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Does Home Insurance Cover Damp and Mould?

Will home insurance cover damp and mould treatment?

Alicia Hempsted
Written by  Alicia Hempsted
Saarrah Mussa
Reviewed by  Saarrah Mussa
5 min read
Updated: 01 Mar 2024

Home insurance doesn’t normally cover damp or mould but there are other ways insurance can help. Mostly it can help tackle some of the problems that cause damp and mould in the first place. Find out more about damp and how insurance can help in this guide.

What’s the difference between rising damp and condensation?

There are several different types of damp that might appear around your home, each with their own signs and causes. Here are a few types of mould that you might find in a UK property:

What is rising damp?

Rising damp is the less common and also the more severe types of damp. It typically is the result of moisture from the surrounding ground of your property being absorbed by the brickwork and travelling upwards. Signs of rising damp can include but aren’t limited to:

  • Peeling or flaking wallpaper or paint

  • Signs of rot or cracks along skirting boards

  • Damp staining along the bottom of walls

  • White stains along walls made by salt present in the absorbed water

In older buildings, rising damp is often the result of improper damp proofing or damage to the protective layer between the property and the ground underneath, known as the damp proof course.

What is condensation?

Condensation is the result of moisture in the air coming in contact with cold surfaces and turning into water. You’ll often spot signs of damp caused by condensation in areas that may be colder than the rest of the property, such as around windows, pipes, ceilings, or walls. Signs of condensation can include:

  • Signs of moisture on cold surfaces, especially windows

  • Higher levels of humidity

  • Peeling or flaking wallpaper or paint

  • Musty smells

  • Black mould around windows, pipes, or doors

Damp caused by condensation is the more common type of damp in the UK and can sometimes indicate that there are issues with a property’s ventilation, insulation, or heating. It’s very possible that just a few bad habits can cause condensation, like drying laundry indoors or forgetting to turn on extractor fans when cooking or showering.

What is penetrating damp?

There is a third type of damp that can affect your property known as penetrating damp. Just as the name suggests, this type of damp is caused by water penetrating the property through leaks. Cracks in walls, faulty roofing, and broken gutters can all cause penetrating damp if they’re not addressed. Common signs of penetrating damp include:

  • Wet patches on walls or ceilings

  • Discolouration of walls

  • Misshapen, blistering, or damaged plaster

  • Rotting wood

  • Mould growth or moss growth on exterior walls

Penetrating damp is one of the easier types of damp to avoid and treat if you can quickly find the source of the leaking water and fix it.

Does home insurance cover damp?

Home insurance doesn’t usually cover damp, whether it’s caused by rising damp or condensation. This means your insurance won’t cover the cost of any structural repairs nor the cost of replacing any of your belongings that may have been damaged by damp or mould.

One reason why home insurance may not cover damp is because it’s usually a sign that there are issues with the property, like improper damp proofing or ventilation. When you apply for a home insurance policy, you agree to the assumption that your home is in good condition, so the occurrence of damp may imply that you weren’t entirely truthfully in your application. Damp is also a treatable, gradual problem that becomes worse over time, which insurers may see as the responsibility of the property owner to resolve.

What should I do if I see signs of damp?

The earlier you catch the signs of damp, the sooner you can treat it and prevent more serious damage. Depending on the type of damp affecting your property, there are different ways of treating it. In some cases, it may be enough to make a few lifestyle changes to reduce the appearance of damp, such as closing doors when cooking or washing and turning on extractor fans regularly.

In cases of penetrating or rising damp, you may need to inspect the property for the source and contact a professional to make to make repairs to leaks or damp proof the property.

If you are living in a rented property and spot signs of damp, it may be the responsibility of your landlord to treat it, particularly if it’s the result of a lack of proper maintenance. In this case, you can find next steps on addressing damp in a rented property on the Citizens Advice website.

Does home insurance cover the cost of treating mould?

Standard home insurance does not typically cover the cost of treating mould, particularly mould caused by damp or improper maintenance. However, there may be some cases where the treatment of mould is covered by your home insurance if it’s related to an insured event, like flooding or a burst pipe. This will depend on your specific policy, so it’s important that you read your policy documents carefully and consult your insurance provider if you have any questions about your cover.

How can home insurance help prevent damp and mould?

While home insurance won’t cover damp and mould after it’s been found in a property, some cover provided by home insurance can help you prevent certain types of damp from developing in the first place.

Standard home insurance can cover the cost of repairing damages caused by faulty appliances, like a leaking boiler, which can sometimes result in damp or mould if they’re not addressed. Insurance will also cover damage caused by flooding or fire, which can affect a property’s structure and may leave your property susceptible to damp.

Many home insurance providers also offer an additional cover known as home emergency cover that you can pay extra to add to your policy. This cover serves the purpose of covering fast repairs for home emergencies, like sudden leaks and broken boilers, that can cause permanent damage to your home or make your home unsafe.

One example of how home emergency cover can prevent damp is the cover it provides to repair failed central heating systems. Condensation can sometimes be caused by properties being improperly heated, so quick repairs to your central heating are a simple way of fighting the risk of this particular type of damp.

However, it’s important to know that neither home insurance nor home emergency cover will cover incidents that happen as a result of wear and tear or neglect. It’s still important that you perform proper maintenance around your property to get the most out of a home insurance policy.

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