Whether it's your first property or a hard-earned nest egg for retirement, buying a house in Canada is no small feat. You've searched, saved, and created a place that you can finally call home.
However, after years or decades of saving, one of the last things you want to deal with is a mold infestation in your home.
Whether it's a small, fuzzy patch or a full-on infestation, mold is a serious issue that you should deal with immediately. Living with mold can lead to an array of health issues, including:
- Runny nose
- Breathing problems or congestion
- Red eyes
- Irritated skin or eyes
Additionally, if you or any members of your household have asthma or mold allergies, the symptoms can become exceedingly severe.
If you've recently spotted a large infestation of mold in your home, you may have asked yourself, "does home insurance cover mold infestations?".
That's a fair and valid question; mold remediation can be quite an expensive service in Canada, often ranging between $3,000 and $30,000 (this gap may seem wide, but the price is heavily influenced by factors like the difficulty of the job, the severity of the infestation, etc.).
But before we answer your question, we'd like to shed some light on the subject and give you some background information as to why the mold infestation likely occurred in the first place.
What exactly is mold?
For those that don't know, mold is a fungal organism that produces microscopic structures called hyphae, which, in turn, creates the spores that we're familiar with.
Mold spores have particular growth requirements, some of which include:
- Dark conditions
- Stagnant air
With this in mind, you can see how several areas throughout the average Canadian home are prime targets for mold.
Common places in the home for a mold infestation
If you're worried about mold in your home, you should consider looking in the following areas:
- Exposed pipes
- Basements (both finished and unfinished)
As mentioned earlier, mold requires damp conditions to grow. If you've recently experienced a leak or flooding, we recommend that you assess the following items in your home:
What to do if you see mold in your home
If you've pinpointed the mold infestation in your home, there are several things that you should take care of as soon as possible.
Firstly, make sure that you section off any mold-infested areas of your home. Taking the time to do this will prevent the infestation from spreading to other areas.
Additionally, we recommend that you turn off the HVAC system in your home. Taking a moment to do this can prevent the spores from becoming airborne and reaching your respiratory system.
Finally, you should notify your home insurance provider and/or a mold remediation service as soon as possible. Swiftly removing the mold infestation allows you to retain the value of your home, stay healthy and return to everyday life.
What not to do if you see mold in your home
Unless you have professional mold remediation experience and the proper equipment, you shouldn't attempt to remove mold from your home. Failing to deal with the problem correctly can lead to cyclical problems in the future and waste your hard-earned money.
Whatsmore, you should avoid trying to paint over or bleach a moldy section of your home. Doing this will merely act as a band-aid solution for the problem and potentially make matters worse in the long run.
Furthermore, attempting to remove or deal with the mold can make it difficult for an adjuster to make a proper estimate on the damage (if you end up making a claim).
Does house insurance cover mold?
Finally, the answer to the question you've all been waiting for: does home insurance cover mold in Canada?
Unfortunately, the answer isn't as simple as you think, and at the end of the day, it often comes down to the context of the issue.
When home insurance doesn’t cover mold damage
In most cases, homeowners insurance doesn't cover a mold infestation in your home. This is because many mold infestations result from a lack of regular maintenance and upkeep, which is often seen as the homeowner's responsibility.
As an example, let's imagine that you found a leaky pipe in your bathroom, and it caused mold to form underneath the sink. Unless the leaky pipe is related to or caused by a previously validated claim, you as the homeowner are financially responsible for removing the mold.
When home insurance does cover mold damage
There are a handful of situations where your home insurance provider will cover the damage caused by a mold infestation. Your insurance provider will generally cover the damage if it's related to a claim that was previously validated (as mentioned earlier).
For example, imagine that your neighborhood gets struck by a flash flood, leading to severe water damage in your recently finished basement. The vast amount of water has caused mold to grow behind the drywall and underneath your laminate flooring, resulting in thousands of dollars worth of damage.
In this situation, you as the homeowner are not at fault. Thus, if you have the correct coverage, you have a very high chance of being covered by your home insurance provider.
The best way to deal with a mold infestation is by being proactive
Whether you've recently dealt with a mold infestation or would like to prevent one from occurring in the future, the best thing you can do is be proactive.
Take a moment to assess all of the bare pipes in your home while also checking areas prone to high moisture and humidity levels. Completing routine assessments can help you stay a step ahead of mold issues.
If you'd like to take things a step further, feel free to reach out to your insurance agent and ask them more about mold remediation coverage. Your insurance agent can shed some light on the specific details that may be hidden in the fine print. Taking the time to do this will help you better understand your coverage and what you can do to avoid future issues.