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Mold Can Mess Up Your Homeowner’s Insurance

by EINSURANCE

Black grout can be a fashion statement, but if your bathroom tile is starting to look like an out-of-control science experiment, it’s time to face facts. You have a mold issue and you need to deal with it ASAP. Mold is a fungus and its microscopic spore will spread rapidly. All it needs is moisture and a host. The moisture can come from high indoor humidity,flooding or a leak. The host can be anything from your clothing and carpet to the drywall in your home.

Think you’re covered for mold damage? Better read the fine print in your homeowners insurance policy. Since the early 2000s when America saw a rash of mold claims, many states have allowed limits on mold
coverage. The exact limit will vary, but generally coverage is capped between $1,000 and $10,000 for remediation and repair. But that coverage will undoubtedly come with exclusions, meaning the scope of coverage will depend on the source of the moisture that let the mold take hold.

Usually, if the mold resulted from an accident like a burst pipe, even a policy with a mold remediation exclusion may pick up the cost of repair and clean-up. But if the mold is the result of poor maintenance or neglect on your part, forget about it. You can, however, purchase a separate rider for mold remediation. Premiums will vary depending on where you live (a humid climate like Florida will cost more than Arizona) and other factors like how old your home is. Newer homes tend to be built with better water-proofing and mold-resistant materials.

Mold that comes about after storm or seasonal flooding won’t be covered, either. For that, you need separate flood insurance.

Many insurance companies are now antsy about writing policies for homes with a history of mold-related claims.That’s why you want to focus on prevention and early, aggressive elimination. Mold never sleeps, so
take some proactive steps to avoid having a mold claim denied. Use air conditioners, dehumidifiers and exhaust fans to control moisture. Regularly inspect hoses and fittings on sinks, toilets and appliances. Keep an eye on places where water can enter your home such as roof leaks, cracks in foundations, crumbling
caulking and paint breaches. Don’t carpet bathrooms, basements and other wet areas. Use paints with mold-inhibitors and clean mold-prone areas with bleach.

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