Is mould covered in an insurance property policy? The short answer is NO, but there may be some circumstances where mould remediation costs could be picked up under an insurance policy.
First, what is mould and how does it develop in your home?
Webster’s Dictionary defines mould as: a fungus that produces a superficial growth on various kinds of damp or decaying organic matter.
Mould develops from spores (like seeds) that can be transported into your home either airborne through open doors, windows, air vents or other openings, or can be carried in on clothing or pets. Mould can grow from these spores when exposed to heat, moisture and an organic food source such as wood, drywall, and some carpeting, ceiling tiles, draperies and insulation.
Why is mould a concern for homeowners?
Mould is a problem because, if left unchecked, it can become a health concern for the occupants, particularly those who have allergies, immune system deficiencies and chronic lung illnesses.
Mould can also cause structural problems as it eats through the surface of its host.
For these reasons, it becomes essential to control mould growth.
How might mould be covered under an insurance policy?
Timing is important. Insurance coverage uses the concept of “sudden and accidental” when defining insurance coverage. This is best illustrated using two examples:
1. A leaky pipe under a sink drips for months, causing the wood floor underneath to develop mould and rot. This scenario is not “sudden” and therefore not covered. This situation is considered a maintenance issue and should be attended to by the homeowner in a timely fashion. The homeowner will have to absorb all the costs associated with the floor repair and mould cleanup.
2. An internal pipe bursts suddenly, water pours out onto a wood floor before the water main can be shut off. The resulting water damage and associated mould development (mould can begin growing within 24-48 hours) will be covered under most homeowner’s policies.
How to avoid mould in your home
1. Regularly check your home for signs of moisture and mould growth.
2. Maintain relative humidity levels between 30% and 50%. Controlling humidity (moisture) is the single most important factor in controlling mould growth.
3. Allow proper ventilation in all areas of your home.
4. Maintenance: repair roof, windows, and walls that may be allowing moisture in from the outside.
5. Manage a water damage incident quickly. Call your broker and report the situation and take reasonable steps to reduce the damage.