Mold coverage is a contentious issue for insurance companies across the US. For decades, insurers changed the terms used in the homeowners insurance policy in order to exclude mold from the list of covered perils. However, there are clear circumstances when you have the right to receive compensation for mold property damage from your insurance company. If your claim is denied, a homeowners insurance claim attorney at VG Law is ready to analyze your case and advise you on your legal options.
Unfortunately, our state is prone to hurricane, flooding, and high humidity levels. This means that insurance companies in Florida are adding even more exemptions and exclusions from the standard homeowners insurance policy than other states when it comes to mold damage.
When you file your claim, you must be sure that:
In this article, we will discuss all the pertinent aspects concerning filing a mold claim and the steps you need to take in order to get your claim approved.
First of all, let us discuss the reason why you should worry about mold growth in your home. According to the Environmental Protection Association, mold spores can cause serious health problems, including:
Also, the negative effects of exposure to mold can last for years. For this reason, the EPA recommends wearing N-95 masks, eye goggles, and gloves when cleaning even small patches of mold, as the spores can easily become airborne and get inside your body. Black mold is especially dangerous.
Unfortunately, more than 50% of all US homes have a mold problem, according to a detailed documentary called Moldy. The same documentary reveals that up to 28% of Americans carry a gene that makes them vulnerable to mold-related health problems.
This is the big question every Floridian has. The answer is yes, mold infestations are covered under certain circumstances. The crux of the problem is determining whether the mold issue was caused by a covered peril under your homeowners policy.
Let us look at this aspect in greater detail:
The most frequent situations when your homeowners insurance company will pay for mold removal and remediation are:
In a mold-prone state like Florida, insurance companies will exclude a lot of perils from a standard homeowners insurance policy. This means that a claims adjuster will most likely deny a claim for mold formation caused by:
Speaking of flooding, mold exclusions are not the only problem you face if you do not purchase separate flood insurance. Any kind of damage caused by water coming from outside your home will not be covered by your standard homeowners insurance policy. Since, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the average insurance payout for flood damage is $52,000, it is worth purchasing separate flood insurance policy.
Another aspect worth noting is that you are not likely to recover the full cost of mold removal from your insurance company. The average policy limits for mold remediation coverage is between $1,000 and $10,000. However, when getting an estimate from mold remediation companies, it can be anywhere between $15,000 and $30,000.
This means that, even if your mold insurance claim gets approved without issues, you may still expect to pay some repairs out of pocket.
The first thing you must consider in such a situation is yours and your family's safety. If possible, remove everyone from the house until mold remediation is complete. The next steps are as follows:
1. Prevent Further Damage
If mold was caused by accidental water damage, stop the leak as soon as possible. At the same time, install a dehumidifier or open the windows to let air circulate and dry the surfaces. Attention! If you believe that your HVAC ducts are contaminated with mold, do not turn on the air conditioners. You may spread more mold spores all over your house.
2. Document the Damage
Take photos and videos of the mold infestation with your smartphone. These are valuable pieces of evidence for the moment when you will discuss with your insurer about your claim for mold removal. Also, if your claim is denied, a property damage lawyer will need every type of evidence you can produce to support your cause.
3. Read Your Insurance Policy and Contact Your Insurer
You want to know that mold is covered by your homeowners insurance policy before you take any further action. Unfortunately, there is little to do if mold was caused by a peril not included in your policy, such as poor workmanship or improper maintenance.
If the peril is covered, contact the homeowner insurance company and inform them of the mold damage and that you want to file a claim.
4. Do Not Remove Mold or Throw Away Damaged Items
Although you are tempted to get rid of mold as soon as possible, do not start any mold remediation works before the claims adjuster comes to inspect your home. This visual inspection is critical for the insurer's decision to accept or deny your claim.
At the same time, any damaged pieces of furniture or appliances that you throw away will not be included in the Scope of Loss - the document which determine the total cost of materials and labor to remedy the damages.
A denied claim is not final. You have the right to file an appeal against it. In this situation, you should hire a property damage attorney to evaluate your claim and identify any winning strategy to help you get paid.
Ultimately, if you lose the appeal and believe that the insurance company acted in an unfair manner towards you, you can file a complaint with the Florida Division of Consumer Services. However, you must be certain that your homeowners insurance policy covers the peril that caused the mold infestation.
As a homeowner faced with mold infestation and the significant expense to remedy it, you may wonder: is it worthwhile hiring an attorney that handles homeowners insurance claim denial? The answer is yes. At VG Law, we have the know-how and experience to overturn denied claims and make sure that you are paid the fair compensation on your claim that you deserve.
You kept your side of the contract - paid all your insurance premiums on time and followed the rules set by your insurer. We will make sure that they also keep their side of the contract. When a covered peril occurs and causes damages to your home, you have the right to recover your expenses to repair or replace damaged items.
Over the years, we helped many homeowners win their insurance claim appeals. We know how to negotiate with big insurance companies and get the best possible outcome for you.
We offer you a free case review, so call us as soon as possible if your mold property damage insurance claim was denied: 833-HELP-365!