Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold?

Most home insurance policies pay for mold only if it’s the result of a covered peril, but there are exceptions.
Ciarra Jones
By Ciarra Jones 
Edited by Caitlin Constantine Reviewed by Brenda J. Cude

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Nerdy takeaways
  • A homeowners policy usually pays for mold damage only if it’s caused by a covered issue such as a burst pipe.

  • Homeowners insurance won’t pay to clean up mold due to flood damage.

  • There are certain types of coverage you can add to your homeowners policy to pay for some mold damage.

Nerdy takeaways
  • A homeowners policy usually pays for mold damage only if it’s caused by a covered issue such as a burst pipe.

  • Homeowners insurance won’t pay to clean up mold due to flood damage.

  • There are certain types of coverage you can add to your homeowners policy to pay for some mold damage.

Whether your homeowners insurance covers mold damage largely depends on the cause of the mold. If you find mold in your home, here are the options that may be available to you.

Does home insurance cover mold?

Homeowners insurance generally covers mold only when it's caused by a "covered peril" — an event your homeowners insurance policy will pay for, such as accidental water damage.

For example, if your washing machine suddenly springs a leak and black mold develops on the floor, a homeowners policy will likely pay to remove the mold. If the floor is damaged beyond repair, your policy may also pay to replace it.

Your homeowners insurance policy may cover mold damage due to other scenarios such as:

  • A broken water heater.

  • Water damage caused by extinguishing a fire.

  • A burst or frozen pipe.

Though your policy may cover mold damage from a broken appliance, it probably won’t pay to replace the device; most insurers cover only the resulting water and mold damage, not the cause of the damage.

Some insurance companies limit the amount they will pay for mold removal. So even if your insurer accepts your claim, you may still need to shoulder some of the costs.

Confused about your coverage? Read your policy carefully or call your insurance agent to go over the details.

When does homeowners insurance not cover mold?

Home insurance policies typically won’t cover mold caused by neglect or a lack of regular upkeep. This includes mold damage from:

  • Poorly sealed doors or windows.

  • A leaky faucet that you haven’t fixed.

  • Lack of ventilation in a moist room, like a bathroom.

Below are a few other common causes of mold damage that a standard home insurance policy usually won’t cover.

Sump pump failure and water backup damage. Damage caused by water backup or a sump pump failure can be costly, and standard home insurance policies usually won’t cover it. However, many insurers offer sump pump failure and water backup coverage as an optional add-on.

Flood damage. Standard homeowners policies generally exclude flooding. If you’re at risk, consider buying separate flood insurance.

However, even if you have flood insurance, your policy may not cover mold damage. The country’s biggest flood insurance provider, the National Flood Insurance Program, covers mold damage only if you can't access your home after a flood.

Mold damage coverage varies by the flood insurance policy. If you’re not sure what your policy includes, talk to your insurer.

Other coverage options

Though a standard home insurance policy doesn't usually cover the above situations, that doesn't mean you're out of luck. Below are other options your insurer may offer.

Sump pump failure and water backup coverage can pay for water and mold damage from a backed-up drain, broken sump pump or clogged sewer line. However, sump pump failure and water backup coverage will likely not pay for gradual issues such as water leaking in through your home's foundation. It also won't cover issues like flooding caused by a rising river or lake near your home.

Hidden water damage coverage pays for damage from leaks you can’t see, like a burst pipe behind a wall. It could also cover mold cleanup. However, not all companies sell this insurance.

What to do if you have to file a mold claim

Mold can start to form in as little as one day, so acting fast is important.

  1. Stop the leak as soon as possible. If you have a water leak or burst pipe in your home, shut off the main water valve immediately. Make sure you know where the main water shut-off valve is so you aren't scrambling during an emergency. (Note that some shut-off valves are outside.)

  2. Document the damage. Take photos and videos of mold and water damage you find. Make a list of everything that was damaged. Be as thorough and truthful as possible. False reporting, even if accidental, can work against your claim.

  3. Clean up excess water, and dehumidify the area. Wipe up pools of water and use a dehumidifier or air conditioner to dry out the site. Place wet items outside in a secure area to dry. If you're having trouble cleaning up the water, consider hiring a professional. Your insurance agent may be able to help you find trusted water removal contractors in your area.

  4. Make temporary repairs to prevent further damage. You don't want to make major fixes before filing your claim, but once you've documented the damage, make temporary repairs to protect your home from further damage. For example, if your basement is flooded, you can remove wet carpeting. Keep receipts for all purchases related to cleanup and repairs.

  5. File as soon as you can. Depending on your insurer, you may be able to file your claim online, through an app or by phone. The sooner you file, the sooner you can clean up the mess (and the less time mold will have to form).

Stopping mold before it starts

These tips can help prevent mold from growing in your home:

  • Inspect your pipes, faucets and hoses regularly, and fix leaks right away.

  • Make sure to direct rainwater away from your home.

  • Keep humidity low in your house by using air conditioners and dehumidifiers.

  • Improve bathroom and kitchen ventilation by installing exhaust fans.

  • Avoid putting carpet in areas at risk for collecting moisture, such as a basement or bathrooms.

  • Regularly inspect your roof for leaks and keep your gutters free of debris.

  • Consider replacing the hoses to your dishwasher, washing machine, refrigerator and other large appliances every five years.

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