I recently had a friend tell me that she had returned from a vacation to find that her car was full of mold and the resulting damage was extensive. Her car has a T-Top which was a likely source of the water entry into her car.
She had planned to submit a claim to her insurer to address this situation because, frankly, mold is unhealthy but for her immune system it is very unhealthy. However … before she does such a thing … will her insurance company pay? What should she tell her insurer? I will comment on this in a general sort of way because I don’t have her policy to review with me and there are so many variations in individual policies that what is true for one may not be true for another.
Basically, however, all insurance policies are comprised of the following parts:
Declarations of Coverage Pages
Some of these parts “give and some taketh away”.
Comprensive coverage is outlined in the INSURING AGREEMENT and it intends to cover events that cause damage to the vehicle other than collision. On the surface you might think that that “other than collision” damage such as mold is covered but the EXCLUSIONS in many policies specifically state the following:
We will not pay for (various losses are outline here and includes, in part, the following):
“Damage due to wear and tear, freezing, or road damage to tires. … “
“Damage due and confined to mechanical or electrical failure … ”
“Loss caused by fungi, wet or dry rot or bacteria. This means the presence, growth, proliferation, spread, or any activity of fungi, wet or dry rot, or bacteria. This exclusion does not apply to damage directly resulting from a loss covered under Comprehensive Coverage or Collision Coverage”.
What the EXCLUSIONS are telling us is that MOLD IS EXCLUDED, unless there is be a peril or covered event to trigger coverage. A covered event might be a very heavy storm. Perhaps the storm might include possible extenuating circumstances. Other perils might include a broken window, or something falling on the vehicle to alter the T-Tops in such a way that it allows water to enter the vehicle, a flood, or still other “perils” that can be tracked to a single event. Prior to the water entering the vehicle and mold starting to grow, everything is fine with the car and then Wham! a single event occurs or happens to cause the damage. Water simply seeping into the car would not be covered. Water seeping into the car would lead to a denial of coverage because the insurer would likely say this was a mechanical issue or maintenance issue.
If your damage is extensive, such as the case with my friends car, I would present a claim to my insurer but … caution … you must be able to pinpoint the day and event that caused the loss and be ready to prove that this has not happened before and is not a result of water just seeping into your car. If your insurer makes a payment for this loss you will be responsible for the Comprehensive deductible.