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Scaremongering about the spiralling costs of mould remediation, the presence of toxic mould and homeowners being denied insurance claims are commonplace, but what we want to do is separate the unfounded tittle-tattle from the cold, damp facts of the mouldy matter of whether home insurance covers mould damage or not.
The very utterance of the word “mould” strikes fear into the hearts of most homeowners, an initial emotive response quickly usurped by the slightly more controlled ‘sense of foreboding’ at the prospect of the potential ruination of a corner of their des res.
Of course, mould doesn’t necessarily mean the beginning of the end of your dream home if treated promptly and effectively at the source, while financial nightmares can be largely avoided too providing your home and buildings insurance is suitably up to date and covers you against the threat of mould. Which is the key area where things start to go a little grey.
Generally it all boils down to determining the factors which caused the mould in the first place, and specifically if they are covered as part of typical buildings insurance and/or home and contents policies.
If you recall school science lessons then you’ll doubtless remember that in order to take root and thrive, mould requires constant moisture to aid its nefarious ways. Yet not all causes of water damage (which would lead to recurrent moisture issues on the scale required to perpetuate mould growth) are covered by home insurance plans.
While the more probable and seemingly unavoidable burst water pipes and subsequent leaks historically form part of such traditional policy agreements, the likes of maintenance issues are rarely covered by the same insurance and claims governance, if at all.
Most home insurance policies only pay-out for mould if it was caused by burst water pipes
For what is deemed as ‘maintenance’ issues, please read humidity or condensation-related problems, landscaping or drainage problems and floods.
In respect of certain areas of the home, it’s fair to say that both kitchens and bathrooms pose the biggest threat from an accumulation of moisture, which in turn could potentially lead to the onset and formation of mould.
A leaking dishwasher or washing machine, along with roofs which aren’t watertight are tell-tale pre-cursors to mould taking a grip in or around your property. With that in mind should the homeowner witness mould instrumentally resultant of any of the above moisture-manifestations, then the chances are that your home insurance would not stretch to cover this.
The source of the moisture is the critical element with regards to the stance that home insurance providers normally adopt when mould does surface, so ensure that you scrutinise the small print of your policy and review the language and terms and conditions spelt out, especially if it pertains to water damage.
Be on the look-out for the mention of mould exclusions or limitations before you sign up to a particular plan, although as we said at the top, most home insurance companies tend to sing from the same hymn sheet when it comes to mould and put them in the same non-insuring category as fungi and bacteria.
All hope isn’t lost though, as some home insurance providers offer a separate mould amendment as a policy add-on to your existing agreement for an additional fee.
Like anything with regards to insurance add-ons, it’s down to cost and your personal risk-tolerance as to activating extra-curricular clauses. Other factors which might be implicated in both parties arriving at a competitive pricing for any mould clauses being underwritten into an existing home insurance plan include the age of the property. The newer the build the more likely it is to have been constructed using mould-resistant materials and products as well as being generally considered more watertight due to their manufactured compounds.