Not all mold rises to the level of concern seemingly warranted by media hysteria. Many thousands of mold varieties exist and experts classify them three ways, according to human responses to exposure: allergenic, pathogenic and toxigenic molds. People with allergies or asthma are most affected by allergenic molds. This type of mold can produce scratchy throats, eye and nose irritations and rashes. This is the most common variety of mold. Pathogenic molds can cause infections in those with weakened immune systems, but healthy people usually can resist infection. Toxigenic molds can cause serious health effects in almost anybody. These are the molds television news warns you about—most famously, black mold. Its effects can range from short-term irritation to immunosuppression and even cancer.
The majority of molds do not represent a mortal danger. However, it is fair to say that mold is not something you want in your home. Thus the real question is: Is mold clean-up covered by my homeowners policy? Unfortunately, the answer is: Probably not.
The standard homeowners policy is designed to protect against sudden and accidental loses. Mold commonly arises from long-term issues (e.g., ongoing water seepage, humidity problems, faulty drainage or condensation). Mold from any of these sources would be considered a “maintenance” problem and not covered ordinarily by a standard homeowners insurance policy.
On the other hand, mold that stems from burst pipes or similar incidents may be covered by your insurance policy. For more comprehensive mold coverage, some policies offer mold endorsements, which allow you to pay an additional premium in exchange for limited mold coverage. The trend, however, is away from coverage. Some insurance companies exclude coverage of mold-related damage completely, regardless of the source. Many more carriers write their policies to cap the amount of mold coverage or pay only for certain provisions, such as cleanup or testing.
If nothing else, this article should make clear that today’s insurance/mold situation is murky at best. Give us a call with your mold concerns, or stop by the office. We can review your policy with you and discuss options available.