Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold? [Buyers Beware]

Jim TrummSep 25, 2017

In general, homeowners insurance policies do not cover damage caused by mold or the expense incurred by removing it. But a great deal depends on the specifics of the insurance policy language, and on the cause of the mold itself.

Mold grows in warm and humid environments, such as basements, bathrooms, crawl spaces, attics, and ductwork. Many people are unaffected by mold, but some experience mild respiratory and dermatological symptoms from mold exposure. There are, however, some people who are highly allergic to mold spores, and for these people the effects can be far more serious. As with many other health conditions, the very young and the very old are most at risk from moldy environments. People with pre-existing respiratory issues, such as asthma, are especially vulnerable.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold?

If dampness in a house is caused by a generally humid climate, by flooding, by a slow leak, by condensation, or by poor maintenance of faucets and pipes, then damage caused by mold will almost certainly not be covered. 

The mold must be eradicated, which usually costs anywhere between $500 and $6,000 – and sometimes more. In some cases, though, mold grows throughout the house. In those situations, eradication costs can reach $30,000.

Most cases of mold are caused by poor maintenance, which is not covered by homeowners insurance. There are some situations where mold is a secondary effect of an insurable event, such as damage to a roof or a sudden pipe burst. In those cases, a homeowner may have a sound claim for insurance benefits that would include mold remediation. 

Insurance coverage is not a sure thing, however. Many homeowners policies now completely exclude coverage for mold-related expenses. Others cap coverage at very modest figures or limit coverage to mold testing. Some policies will pay for mold eradication, but will not compensate homeowners for their loss of property value.

Sometimes coverage for mold can be purchased as a rider to an existing policy, but insurers generally are becoming very wary of getting involved with mold claims. Be aware, though, that the major loss incurred by homeowners in their battle with mold is often not the cost of mold removal itself, but a substantial lowering of the value of their home. 

Mold issues can render a house unsellable or insurable, resulting in effect in a total loss of the property. Comparing the policies offered by our top 10 homeowners insurance companies can help you protect your home from this moldy threat.