Mold is a big problem wherever you have a humid climate, and since we Floridians are surrounded on all three sides by water, occasionally have massive amounts of rainfall, and even tidal flooding with regular high tides, we have the perfect climate for mold to take root. Insurance companies have paid out millions in settlements, including a settlement to residents for mold that infested 450 units of a 452 unit luxury building in Bal Harbour. The final price tag for the settlement, mold remediation, and repairs was around $75 million.
Would I be Covered?
People like straight up or down answers, but the answer for this one is, “Well, that depends.” The origin of the mold is important, and most insurance companies explicitly do not cover mold that results from issues of neglected maintenance such as –
- Continuous seepage
- Repeated or ongoing leaks
- Condensation or high humidity in the home.
- Landscaping or property drainage issues.
So if your mold issue is rooted in one of these causes, it’s not going to be covered. If a pipe bursts suddenly, you may be covered for the immediate water damage, but unless your policy covers mold as a named peril, you’re going to have a hard time proving that the resulting water damage caused the mold. Likewise, you may be covered if your sump pump fails and causes water to back up, or if there’s a sewer backup.
Additionally, insurance companies are getting tired of paying out expensive claims and court settlements for mold, so many of them are trimming or even eliminating mold coverage. You need to read the fine print very closely to determine if you have any mold coverage. If you don’t have mold coverage, you could end up paying extra – a lot extra – for a rider or a standalone mold policy. Furthermore, if your home has had a prior claim for mold, you are going to find it next to impossible to get coverage. This can also be a problem when you go to sell the home.
How Can I Prevent Mold?
- Use ventilation systems in the bath, kitchen, and utility room – where moisture is higher.
- Add mold inhibitors to paint before use.
- Use both air conditioning and dehumidifiers, and maintain the regularly.
- Insulate colder surfaces such as pipes and windows to inhibit condensation.
- Maintain gutters and drains.
- Ditch the carpeting for smooth flooring that does not retain moisture.
- Repair leaks right away.
- Slant your landscaping away from your house.
There are a number of different ways to stop problems before they can start, and older homes may need more attention than newer ones. You may even want to do some preventative renovation using mold resistant products to replace those that are older and more likely to harbor mold. We also urge you to come and talk to an independent E&L insurance agent about your homeowner’s coverage. We can tailor a policy that will keep you covered front to back, and protect the investment you’ve made in your home.