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Mold and renters insurance
Mold can be a tricky issue as it relates to renters insurance. Mold may be covered by your renters insurance policy if it is caused by a covered peril. The only way to confirm whether your policy covers mold damage is to consult your policy documents or speak with a representative at your company.
- Hail or windstorm
- Riot or civil commotion
- Smoke damage
- Falling objects
- Weight of snow, ice, or sleet
- Accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam*
- Sudden and accidental tearing apart, cracking, burning, or bulging
- Volcanic eruption
If the mold damage came as a result of any of the above claims, you might have coverage, depending on the specifics of your insurance policy. There are a few fine points to this — let’s explore in greater detail.
- When does renters insurance cover mold?
- When does renters insurance not cover mold?
- How to prevent mold damage and additional content
Mold is a complicated claim type for insurance companies. Insurers are hesitant to state they cover mold damage, as it's often difficult to determine the cause of the mold — and mold can be a tough issue to rectify.
Furthermore, the prevalence and risks posed by mold vary by state. A renter might require different coverage for mold in Texas than they do in Ohio. Search your insurance policy for terms like mold, fungi, mildew, spores, mycotoxins, and mold by-products to better understand whether you're covered.
Mold damage should be covered by renters insurance if it is the result of a covered peril (listed above). We say “should be” because certain companies and policies offer no coverage for mold if you do not have a limited mold/fungi removal endorsement. An endorsement is defined as a change — typically the addition or removal of coverage — to your insurance policy. A limited mold/fungi removal endorsement will cover the cost of remediation if it is caused by a covered peril.
Examples of mold-related claims
Below are typical scenarios in which renters insurance would offer reimbursement for damage caused by mold.
- If water used by firefighters to combat a fire caused mold to develop.
- If a pipe burst and caused mold to form inside your walls.
A major consideration renters insurance claims adjusters make wheen assessing mold damage is the timeline of events: namely, whether the mold existed before or after the covered peril occurred. If mold existed in a kitchen prior to a pipe bursting, any damages caused by the burst pipe would be covered, but the mold damage would not.
Keep in mind the following scenarios in which renters insurance does not cover mold damage:
- If you do not have the necessary endorsement or coverage
- If the mold damage was a result of maintenance issues
- If the mold was caused by flooding
Let's examine the ins and outs of these situations.
1. If you do not have a renters insurance mold endorsement
Depending on your policy, your insurance company, and your location, you may not have coverage for mold without a mold damage-specific endorsement. Even with an endorsement, coverage will most likely be limited to mold remediation: repairing the wall or structure specifically impacted. If your personal property was destroyed by mold, you would have no recourse.
2. If the mold occurred as a result of maintenance issues
If the insurance company determines that you ignored a long-term water leak, you most likely will not get insurance coverage for any mold that might develop. Renters insurance companies require clients to use all reasonable means to protect the insured property. In the opinion of an insurance company, failure to maintain property may result in claim denial.
3. If the mold was caused by flooding
Renters insurance does not offer coverage for water damage caused by flooding — including mold. If your apartment floods and mold grows on your personal property, you won't have insurance coverage. Learn more about flood insurance for renters.
The accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam can be a tricky part of renters insurance mold coverage. Certain insurance companies do not cover this peril if the “accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam” was caused by mold, fungus, or wet unless it was hidden from plain sight.
The key to keeping mold from wreaking havoc in your living space is moisture control.
Below are mold control suggestions from the EPA and mold experts:
- Vacuum and remove dust often. Mold’s primary food source is dust.
- Use a dehumidifier if you have a basement.
- Regularly check your air conditioning ventilation — especially during warm and humid months.
- If you see mold, call a professional. A fan and bleach are often not enough to mediate the situation.
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About The Zebra
The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.
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