Tackling the mould monster: home insurance for mould
Mould in the house, especially the dreaded black mould (or rising damp), is an unwelcome house guest that none of us really know how to get rid of. In fact, it can be really dangerous.
Not only dangerous for your health, but also for your home and contents. Mould can cause irreversible damage to walls and linger beneath carpet if it isn’t taken care of early.
Perhaps more annoyingly, cultivating a nice little colony of mould seems almost unavoidable, especially if you live in more tropical climates.
We’ve seen the recent floods and heavy rains battering Australia’s East coast recently, so if your roof has sprung a leak, or even if you’ve been flooded, mould is a real possibility.
If you’ve been affected by the wet weather recently, you might be wondering if your home insurance policy covers mould. Here’s the low-down:
Does home insurance cover mould?
Unfortunately, the answer is more often than not, ‘no’. That’s mainly because the damage caused by mould is considered preventable.
However, if the mould has resulted from an insured event, like flood or storm damage, then the resulting mould may be considered a flow-on effect of said insured event. That means your home insurance provider may actually cover it.
However, it does largely depend on your home insurance provider’s treatment of mould damage. Always check your policy’s product disclosure statement (PDS) to see if there are any general exclusions which might disqualify a claim relating to mould.
How does this work?
Basically, if you’ve successfully made a home insurance claim on your storm-damaged roof in the past, but you notice there’s suddenly mould growing through the ceiling, then logically the mould might be a result of the damaged roof.
As you have proof of an insured event happening (because you’ve made a successful insurance claim), then your insurance provider will have records of what has occurred. From here, it is a matter of contacting your home insurance provider and informing them that mould has been growing near the damaged site.
But it’s not always so simple. You’ll still have to prove the relationship between the primary insured event (e.g. a leaking pipe) and the secondary event (the mould itself).
How to claim home insurance for mould damage
As soon as something happens in your home that you think may be covered under your home insurance policy, contact your policy provider. Their contact info can be found on their website, or in the relevant PDS.
If you’ve already established that an insured event has occurred at your property and that there is now mould, then your next step will be to prove that the two events are connected.
To prove that the mould has occurred due to a leaking or burst pipe, for example, you’ll need an expert opinion.
You probably won’t have to go as far as hiring a mycologist, but your home insurance provider will be able to point you in the right direction. You might only need a plumber, for instance, as they’ll have experience and knowledge in dealing with water damage associated with mould growth.
Once you have received the expert’s opinion, you can show that to your insurance provider. If their opinion is conclusive that the mould resulted from an insured event, then it should be considered damage, and therefore covered by your policy. That is, if your policy indeed covers mould at all.
If you’d like to find out how your individual home insurance policy treats mould, you could call up your provider and seek clarification, or have a read through the product disclosure statement (PDS).