Does Home Insurance Cover Mold (and When)?

Kevin Payne
Written byKevin Payne
Kevin Payne
Kevin Payne
  • 5+ years writing insurance, travel, and personal finance content

  • Founder of FamilyMoney Adventure blog

Kevin is a seasoned writer who leverages his love of budgeting and all things personal finance to create informative, thoroughly researched insurance and money content.

Featured in

media logomedia logomedia logo
Ashley Cox
Edited byAshley Cox
Headshot of Managing Editor Ashley Cox
Ashley CoxManaging Editor
  • 7+ years in content creation and management

  • 5+ years in insurance and personal finance content

Ashley is a seasoned personal finance editor who’s produced a variety of digital content, including insurance, credit cards, mortgages, and consumer lending products.

Featured in

media logomedia logomedia logomedia logo

Updated December 15, 2022 at 11:00 AM PST

Advertiser Disclosure

At Insurify, our goal is to help customers compare insurance products and find the best policy for them. We strive to provide open, honest, and unbiased information about the insurance products and services we review. Our hard-working team of data analysts, insurance experts, insurance agents, editors and writers, has put in thousands of hours of research to create the content found on our site.

We do receive compensation when a sale or referral occurs from many of the insurance providers and marketing partners on our site. That may impact which products we display and where they appear on our site. But it does not influence our meticulously researched editorial content, what we write about, or any reviews or recommendations we may make. We do not guarantee favorable reviews or any coverage at all in exchange for compensation.

Why you can trust Insurify: Comparing accurate insurance quotes should never put you at risk of spam. We earn an agent commission only if you buy a policy based on our quotes. Our editorial team follows a rigorous set of editorial standards and operates independently from our insurance partners. Learn more.

Homeowners insurance generally covers mold if it’s caused by a covered peril, such as a burst pipe or leaky appliance. But there are exceptions, and it’s a good idea to check your policy to ensure you’re covered.

Issues with mold in the home can occur quickly, especially when your home has water damage. If you don’t take care of mold and water damage quickly, it can lead to thousands of dollars in repairs.

Keep reading to learn more about when mold is and isn’t covered, how to file an insurance claim, and how to identify, treat, and prevent mold in your home.

When does home insurance cover mold?

Whether mold is covered under your homeowners insurance generally depends on the cause. Homeowners insurance policies typically cover mold caused by events covered under the policy.

Some insurance providers limit how much they’ll pay for mold removal. You could end up paying money out of pocket, even if the mold damage is covered under your policy. Here are some mold causes that homeowners insurance may cover:

Mold from a leaky appliance

Most policies will cover mold damage caused by a leaky appliance. If your dishwasher breaks, causing a leak, and mold develops on your floor, your policy would kick in to cover all or some of the cost, depending on the extent of the damage.

Mold from a broken water heater

Your homeowners policy may also cover damages caused by a broken water heater. If your water heater bursts and floods your basement, your policy will likely cover any mold that develops as a result of the water damage.

Mold from a frozen or burst pipe

When temperatures drop, pipes are susceptible to freezing, potentially causing them to burst. A burst pipe can lead to flooding and mold infestation.

Mold from water damage caused by extinguishing a fire

House fires can cause catastrophic damage to your home. So can firefighters’ efforts to extinguish the fire with a hose, which can lead to dampness and mold. Damages from extinguishing a fire are typically covered under standard homeowners policies.

Mold from melting snow or ice on the roof or by ice dams

Homeowners policies generally only cover water damage from above, like ice or snow from your roof. Your home may develop ice dams, which are formations of ice that can build up around the edges of your roof, blocking water from reaching your gutters. Trapped water may eventually find its way into your home. Your insurance policy may cover mold that develops from this water damage.

See Also: Home Insurance Quote Comparison

When does home insurance not cover mold?

Homeowners insurance policies don’t cover mold damage in several instances, especially where there’s negligence on the homeowner’s part. Standard homeowners policies generally don’t cover mold damage from the following:

Poorly ventilated rooms

Rooms with little or no ventilation are susceptible to moisture, which can lead to mold infestation.

Good to know

Ventilation is key to controlling moisture in a home, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Controlling moisture improves a home’s energy efficiency and comfort, reduces heating and cooling bills, and can prevent mold from growing.[1]

Poorly sealed windows and doors

Windows and doors that don’t seal properly can let in water and humidity that can cause mold to grow.

