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Does my home insurance cover damage from water and mold?


It all depends on how the damage was done. 

Homeowners insurance is intended to provide financial protection if your home or its contents are damaged, but within the confines of your policy terms and limits.  Home insurance policies range from basic to broad, but here are the basics of what a standard homeowners policy will and will not cover regarding water and mold damage.

You’re out of luck to make a claim if the water damage is related to:

  • Flood waters
  • Sewer or water backup
  • Water seepage from groundwater

If the water and mold damage came about due to a flood, you’d need a separate flood policy to make a claim.  If the damage was due to sewer or water backup, you can only make a claim if you paid more to add an endorsement specifically for water backup to your home policy.

The types of water damage that are normally covered includes:

  • Accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam from within a plumbing, heating, air conditioning or automatic fire-protective sprinkler system or from a household appliance.
  • Sudden and accidental tearing apart, cracking, burning or bulging of a steam or hot water heating system or an air conditioning or automatic fire-protective system.
  • Freezing of a plumbing, heating, air conditioning or automatic, fire-protective sprinkler system or of a household appliance.

So if the water line to your washer bursts, the resulting damage should be covered.

A homeowner insurance provider may deny a water claim if the problem was due to poor maintenance.

If you watched a wet spot in the ceiling below your laundry room grow and grow and wait to take action, then you may run into trouble if making a claim.  See more about leaks: Don’t get soaked by a slow drip.

A standard home insurance policy usually excludes mold coverage or severely limits coverage for it.  That being said, your home insurance may cover the cost to clean up mold when it’s due to a covered peril and was unknown to you while it grew.  Or, if you purchased mold insurance along with your homeowners policy.

To determine if your particular damage covered, review your policy and speak to your agent.

Last updated: Aug. 19, 2014
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Penny Gusner Consumer Analyst
Penny Gusner has been working in the insurance business for more than 10 years. She researches your questions, from the routine to the bizarre, with equal enthusiasm. Read More

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