Do home warranties cover mold?

Most home warranties do not cover mold damage

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Most home warranties do not cover mold damage, though they may cover the replacement or repair of appliances or systems that caused the mold. This is because mold and mold damage are generally considered a maintenance issue and not a problem directly related to the wear and tear of an appliance or other home system.

Take a look at some more insights into what a home warranty covers and how it relates to mold damage.


Key insights

  • Mold growth can occur in homes where there is excess water or moisture.
  • Addressing mold issues immediately is the best way to ensure they don’t cause damage.
  • Since most home warranties don’t cover mold, it’s crucial that homeowners know how to prevent it and clean it up so it doesn’t spread.

What is mold?

Mold is a naturally occurring fungus that helps break down organic matter in the outside world. However, it can become a problem when it starts growing inside your home. Indoor mold growth can not only cause damage to your home but can also be dangerous, presenting health concerns to some individuals.

Mold is a fast-growing fungus that propagates via invisible spores that travel through the air or water to reproduce. When these spores land on a wet surface, they begin to grow and spread.

When mold is in the home, it can create health problems, such as allergic reactions and asthma attacks, for sensitive individuals. It can also irritate the lungs, eyes, nose, throat and skin. Mold can appear as fuzzy or slimy green patches or small black spots, and it may smell musty.

That said, color is not a good indication as to whether the mold is dangerous or presents a health concern. Regardless of what the mold looks like, it should be cleaned up immediately, and the cause of the mold should be addressed so it doesn’t return.

» PREVENT LEAKS: Best water leak detectors

Is mold covered by a home warranty?

Typically, mold and mold damage are not covered under a home warranty. Even so, there may be some mold-related issues that are covered, specifically if an appliance or other home component breaks, which then leads to the mold growth.

Mold issues can occur anywhere there’s excessive moisture and an organic material to grow on. Excess moisture could have any number of sources, such as a damaged roof, improperly installed windows, poor ventilation, faulty construction or a leaky pipe, water heater or toilet. 

We have never seen a home warranty that covers mold remediation, and many insurance companies have limits or caps on coverage for mold, too. ”
— Josh Rudin, owner of ASAP Restoration

If the source of the mold is a broken appliance that’s covered by your warranty, you may be able to file a claim to have it repaired. Therefore, your appliances that initially caused the leak could be covered even if the secondary mold damage isn’t covered.

For example, let’s say your water heater leaks and the water seeps into your floorboards and drywall, which causes mold to start growing. Your warranty provider will pay for the repair or replacement of your water heater as long as the leak wasn’t due to neglect. However, the damage done to the floors and walls won’t be covered.

In other cases, your homeowners insurance policy may cover mold damage, but only if the precipitating accident falls under your policy. For instance, a frozen pipe that bursts and causes water to leak and grow mold could potentially be covered, but this isn’t a guarantee.

Since neither a home warranty nor a homeowners insurance plan can be counted on for mold mitigation, it’s often up to the homeowner to deal with it.

Josh Rudin, owner of ASAP Restoration, a company that specializes in water and mold damage in the Phoenix, Arizona, area, echoes this in his own experience. “We have never seen a home warranty that covers mold remediation, and many insurance companies have limits or caps on coverage for mold, too. This means that preventing a mold infestation in the first place is that much more important for homeowners,” he said.

» RESEARCH: Questions to ask a home warranty company

What does a home warranty cover?

Even though a standard home warranty policy doesn’t cover mold, it can still be a valuable investment and cover a range of home appliances and systems. Although each policy will vary and contain certain exclusions, home warranties generally cover appliances like refrigerators, stoves/ranges, dishwashers, washers and dryers, garbage disposals, built-in microwaves and garage door openers. They will also cover major home systems like heating and cooling, water heaters, plumbing, ductwork and electrical.

Home warranties cost about $450 to $600 annually, plus the cost of the service fee each time you file a claim.

Most home warranties can be purchased as appliance-only plans, systems-only plans or a combination of the two. There is also optional coverage for features like pools, spas, septic systems, sump pumps or guest quarters, but this will increase your monthly premium.

A standard home warranty that includes both appliances and systems will cost between $450 and $600 annually, but plans with the most comprehensive coverage can cost over $1,000 a year.

» LEARN: What does a home warranty cover?

