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If you’ve ever experienced a flood or water leak in your home, chances are you were concerned about the growth of mold. While mold that’s actively growing in your home is dangerous to your health, it can also seriously damage your home if it’s not taken care of. Read on to find out how mold grows in your home, if homeowners insurance covers mold and how you can remove and prevent it.
How does mold grow in your home?
Mold is found just about everywhere, but it can actively grow on surfaces in your home that have been exposed to moisture. That includes ceilings, walls, floors, windows, insulation, HVAC systems and air ducts, and even your furniture and clothes. Mold can also grow behind your walls if you’ve had a water leak. If an area of your home has experienced excessive moisture, commonly from a flood, humidity or a water leak, there is a potential for mold growth.
There are many different types of mold, and some are more harmful to your home and health than others. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some species produce toxins and can cause people to become ill from exposure and others can cause allergic reactions, including asthma attacks. You may hear harmful mold referred to as “black mold.”
When mold is actively growing in your home, it can damage the surface it’s growing on, requiring repairs. Additionally, mold releases spores into the air which can be problematic to breathe in, causing allergic reactions to many people. You’ll want to take care of your mold problem as soon as you detect it to avoid getting sick and to prevent home damage from worsening.
Does homeowners insurance cover mold?
Whether or not your mold damage is covered by your homeowners insurance largely depends on the cause of mold growth. Generally, homeowners insurance companies won’t cover mold damage if it was caused by something breaking or leaking due to your failure to properly maintain your home or something that could have been prevented. Issues that could’ve been prevented includes any humidity issues that were ongoing or slow leaks you neglected to fix in your home that allowed water to get in and mold to grow.
If water gets in your home because of damage from a covered peril, your mold damage may be covered. Covered perils that may cause mold damage are damage from wind or hail, ice dams on your roof, burst pipes, water heater leaks or washing machine leaks caused by machine malfunction.
It is very costly to repair damage caused by mold. It can cost hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on the severity of the damage. It’s important that you check with your insurance company to determine if mold damage is covered under your home insurance policy. It may be treated differently depending on your company and policy. Some companies may even exclude mold damage from coverage.
What to do if you find mold in your home
Because there are so many species of mold, it’s important that you determine the type of mold you have growing in your home to figure out if it’s harmful and to what degree. You’ll want to have it removed from your home as soon as you can.
The following steps can be a helpful guide if you find a mold problem in your home:
- Have a professional evaluate your home and test the air quality to determine how many mold spores are present in the air. The professional may be able to advise you on how to remove the mold and how bad the damage is to your home.
- As soon as you notice mold in your home, you should identify what has caused it to grow. You may have a water leak or high humidity issue. Resolve the issue as soon as you can and dry the water. This step is important in order to prevent the mold from growing back after you remove it.
- Next, you can contact your homeowners insurance company to find out if the removal of mold is covered by your policy, and if it is, you can move forward with filing a claim.
- The next step is to take care of the mold and remove it. If the mold growth is minor, you may be able to carefully remove it yourself. If you’re hiring professionals to complete the removal, make sure to get estimates from multiple companies. Be cautious when around mold since it can be very dangerous and cause harm to your health.
- Once the mold is removed and the source of the mold is repaired, have the professional who tested the mold come back to your home to check the air levels again to make sure they are safe.
How to prevent mold from growing in your home
While it’s common to find mold in your home, there are ways you can prevent it. If the humidity in your home is high — above 30 to 50 percent — you may have a chance for mold to grow. If you can keep the humidity in your home in check, that may help prevent mold growth. Purchasing a dehumidifier can help with humidity.
The bathroom is a common place for mold to grow because of steam from the shower. Make sure you use a fan in your bathroom to remove the moisture and dry the area quickly. Other areas of your home that may experience moisture should also be properly ventilated: your kitchen, laundry room, basement and attic.
If you experience a leak or flood in your home, the best way to prevent mold damage is to repair the leak as soon as you can and make sure all the water is dried up as soon as possible. Keep an eye on your water bills. If you see an unexpected spike in the bill, that may be an indicator that you have a leak somewhere in your home. Water may be able to get into your home during a storm if you have cracks in your foundation. Be sure to repair these to avoid water seeping into your basement from heavy rain. Additionally, make sure to clear out all gutters and drains.
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The content on this site is offered only as a public service to the web community and does not constitute solicitation or provision of legal advice. This site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from an insurance company or an attorney licensed or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. You should always consult a suitably qualified attorney regarding any specific legal problem or matter. The comments and opinions expressed on this site are of the individual author and may not reflect the opinions of the insurance company or any individual attorney.