Will Homeowner's Insurance Cover Mold From a Roof Leak?

Written by James Hirby | Fact checked by The Law Dictionary staff |  

If you haven't taken the time to read over your homeowner's insurance policy, you should do so at your earliest possible convenience. Although it may be long and dense, it contains valuable information about the types of incidents and damages that your provider is willing to cover. Your insurance agent's ability to relate this information verbally may be compromised by the fact that he or she deals with dozens of clients on a daily basis. It's simply too risky to trust him or her to remember the specifics of your particular policy and convey them to you in an intelligible manner.

If you discover mold on an upper floor in your house, you may suspect that it's being permitted to grow there by a persistent roof leak. If you can pinpoint the source of the leak, you may be able to defend this assertion in any claim that you choose to file with your homeowner's insurance provider.

However, the majority of mold-related homeowner's insurance claims are summarily denied. Although it's clear that the cost of cleaning up after the mold in your home will create a considerable financial hardship, your insurance company may not feel obligated to defray these costs. In fact, your claims adjuster may argue that you're indirectly responsible for the mold's presence.

Although such a judgment may seem unfair, it's liable to be the result of a relatively simple calculation. Since it takes mold weeks or months to become visible on a typical interior surface, the leak that caused the offending growth is unlikely to be new. In fact, it may have been present for months or even years before the mold revealed its presence. Many minor roof leaks that produce just a few drips per hour are difficult to detect in the course of a normal visual inspection. If you had no reason to suspect that your roof was leaking, the sudden appearance of mold on the upper floor of your house may have been your first indication that something was wrong.

Unfortunately, your insurance company may expect you to conduct detailed home inspections on a regular basis. According to your policy, your inability to detect your roof leak may constitute negligence. Most homeowner's insurance policies don't cover cleanup or repair costs related to conditions that arise due to negligence. In other words, the presence of mold in your home may automatically disqualify you from receiving any financial assistance from your insurance provider.

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