While the series of rainstorms predicted with the upcoming El Niño season would bring a welcome relief to California’s drought, that same moisture could cause plenty of water-related damage to homes, including mold damage. As we all wait in anticipation, it would be a smart move to check your homeowners policy to see what kinds of storm-caused sorts of water-related damage are covered.

As far as mold damage goes, most homeowners policies specifically exclude those claims. Exceptions being cases where the mold is a result of a sudden occurrence such as a burst pipe or water damage caused extinguishing a fire. Mold caused by a leaky pipe or a hole in the roof will not be covered.

Mold removal can be costly. Most experts agree that an average mold removal can cost anywhere from around $4,000 to $15,000 or more. The price can vary widely depending on where the mold is and how much of it there is. Mold behind walls will cost plenty more to remove than in and around a laundry room drain pipe. Taking care of mold limited to one room is a bit less expensive that when it has spread throughout the house

Mold can be prevented or at least slowed by taking a few simple steps. The Insurance Information Institute (III) recommends the following:

  • Lower indoor humidity with air conditioners, dehumidifiers, and exhaust fans.
  • Inspect hoses and fittings on appliances, sinks, and toilets.
  • Use household cleaners with mold-killing ingredients like bleach.
  • Opt for paints and primers that contain mold inhibitors.
  • Clean gutters to avoid overflow and check roof for leaks.
  • Avoid carpet in wet areas like basements and bathrooms.
  • Remove and dry carpet, padding, and upholstery within 48 hours of flooding.

Before the rain comes, talk with your insurance professional to see what you may be lacking in your homeowners coverage.  Take care of any shortcomings before it’s too late.