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Does overseas home insurance cover mould?

As the summer holidays arrive, many overseas holiday home owners will be off to their properties to relax and unwind. Although some of you regularly visit your holiday homes, many only visit when the temperature rises – leaving the property locked up over winter.

Parts of Europe have experienced a substantial amount of rain over the winter – especially France, Spain and Portugal. This has resulted in high levels of humidity in the air. Consequently we receive calls from customers who have discovered mould/mildew on walls and furnishings: chairs, sofa, curtains, cushions and beds asking if they can claim on their overseas property insurance.

Unfortunately home insurance doesn’t cover mould or damage caused by climatic or atmospheric conditions. Therefore it’s advisable to take some precautions to prevent mould damaging your furnishings.

How to prevent damp and mould

Mould is usually caused as a result of high humidity within a property, especially when it’s locked up. You need to take steps to lower the relative humidity. Increasing ventilation is one option, getting a housekeeper to air the property regularly can help.

A popular alternative to ventilation for the control of moisture in the air is a dehumidifier. This draws in air, cools it to remove moisture which is collected in a container (which will need to be emptied when full). When using a dehumidifier make sure the property is locked up so it’s not drawing in moist air from outside.

Natural fibres such as leather shoes and belts in wardrobes often see mould develop first. Consider installing wafer heaters in wardrobes or use silica gel/bags of salt crystals in containers to ensure that clothes don’t go mouldy.

How to remove mould

If it’s on walls then applying neat bleach can work but avoid furnishings and take safety precautions. An alternative is to use white vinegar.

Insurance isn’t a maintenance contract. Routine maintenance can prevent wear/tear and expensive replacements. The longer you own your holiday home the more you will discover about what can and does go wrong. Thankfully there is lots of help and advice out there in forums and guides when it does.

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