Flooding

Floods typically aren’t covered under standard homeowners policies. Your insurance company may offer separate flood insurance that may cover damages from floodwater. You can also purchase a flood insurance policy through the National Flood Insurance Program.[2]

Sinkholes

Sinkholes are also generally not covered under standard policies. Some providers offer supplemental sinkhole insurance.

Melting snow on the ground

Homeowners insurance typically doesn’t cover water damage from the ground, which can lead to mold. Supplemental flood insurance could protect your home from this type of damage.

Negligence

Your coverage may be limited if you don’t perform necessary repairs and maintenance in a timely manner. If a leaky faucet left unrepaired causes mold, for example, your policy may not cover the damages.

Sump pump failure or a backed-up drain, sewer, or septic tank

These events typically fall outside the scope of a standard homeowners policy, but many insurance companies offer separate sump pump and water backup coverage.

Read More: Home Insurance: The Easy Guide to Forms and Endorsements

Compare Home Insurance Quotes Instantly

Secure. Free. Easy-to-use.
Based on 3,806+ reviews
4.8/5
Shopper Approved
ProgressiveLiberty MutualTravelers

How do you file a homeowners insurance claim for mold?

The claim process depends on the insurance company. Contact your insurance agent or customer service about the damage as soon as you spot it. They can walk you through filing a claim, as well as your policy’s coverage limits and your deductible.

Here are some general guidelines to follow when filing an insurance claim for mold damage.

1. Stop the leak

Mold can start to form quickly. Stop whatever leak is causing water damage in your home. Locate and turn off your home’s main water shut-off valve to prevent more water damage and flooding.

2. Document mold and damages

Use your mobile device to take photos and videos of the damage and mold that has grown. Create a thorough, written inventory of every damaged item.

3. Clean up the area

Clean up any remaining water. You can also use a dehumidifier or fans to dry out the damaged area. Move wet items to another secure location to dry. Depending on the extent of the water damage, you may need to hire a professional to remove the water. Contact your insurance provider for guidance on where to go for cleanup help.

4. File a claim

Your insurance agent can provide guidance on how to submit a claim and track its progress. Many insurance providers allow you to file claims online or through mobile insurance apps, although some may require you to contact them directly by phone.

Check Out: Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Roof Leaks?

5. Make temporary repairs

Most of the repairs from water damage occur after claims are approved, but you may need to perform necessary home repairs to prevent further damage. For example, if your water heater bursts and floods your finished basement, you should remove the wet carpeting after thoroughly documenting the damage.

How to identify mold in your home

Mold can grow almost anywhere there is moisture. You can usually identify mold issues in your home by sight or smell. Mold typically appears as fuzzy patches that increase in size over time. It also produces a musty odor that’s hard to miss.

Since mold can grow anywhere, it may grow out of sight. Looking behind or underneath surfaces may be necessary to root out mold infestations, including under carpets and flooring, behind cabinets, and inside walls, ceilings, and other areas.[3]

Some areas of the home are more susceptible to mold growth because of the moisture present. These include:

  • Bathroom tiles

  • Shower stalls and tubs

  • Shower curtains

  • Toilets

  • Window and door seals

  • Refrigerator doors

  • Air conditioning units

Mold can also cause allergic reactions in some people. Symptoms can include a runny nose, itchy eyes, nasal congestion, and other issues. If you experience these symptoms more frequently in your home than outside of it, mold could be present in your home and causing the allergic reaction.

How to prevent mold growth

The best way to deal with mold in your home is to prevent it from occurring. While avoiding mold in extreme events may be impossible, due diligence around the home can help manage moisture issues that can lead to mold. Follow these tips to help combat moisture in your home:[4]

  • Clean up leaks and spills quickly.

  • Have your air conditioner inspected annually.

  • Inspect your roof and gutters regularly.

  • Look for moisture developing on windows, doors, pipes, and other surfaces.

  • Make sure the ground around your home slopes away from the house to avoid water collecting around the foundation.

  • Make sure your downspout is directed away from your home.

  • Vent appliances like clothes dryers and stoves outside when possible.

  • Use exhaust fans when necessary.

  • Run your bathroom fan when showering.

