Typically, when someone thinks of mold the first image they conjure is of property in decay due to fungi growing in a damp environment. While this is correct, it does not explain the intricacies and discrepancies found in the classification of covered perils within insurance policies. Ambiguous overly general language can be used in a confusing manner that does not reflect common plain language meanings attached to the terminology found in your policy. Other policies may not even explicitly mention mold damage but still cover it in certain circumstances when applying provisions in concert. An example of this can be found in the Florida case Abraham v. Universal Ins. Co. of North America.
In this case, the appellate court affirmed summary judgment denying coverage because whether mold damage was covered was contingent upon the use of the property, more specifically whether it is used for commercial or residential use. The insured was barred from recovering due to a material misrepresentation regarding the use of their premises. Whether the mold was created by a covered peril was also a factor taken into consideration. Even if the insured did not make a material misrepresentation they would still be barred from recovery if the mold damage was not connected to any perils covered in the insurance policy. This is just one example of how mold insurance coverage will be custom tailored to the specifications found within your policy that are subject to your respective governing state law.
Another example, using Florida case precedent, is Fisher v. Certain Interested Underwriters at Lloyds Subscribing to Contract. This case examines an insurance policy that only covers mold damage to personal property if it was caused by direct physical loss and was a peril named in their policy. Direct loss was defined as a loss proximately caused by the peril insured against. For those unfamiliar with the term “proximate cause”, it is used in this context to describe “a cause which in a natural and continuous sequence unbroken by any new and intervening cause, produce a loss, and without which the loss would not have occurred.”. Here the insured was entitled to recover compensation due to these concepts being applicable to the circumstances surrounding the loss.
Other terminology to be aware of in determining whether your mold insurance coverage is triggered is whether the applicable policy is an “all-risk” or “named-perils” policy.
You can reach Miami Insurance Claims Lawyer J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo by dialing his direct number at (786) 272-5841, calling the main office at (305) 461-1095, or Toll Free at 1 (866) 71-CLAIM or email Attorney Gonzalez-Sirgo directly at[email protected].
-Abraham v. Universal Ins. Co. of North America, 120 So.3d 114 (4th DCA 2013)
- Fisher v. Certain Interested Underwriters at Lloyds Subscribing to Contract, 930 So.2d 756 (4th DCA 2006)