Facts and Myths About Mold
Answers to some commonly asked questions
What is mold?
Mold has been around for millions of years. It consists of small organisms found almost everywhere—indoors and outdoors—on food, plants, and building surfaces. Molds are beneficial to the environment because they are needed to breakdown dead material.
How does mold grow in my home?
Mold grows where there are sources of moisture and food—primarily water and materials such as wood, paper, stucco, drywall, and other porous or fibrous material.
Common causes of mold are:
- Leaky roofs
- Damp basements
- Damp crawl spaces
- Ongoing plumbing leaks
- Clothes dryers vented indoors
How can I prevent mold damage?
Good maintenance and common sense are the best ways to prevent mold. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture. Try to eliminate sources of water from outdoors such as ice dams, clogged storm gutters, and roof leaks. Fix leaky pipes, check appliance connections such as washing machine and dishwasher hoses, and adequately ventilate your house.
Is mold damage covered by my home policy?
Damage from mold, by itself, is not covered by most home insurance policies, including the WEA Property & Casualty Insurance Company Home Protection Policy. However, mold that arises from a covered loss is usually covered up to $20,000 for property and $50,000 for liability.
An example of a covered loss would be a burst pipe that causes water damage resulting in mold growth. An example of an uncovered loss is mold that arises from flooding, as flooding is excluded from coverage by your home policy.
Please review the exclusions on your WEA Property & Casualty Insurance Company Home Protection Policy, or contact a member service consultant or claims representative for more information at 1-800-279-4030.
Is mold really hazardous to my health?
It can be, but in most cases it is not dangerous or life threatening. True health risks are rare in most mold contamination situations. Exceptions may exist (e.g., if contamination is extensive or if residents of your household are highly allergic or have weak immune systems).
Conditions known to be related to mold contamination include skin irritation and respiratory problems, most commonly hay fever and asthma.
According to the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, “Current scientific evidence does not support the proposition that human health has been adversely affected by inhaled mycotoxins (mold) in home, school, or office environments.” However, research on mold and health effects is ongoing.
For more information on the human health effects of mold, see the following Web sites:
- U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,www.epa.gov/iaq
Why is mold an issue?
We believe that several factors have led to mold claims in the United States. Among them are poor building construction methods, inadequate ventilation, environmental factors, litigation, and intense media focus.
What should I do if I find water or mold damage?
Eliminate the source of moisture as quickly as possible. You may need to call a plumber or cleaning professional.
Limit your exposure to mold by closing off areas where it is located until you are able to have it cleaned up. Visible mold may be cleaned from nonporous surfaces using a combination of bleach and water. A cleaning and remediation professional should remove mold that invades porous materials such as drywall.
Need more information?
Contact us for additional information about clean up and to determine if you have a covered claim. Whether or not the mold arises from a covered loss, we can provide more information that can help you.
If you have questions concerning mold or any other issue relating to home insurance coverage, give us a call at 1-800- 279-4030.
WMBT 3001-290-0417 (W)
Effective April 2017. Policies and programs described are subject to change at any time.