Got Mold? Here’s What’s Covered Under Your Homeowner’s Insurance
Florida is known for many things due to its climate including, unfortunately, mold. All that is needed for mold to begin to grow is some spores, a source of food like wood or drywall, dark, warmth, oxygen, moisture like humidity or condensation, and time. Florida has an abundance of food, dark, warmth, oxygen, and moisture and thus, mold is a very real problem in the state.
Even though mold gave us penicillin, exposure to mold is not very good for humans and can cause mild allergic reactions including nasal congestion and wheezing to more serious reactions including fever, cough, asthma, and respiratory illness. Just about every home will have some form of mold in it, especially in the bathroom which tends to be the warmest and most humid place in the house.
When a mold problem in a home gets out of control or takes on a particularly toxic form, your ur homeowner’s policy may not give you the remedy you’re looking for. It is likely that the policy will cover mold, but only in very limited circumstances, most of which are related to the manner in which the mold shows up.
Remember that mold loves water and humidity and a home that has been flooded is a perfect petri dish for major mold colonization. Of course, most homeowner’s policies do not cover flood damage – including mold. If you have a flood insurance policy, it is possible that the mold arising out of the flood damage may also be covered.
Mold caused by long-term maintenance issues, such as failure to fix a leaky roof, is also usually not covered by the homeowner’s policy. The theory, of course, is that but for the homeowner’s failure to immediately address the leak, there would have been no mold.
Situations in which there was a sudden leak and accidental water incursion like from a burst pipe in a wall, the policy will usually cover the leak as well as the ensuing damage, including any mold that may pop up.
Even when the policy covers mold, however, the insurance companies have worked very hard to limit their exposure. Mold is notoriously expensive and difficult to get rid of and up until recently, insurance companies were still spending much more than they wanted to on remediation. This changed several years ago and now, insurers are allowed to cap their payments for mold to $10,000. It is worth investigating, however, whether to get additional mold coverage, particularly in Florida.
Of course, the best way to deal with mold is to prevent it which means keeping the humidity in the home lower than 50 percent if possible, fixing leaks and drips as soon as they are discovered, and routinely inspecting HVAC lines, water lines, pipes, window casements, and other areas in which leaks may spring and spurn mold. If you do find yourself with a mold problem, it is never a bad idea to consult with an attorney, like a personal injury lawyer West Palm Beach FL relies on, who is experienced and knowledgeable about mold claims against insurers.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from The Law Office of Eric H. Luckman, P.A. for their insight into mold, personal injury practice, and homeowner’s insurance.