Why you can’t insure against mould damage
Mould is invariably associated with damp conditions. Australia has experienced its fair share of those in the summer of 2021-22, with widespread flooding across Queensland and northern NSW as well as scores of soggy days elsewhere around the country.
April 2022, for instance, saw many sites in greater Sydney record rainfall totals equal to 150 to 250 per cent of the April average. Some suburbs received a bucketing that was close to, or more than, their April monthly average, in a single day.
Outbreaks of wet weather mould can damage your property, fixtures and fittings. Unfortunately, that type of damage is unlikely to be covered by your property and contents insurance. Most policies exclude mould damage as a matter of course. That’s because the damage caused by mould can be minimal if it’s addressed promptly. As such, outbreaks are considered to be preventable events.
“Mould often comes hot on the heels of damp weather and, except in limited circumstances, its treatment is not covered by insurance.”
It can be a different story though if mould damage is associated with another claimable event, such as flooding or water ingress, according to Steadfast Group’s Broker Technical Manager, Michael White.
“While policies may exclude mould damage per se, the individual circumstances of your claim will determine whether the damage is covered,” White says.
“If your house has suffered cyclone damage, for example, and has been locked up, then a mould outbreak that has occurred as a result would likely be covered as part of that claim. Or if the pipes in your house burst while you’re on holiday and there’s water running through the property for an extended period of time, any mould damage associated with that event should be covered,” he says.
If, however, you have suffered a mould outbreak merely as a result of moisture in the air, the cost of replacing damaged items will inevitably be on you.
Taking preventative measures
Prevention is always better than a cure. There are steps you can take to reduce the incidence of mould outbreaks in your property and to remediate them effectively when they occur.
They include opening windows and doors to air out damp rooms, wiping hard surfaces with detergent, white vinegar or a commercial mould removal product and sponging soft furnishings with white vinegar or baking soda before drying them out thoroughly.
It’s also important to attend to any underlying causes of mould as soon as a problem is detected. This includes leaky showers, pipes and ceilings and structural issues such as rising damp.
Cover when it counts
The right insurance cover will help you safeguard your personal and business assets, in the event of damage or loss. If you haven’t reviewed your policies for a while, now is a great time to consider whether the cover you have is appropriate for your needs. Contact your Steadfast broker today if you’d like to review yours.
This general information does not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation or needs. It is also not financial advice, nor complete, so please discuss the full details with your Steadfast insurance broker as to whether this type of insurance is appropriate for you. Deductibles, exclusions and limits apply. This type of insurance is issued by various insurers and can differ. You should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement and Target Market Determination in deciding whether to buy or renew this type of insurance.