If you are a homeowner, you’ve likely spent a bit of time worrying about your property. There are many things that can impact the safety and security of a home, including an outbreak of black mold. If you find yourself faced with this challenging health hazard, what are your options for repair and treatment, and is it covered under homeowner’s insurance?
Mold has an important job to do as part of Mother Nature’s cycle of life. It is a master at breaking down organic matter with efficient speed, but it has no business inside your home. Mold is present almost everywhere because it can grow on moist surfaces. Damaged drywall, ceilings, shower tiles, cracked windows, and leaky basements are proverbial hotbeds for mold growth. Once moisture gets into your home, it can take a matter of days for mold to begin to colonize. Black mold is he dangerous type of fungus that is sometimes quoted as being “toxic.” This type of mold takes seven days to colonize in moist areas and potentially circulate spores in the air in your home. Black mold is easily identified as greenish-blue or black splotches growing in damp areas or places where condensation lingers, including your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system. Treatment is available for homeowners, but who pays for the cost of those repairs?
Treatment and Repair
Once moisture has seeped into your home, a musty smell might be your first clue. Your family might experience ongoing, unexplained allergies or flu-like symptoms. Black mold can potentially be fatal to small children or elderly with weakened immune systems. Pregnant women must avoid exposure, as black mold can cause birth defects.
Accidents happen and natural disasters occur. Storm damage and burst pipes can cause wallrot and wet flooring. Since most people do not know how to properly identify which type of mold is growing, it is important to remove everyone from the area and call a professional company to inspect and treat the exposed area. In most instances, a professional team can properly dry and dehumidify the entire home. Damaged sections must be removed completely. If mold is already present, a professional team will do this with special equipment to seal away contaminants so spores do not spread through the air upon removal.
This sounds costly to any homeowner, particularly where drywall or floor removal will occur. Homeowners policies will cover black mold removal and repair of any damage if it resulted from something termed as “covered peril.” These situations can include falling objects like tree limbs onto a roof in a storm, the overflow of air conditioners or broken plumbing, and vandalism. If you could not have prevented it from happening, it most likely will be covered and the cost will be picked up by your insurance company.
Homeowners insurance will not cover preventable damage such wood rot from an old leaky roof. Repairs could have prevented this situation, so the homeowner would be responsible for not only the roof, but the ensuing black mold damage and treatment. Natural flooding damage is also not covered by the original homeowners policy. A separate flood insurance policy may be purchased in certain areas, but it will only cover a disaster that is not preventable by the homeowner, such as hurricane or storm flooding.