Does a Homeowner's Policy Cover Mold Damage Due to a Roof Leak?

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Homeowners’ insurance policies provide homeowners with named-peril coverage. Named-peril coverage policies cover only items specifically included in the policies; items excluded are not covered. Insurance carriers usually exclude mold damage from coverage unless you can attribute the mold damage to a covered peril. Mold problems related to maintenance or equipment failure are not covered by homeowners’ insurance.

Homeowners’ insurance policies, also known as property insurance, cover unintentional property damage. Most lenders require home buyers to purchase an adequate amount of insurance if they borrow money to finance their purchases. Hazard insurance covers the lender’s portion of risk. Buyers can purchase the optional coverage over the lender’s investment.

Most policies provide homeowners with limited coverage for bodily injuries occurring on their property, as long as homeowners were not grossly negligent or criminally culpable. Property insurance covers personal property damage caused by vandalism, theft or water damage caused by common weather-related events such as hailstorms, snow, rain and lightning.

Coverage for Water Damage

Roof leaks caused by construction deficiencies, design issues or structural defects are usually not covered. In other words, homeowners’ insurance companies will not pay for leaky roofs and any resulting mold growth if those leaks are caused by poor workmanship or lack of maintenance. However, insurers will cover property damage caused by rain or hail. Since rain and hail are common weather conditions, homeowners’ insurance carriers do not exclude them.

Exclusions

If a roof leak occurred over time and not immediately following a covered weather-related event, an insurance carrier will not cover it and will typically attribute any resulting mold to a preventable and foreseeable problem. Homeowners’ insurance policies will cover mold caused by single, unforeseeable storms; however, carriers will not cover mold problems that slowly accumulated over time.

Limitations

Homeowners’ insurance policies generally do not cover incidental environmental or weather-related damage. Homeowners can purchase flood insurance, earthquake insurance or other types of natural disaster insurance to cover specific disasters in high-risk states or flood zones. Most lenders will require this additional coverage if homeowners live in flood zones.

Furthermore, many insurance companies specifically exclude coverage for mold, regardless of how the mold issues arose. In other words, even if the mold damage occurred as a result of a covered peril, insurance companies commonly exclude mold damage but cover water damage.

Considerations

Since state laws can frequently change, do not use this information as a substitute for legal advice. Seek advice through an attorney licensed to practice law in your state.

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