I can't get the black spores off my siding without leaving brown stains. Will my homeowner's insurance pay for residing?
Some insurance companies will and others won't. It depends on your insurance company, your agent, the exemptions in your policy, and especially your lawyer.
My homeowner's policy states that it does not cover "molds". Is the artillery fungus a mold?
This is another difficult question, and one that lawyers like to argue. Mold is generally thought of as being a superficial, fuzzy fungus growing on damp or decaying organic matter. Like that fuzzy stuff on old "moldy" bread or on an old orange. The artillery fungus does exhibit such growth during part of its life cycle, when living in damp mulch, and therefore is (at least at times) a "mold" during part of its life cycle.
What is a biological definition of a mold?
Biologically, the term "mold" has been used to generally describe a lot of different organisms such as slime molds, sooty mold, pink mold, blue mold on cheese, water molds, etc. These terms may be found in most modern, scientific textbooks or dictionaries dealing with "Mycology" (the study of fungi). This general biological usage makes the term mold very inclusive; under such a general usage, therefore, molds include many types of organisms, such as the artillery fungus, at least during part of its life cycle.
But the actual spores stuck to the side of my house are not molds. If not, then does my insurance policy include them?
The spores on the side of your house are the reproductive structures of the fungus (although not biologically correct, think "seeds"). A good analogy is that they are shot like bullets from a gun. Just as the "bullets" are not the same as the "gun", the "spore masses" on your house are not the same as a "mold". Lawyers can put whatever spin they want on such terminology. And they do.
But, this is America! Who can I sue? Who is responsible?
Is the contractor that applied the mulch responsible? Is the person who made the mulch responsible? Is the store that sold me the mulch responsible?
Since the artillery fungus can enter the chain of events at various places, I don't see how anyone can be held responsible, unless they willingly supplied mulch with known artillery fungus in it. Which, of course, no good businessman would do! In my opinion, it is nearly impossible to prove where the artillery fungus entered the chain of events. This again is a subject for the lawyers.