What Homeowners Insurance Won’t Cover (and How to Better Protect Yourself)
We normally think of homeowners insurance coverage in very simple terms. Specifically, we rely on this special insurance to keep our homes safe.
But will homeowners insurance keep your home safe from everything? At the end of the day, homeowners insurance is like any other type of insurance. That means certain things are covered and certain things are not covered.
How can you know what is and isn’t covered? For that matter, how can you know how to better protect yourself? Keep reading to discover the answers!
Check Your Homeowners Insurance Coverage
Below, we have a breakdown of events that are typically not covered by standard homeowners insurance coverage. Whenever you have a question about what is and isn’t covered, remember the golden rule: Always check your own policy!
That is because there are different policies across different insurance carriers. Sometimes, these are minor differences. Other times, they are major.
Understanding what your own policy covers is the first, best step to making sure your own house is properly protected. If you realize you aren’t satisfied with the level of coverage you currently have, now is the perfect time to either add additional riders or switch insurance carriers altogether.
What Is Typically Covered Under Homeowners Insurance?
In a nutshell, damage to your property inside and out, liability lawsuits if someone gets hurt on your property, plus living expenses if you must temporarily vacate for repairs.
While there may be some variation from policy to policy, the majority of homeowners insurance policies are pretty similar. With that in mind, it’s important to note what is normally covered by these policies.
Typically, your homeowners insurance will cover damage to your property (though there are exceptions that we’ll touch on later). In addition to the damage to the actual structure of your house, most policies cover things attached to that structure, including garages, driveways, sheds, fences, and so on.
Most policies also cover the personal property inside your home. However, there are limits to what can be covered unless you make arrangements ahead of time (more on this later).
A good policy also provides you with liability protection against lawsuits in case a guest should get injured in your home. If you can no longer inhabit your home (due to something like extensive fire damage), the right policy will cover additional living expenses.
Your policy does not cover damage to your car, but it likely covers personal property inside the car. The policy almost certainly covers fire damage and certain natural disasters. As you will see below, other natural disasters may require a separate rider.
Beware of Floods
Previously, we noted that certain natural disasters are usually not covered by a regular homeowners insurance policy. At the top of that list is damage from flooding!
If you want to protect your home from potential flood damage, you need to take out a separate flood insurance policy. How will you know if you actually need this insurance or not?
Should your home be located in an area with a high risk of flooding (check the FEMA map to be sure), you may be required to get this separate coverage. Otherwise, the decision is up to you, though it is worth noting that climate change has led to unexpected weather and a higher chance of flooding even for homes outside of these flood zones.
Earthquakes and Landslides
Another major natural disaster that is not covered by typical homeowners insurance is earthquakes. In fact, earthquakes, landslides, and anything else involving the earth moving is most likely not in your policy.
As with flooding, it’s important to research your local area to see if you should take out a separate insurance rider. If your home is located in an area that experiences many earthquakes and/or has a lot of nearby fracking, then this separate insurance is very much worth it.
Keep in mind that sinkholes aren’t covered by your policy, either. If you live in areas prone to sinkholes (such as Florida), then you may want the peace of mind that comes from a separate policy.
Maintain Your Home
Sometimes, you make unpleasant discoveries inside your home. Such discoveries include things like mold or pests. Are these things included in your policy? It all depends on what caused the problem in the first place.
For example, things like leaking pipes are most likely covered in your policy. If water from these pipes should cause mold, then your policy may pay to fix the issue. That’s not the case if, say, a pipe burst because you failed to properly maintain your home.
Proper home maintenance is important for many reasons, including the safety of you, your family, and your house. It can also mean the difference between whether your insurance will cover problems on the inside of your home.
Sewer Issues in Your Home
One of the scarier things you may face as a homeowner is a sewer backup. Unfortunately, such backups are usually not protected by your insurance policy.
Everything from tree roots to bad or outdated pipes can lead to such a blockage. Sometimes, these are things you can protect against, but most of the time, backups are a complete surprise.
Fortunately, you can always take out a separate policy to protect against unexpected sewer issues.
Certain Expensive Items
We touched upon the fact that your homeowners’ insurance comes with a certain level of property protection. Unfortunately, many homeowners eventually discover how limited that coverage can be! Your homeowners insurance will insure expensive items up to a certain limit.
For example, it’s not uncommon for property coverage to have hard limits on certain things. Jewelry, for example, is usually only covered up to $1,500 or $2,000. So if an expensive engagement ring or family heirloom should be stolen, your homeowners insurance may not pay out as much as you were expecting.
As with most of these other scenarios, it’s possible to take out a separate rider to protect expensive possessions. Alternatively, you can raise the overall liability coverage of your policy, though this will impact your monthly premium.
How to Better Protect Your Home
Now you know about scenarios where your homeowners’ insurance won’t provide the coverage you need. So, what can you do to better protect your home?
We’ve already covered the main thing: getting separate insurance riders. If you believe your home is in danger of things like floods, earthquakes, or sewer backups, you can take out additional coverage. If you are worried about insuring very expensive possessions, you can either take out additional coverage or raise your liability.
Finally, proper home maintenance is very important. Such maintenance may help ensure that issues like mold or pests are covered by your insurance. Maintenance also reduces the odds of something catastrophic like a house fire.
Get the Best Homeowners Insurance Coverage Today
Now you know what your homeowners insurance policy will and won’t cover. Do you know where you can find the best homeowners insurance coverage today?
At InsureOne, we are always ready for you to get a homeowners insurance quote online. Alternatively, you can pick up the phone and give us a quick call at 800-836-2240. Finally, feel free to come into one of our convenient nearby offices!