Homeowners coverage is designed to give you peace of mind, knowing that your policy has you covered when your home and property suffer damage from unforeseen perils.
While a typical homeowners insurance policy is quite comprehensive, there are certain types of damage that are usually not included.
It’s important to know which perils aren’t covered under a typical homeowners insurance policy so that you can talk to your insurer about additional coverages that suit for your specific needs and help you prepare for the worst.
Your bed shaking, you wake up in the middle of the night to the sound of dishes crashing to the kitchen floor. You see a crack running up your bedroom wall. When it ends, you assess the destruction and see thousands of dollars in damage adding up before your eyes.
This isn’t the time to find out that your homeowners insurance policy doesn’t include earthquake coverage.
A separate policy that you need to arrange with you insurance carrier, earthquake coverage helps pay the costs for some of the damage.
But not all.
Covering some of the losses and damage that earthquakes can cause to your home, belongings, and other buildings on your property, earthquake insurance will not replace everything you’ve lost. The main purpose of this coverage is to put a roof back over your head.
You should also be aware that a typical homeowners insurance policy doesn’t cover additional damages that can come along with ground movement, such as sinkholes and tsunamis.
Going hand-in-hand with earthquakes, damage from a tidal wave is another peril which is not typically covered under a homeowners insurance policy.
For coverage against the high costs of repairing your home and property affected by water damage from a tsunami, you will need to have flood insurance in place.
It’s been raining for going on two weeks, with no end in sight. The sweet little creek that runs through your property – one of your favorite selling points when you put a bid on the house – has swollen to the point that it is reaching your back door. In a panic, you call your insurance carrier to verify that your homeowner’s insurance has you covered. Bad news.
Homeowners insurance doesn’t typically cover damage to your home and property caused by flooding. Can you afford to pay if snow runoff or heavy rains bring water into your home? What would it cost to replace all your flooring and furniture? With flood insurance you won’t have to find out.
Flood insurance can help cover the following items:
- Structural damage to the building and its foundation
- Electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems installed in your home
- Carpeting, hardwood, and other flooring
- Built-in furniture such as bookcases and cabinets
- Refrigerators, cooking stoves, and built-in appliances
- Flood debris cleanup
- Personal property such as clothing, furniture, and electronics
- Valuables such as original artwork or furs
Don’t be caught off guard when it really counts. Be sure that you’re protected with additional policies that will cover flood damage when your homeowners insurance doesn’t.
Perched on a hillside, you’ve been watching the rainwaters roll by for weeks, sympathetic with your neighbors below who’ve had to deal with flooding. You’re thinking about how lucky you are when your house shakes violently and you hear glass breaking. Walking to the source of the calamity, you find a that a tree from up the hill has come through your bedroom window and there is a wall of mud up against your house.
You grab a few valuables and your beloved pet, getting out of there as fast as you can, the whole time thinking ‘How bad is the damage? Does my homeowners insurance cover this?’ If you haven’t taken out optional additional coverages, the answer is no.
If you live in an area that is at risk for mudflow or landslide, it is a good idea to be sure you talk to your insurance agent about “difference-in-condition” coverages that will help protect you against losses.
It’s important to note that there is no insurance coverage that will pay for home and property damage due to insect or rodent infestation. An infestation is considered a matter of poor home maintenance, not an unforeseeable peril.
Homeowners insurance will not cover you for infestation of:
Be sure to have regular professional inspections of your home to ensure that you don’t become the victim of a damaging infestation.
What Does Homeowners Insurance Cover?
Your home is one of the biggest investments you will ever make. Make sure it’s protected should the unexpected occur.
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Certain Types of Dogs
While some dog bites may be covered under a homeowners insurance policy, many breeds are considered high-risk and are blacklisted by insurers.
More than ⅓ of all homeowners’ insurance liability claims in 2013 where dog bite-related, costing insurance companies $490 million.
The 14 dog breeds that most insurers avoid covering are:
- Pit Bull Terriers
- Staffordshire Terriers
- German Shepherds
- Presa Canarios
- Chow Chows
- Doberman Pinschers
- Cane Corsos
- Great Danes
- Alaskan Malamutes
- Siberian Huskies
Being dishonest about your dog’s breed won’t help. If someone suffers a bite from your dog, not only will you find the your insurance won’t cover you, but your policy could also be rescinded or cancelled,
It’s not hopeless, though. Even if your insurer won’t cover high-risk dog breeds, they can likely refer you to an insurer that will.
Other Excluded Coverages
While homeowners insurance has you covered for many perils, the following are also typically are not covered by a standard policy:
Water damage from leaks or seepage
- Wear and tear
- Nuclear hazards
What Does Homeowners Insurance Cover?
The above are all coverages that are excluded from a homeowners insurance policy, but the following are perils that are typically included:
- Fire or lightning
- Windstorm or hail
- Vandalism and mischief
- Falling objects
- Weight of ice, sleet, and snow
- Riot or civil commotion
Be sure to talk with your insurance agent about your specific homeowners insurance needs and discuss additional optional coverages to ensure that your home and property are covered should you be at risk of perils outside of typical coverages.