  • Use air conditioners and dehumidifiers to control the humidity level in your home.

  • Perform preventative maintenance on appliances that use water.

  • Avoid carpet in damp areas, like bathrooms and basements.

  • Don’t let water accumulate under houseplants.

How to get rid of mold

If you find mold in your home, your first job is to control the moisture issue that’s providing the environment for mold to grow. Identify and fix the source of the water damage or moisture. Then, you can remove the mold.

You can remove mold that’s visible on hard surfaces in your home with household cleaning products, soap, and water. You can also remove mold with a mixture of bleach and water (1 cup of bleach to 1 gallon of water).[5] Take proper safety precautions when using bleach, ensuring fresh air is available to prevent eye, nose, and throat irritation. You should also consider wearing rubber gloves and a face mask whenever using bleach or cleaning mold.

For mold-infested areas larger than 10 square feet, follow Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mold remediation guidelines for schools and commercial buildings. For bigger jobs or hard-to-reach water damage, consider hiring a licensed contractor or a professional cleaning service to clean it up. Keep any receipts or invoices for cleaning supplies or services to turn in to your insurance provider if you decide to file a claim for the damage.

Mold damage FAQs

Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about mold damage.

  • Does flood insurance cover mold?

    Private flood insurance may cover mold caused by flooding, depending on your insurer. But if you have flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program, your policy won’t cover mold damage. Flood insurance is separate from a standard homeowners insurance policy. Check with your insurance provider to see if it offers flood insurance if you live in an area considered at high risk for flooding.

  • How quickly can mold grow from water damage?

    Mold can start to grow on a damp surface within 24 to 48 hours, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.[6] If you experience water damage in your home, remove excess water and clean the area thoroughly to avoid mold growth.

  • How do you prevent mold after water damage?

    You can prevent mold after water damage occurs in your home by removing any excess water or wet items from the area. Use fans or dehumidifiers to remove the remaining moisture from the area. Follow up by cleaning the affected area thoroughly to prevent a mold infestation.

  • How do you remove black mold?

    Black mold is a type of toxic mold known to cause allergies and other medical conditions. Because of its dangerous nature, you should wear protective gear whenever dealing with black mold or hire professionals to remove it. Treat the area with a commercial all-purpose cleaner, mold and mildew remover, a bleach-and-water mixture, or dish soap. You can also make a natural DIY cleaning solution by combining one part baking soda with five parts distilled white vinegar and five parts water in a spray bottle.

    Spray the affected area, and let the cleaning mixture sit for 30 minutes to an hour. Scrub the mold-affected area with a sponge and cleaning solution. Allow the area to dry, and repeat the process as needed until the mold is gone.

Compare Home Insurance Quotes Instantly

Secure. Free. Easy-to-use.
Based on 3,806+ reviews
4.8/5
Shopper Approved
ProgressiveLiberty MutualTravelers

Sources

  1. U.S. Department of Energy. "Moisture Control." Accessed December 15, 2022
  2. Federal Emergency Management Agency. "Flood Insurance." Accessed December 15, 2022
  3. New York State Department of Health. "Mold and Your Home: What You Need to Know." Accessed December 15, 2022
  4. Insurance Information Institute. "Proper Home Maintenance is The Best Defense Against Mold, Says The Insurance Information Institute -- Mold is Not Covered Under Standard Homeowners Insurance Policies." Accessed December 15, 2022
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "You Can Control Mold." Accessed December 15, 2022
  6. Federal Emergency Management Agency. "Dealing with mold and mildew in your flood-damaged home." Accessed December 15, 2022
Kevin Payne
Kevin Payne

Kevin Payne is a freelance writer and family travel and budget enthusiast behind FamilyMoneyAdventure.com. His work has been featured in Forbes Advisor, CreditCards.com, Bankrate, SlickDeals, Finance Buzz, The Ascent, Student Loan Planner, and more. Kevin lives in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife and four teenagers.

Ashley Cox
Edited byAshley CoxManaging Editor
Headshot of Managing Editor Ashley Cox
Ashley CoxManaging Editor
  • 7+ years in content creation and management

  • 5+ years in insurance and personal finance content

Ashley is a seasoned personal finance editor who’s produced a variety of digital content, including insurance, credit cards, mortgages, and consumer lending products.

Featured in

media logomedia logomedia logomedia logo