage depends on the problem’s origin. If the source was a burst pipe, a standard homeowner’s policy will cover the predicament; but “for mold caused by flood damage, the homeowner would need flood insurance to help pay for those repairs,” Turner said. Typically, he added, hurricane or flood insurance is likely to cover mold damage when clearly storm- or flood-related.

And of course, if your property suffers the setback of burst pipes or a malfunctioning sump pump, coverage usually reverts back to your regular policy.

So breathe easy and know that if you perform due diligence by your abode, mold is unlikely to appear — and even less likely to hamper homeowner’s insurance coverage as long as the right precautions in place.

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