In Florida, mold is a common but often neglected hazard. Millions of homes in Florida are occupied by various species of molds, some more dangerous than others. Given the prevalence of mold in humid climates, one would think it would be a common peril covered by most homeowner’s insurance policies in Florida. However, insurance companies are not so keen on paying out for every instance of mold development. In fact, insurance companies have several reliable tacks to deny coverage.
Most homeowners’ insurance policies do not cover mold on their lists of “covered perils.” A covered peril is one in which the insurance company agrees to reimburse you for your damage. Some examples of common covered perils include fire, lightning, windstorms, falling objects, theft and vandalism. Only if mold formation results from a covered peril will your insurance company pay for remediation. For example, if your washing machine suddenly leaks, causing mold to form in the surrounding walls, your insurance company will likely be forced to pay (assuming water damage is covered by your policy).
However, mold caused by homeowner neglect or negligence is not covered. For example, if a water leak forms in your home, and mold damage slowly develops when it could have been prevented by the homeowner, coverage will likely be denied. In other words, mold is typically covered only when damage is sudden and unanticipated. Therefore, homeowners should be vigilant in taking steps to prevent damage, such as regularly checking pipes and appliances for leaks, and installing dehumidifiers in areas where water damage is discovered.
It is important to note that certain perils like floods are not covered by most homeowner’s insurance policies. Water damage, usually covered by homeowner’s insurance, is mostly limited to internal forces like busted pipes and leaky appliances. Mold resulting from flood damage, for instance, must be supported by a separate flood insurance policy. The same rules apply as for regular homeowner’s insurance. Individual neglect and lack of upkeep can always result in your claim being denied.
Even if you’re claim is approved, insurance companies often cap mold removal and remediation coverage at $10,000, when remediation itself can cost between $15,000 and $30,000. Some insurance companies will pay for removal, but exclude compensation for remediation and testing. It’s important to review your homeowner’s insurance policy for these key details before purchasing. Some insurance companies offer supplemental coverage for mold, but these options can become quite costly, especially in humid climates and older homes. Therefore, it may be best to avoid insurance companies that make it difficult to obtain adequate protection for mold.
In order to maximize your chances that mold removal and remediation will be covered by your policy, it is recommended that you take the following steps:
- Immediately contact an attorney or a public adjuster, prior to reporting the claim to the insurance company. We can help prepare your claim to give you the greatest chance of making a recovery, and often, we can help determine if the claim value exceeds the deductible.
- Take photos/videos of the damaged area.
- Mitigate further damage by removing standing water and installing a dehumidifier.
- Collect available maintenance records.
- Follow your insurance company’s procedure for processing a claim.
- Contact an approved mold remediation company.
Regardless of your actions, an insurance company may come up with a reason to deny your claim. The homeowner’s insurance attorneys at Miller Trial Law can help you with all of your insurance coverage needs, including denied and undercompensated mold claims.
If you or a loved-one has been underpaid or denied coverage for a homeowner’s insurance claim, Miller Trial Law can help get you the recovery that you deserve. Please call us today at (305)-697-8312 for a free, no-risk consultation to see what your case is worth. We look forward to serving you!