I have a standard homeowners insurance policy (HO-3). Surely it will cover my costs related to a mold problem?

Standard Insurance Cover Mold Injury Law

I have a standard homeowners insurance policy (HO-3). Surely it will cover my costs related to a mold problem?

Don’t count on it. Most major homeowners insurance providers today exclude mold from standard policies, which means your pocketbook is threatened.

Whether mold contamination is covered under your policy will depend on the specific policy language and the cause of the contamination. Most insurance property policies are “specified peril” policies which means that you have to prove that the mold resulted from a covered loss (listed as a “listed peril”) (i.e., your roof was damaged and rain came in, a water pipe leaked). The costs of cleaning up mold after a fire are covered under the peril of fire, for example. But mold that is not part of a water damage claim, such as mold that has grown over years, would not be covered. If not, it is considered a home maintenance issue, like termites.

If your policy is an “all risk”, the ball is in the insurer’s court because it must show that the cause is excluded from the policy.

Most policies have a Rolodex of exclusions for damage caused by rot, pollution, wear and tear, deterioration, construction defects, and so forth. (An “exclusion” is a statement in an insurance policy which describes a condition or type of loss that is not covered by the policy.)

If the mold contamination developed because of water damage that is covered, your insurer may cover the cost. But expect a fight over identifying the most important cause of the mold contamination: is it covered or excluded? Read your policy.

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