How to prevent mold

Mold will always be present both outdoors and indoors, so instead of thinking of ways to stop it completely, you should instead focus on preventing moisture accumulation in your home to limit mold growth. Below are a few steps you can take to prevent mold in your home:

  • Keep your roof and gutters maintained to prevent water from coming into the house.
  • Check your AC drain lines and drip pans to make sure they’re unobstructed.
  • Always run the bathroom fan or open a window when showering.
  • Use the exhaust fan or open a window when cooking or running the dishwasher.
  • Keep the humidity level in your home between 30% and 50% by running a dehumidifier.
  • Don’t let water collect around the foundation of your house, and ensure the land slopes away from your exterior walls.
  • Properly insulate your home since condensation can build where areas of uninsulated cold surfaces come into contact with heated indoor surfaces.

Additionally, there are numerous places in your home that can leak or cause moisture to build up that many people overlook. Rudin points out one area where his technicians often find mold growth: the shower curtain. “Misusing shower curtains is an exceptionally common source of mold growth in the homes that we service. This is because it seems so simple, but if the curtain isn't forming a total barrier against splashes, drips, and mist, this can lead to mold growth on the adjacent wall and ceiling in no time,” he said.

Mold will only grow where it has enough moisture to reproduce, so addressing dampness and humidity is the best way to prevent mold. This can also help you save money, since hiring a professional for mold remediation can be costly and a home warranty won’t come to the rescue.

» KEEP CLEAN: Annual home maintenance checklist

How to get rid of mold

When addressing mold in the home, remember that time is of the essence. The longer mold stays on a surface, the more damage it causes. Whenever possible, excess moisture and mold should be cleaned up within 24 to 48 hours to prevent additional growth. That said, it’s impossible to get rid of all mold spores. This is why it’s critical to keep surfaces dry in your home and address any leaks or other moisture sources that could accelerate mold growth.

Small cleanup jobs (less than 10 square feet) can be done by the homeowner, while larger jobs and those where the source of the mold is in your HVAC system should be handled by a professional.

If you’re cleaning the mold yourself, follow these tips:

  • Always wear gloves, and limit your exposure to mold spores by ventilating the area you’re working in and wearing an N-95 respirator.
  • If the mold is on a hard surface, scrub it off with a solution of detergent and water, then let it dry completely. Ensure any surface that has mold on it is thoroughly cleaned and dried before repainting.
  • You may be able to clean porous surfaces like carpets, upholstery or ceiling tiles, but these should be discarded if there’s substantial growth.
  • Fabrics can be cleaned by first soaking in white vinegar for two hours, then running through a regular wash cycle.

» COMPARE: Best mold removal and remediation companies

Quick and easy. Find a home warranty partner now.

    FAQ

    How much does a home warranty cost?

    The average cost of a home warranty is between $450 and $600, which usually covers a 12-month term for both appliances and home systems. Service calls cost between $75 to $150. This fee is almost always non-refundable, but if the appliance is covered under your policy, then repair or replacement with a comparable model will be free.

    Does a home warranty cover plumbing?

    Plumbing is one of the major home systems covered under a standard home warranty, though it’s worth looking at your specific policy to see what your coverage is. This typically includes addressing stoppages, pipe leaks and toilet blockages. It also covers fixing faucets, hot water heaters, showers and tubs, valves and the water line to the edge of your home’s foundation.

    Like all covered appliances and services under a home warranty, only components that are damaged by normal wear and tear will be repaired or replaced.

    » COMPARE: Best home warranty for plumbing

    What else isn’t covered by a home warranty?

    Home warranties don’t cover everything in your home. Outside of standard coverage, you’ll have to pay extra to include the following: well pumps, sump pumps, septic systems, pool and spa equipment, lawn irrigation and guest units.

    There’s also damage that almost no warranty will cover, such as preexisting conditions before your warranty went into effect, systems or appliances that fail due to misuse or lack of maintenance, cosmetic issues or anything that’s not specifically listed in your warranty.

    Bottom line

    Mold issues can be difficult to address because they’re often hard to detect, and mold gone unnoticed can cause major damage that requires professional service to properly mitigate. Unfortunately, much of this expense won’t be covered by a standard home warranty or homeowners insurance policy. Because of this, ensuring proper preventive practices and cleaning up new mold and moisture immediately are important to stopping mold before it becomes a problem.


    Article sources
    ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. Specific sources for this article include:
    1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “ Basic Facts about Mold and Dampness .” Accessed Oct. 22, 2023.
    2. New York State Department of Health, “ Mold and Your Home: What You Need to Know .” Accessed Oct. 20, 2023.
    3. United States Environmental Protection Agency, “ A Brief Guide to Mold, Moisture and Your Home .” Accessed Oct. 10, 2023.
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