22 Things That May Not Be Included in a Home Insurance Policy
As a homeowner, you want to protect your family and property with a homeowner’s insurance policy. Most mortgage companies require that you carry home insurance, and it is considered a good investment for everyone who owns a home. Before you buy a homeowner’s policy, take stock of how much coverage you need, which types of damage you are vulnerable to, and specific items and property that will need coverage.
Your homeowner’s insurance policy will commonly cover damage caused by a number of different events such as fire, personal injury if someone falls on your property, and theft from a break-in. However, insurance companies and policies vary in what they cover and how much coverage they offer. It’s important to check your policy to know whether or not specific items will be covered when you make a claim.
22 Things That May Not Be Included in a Home Insurance Policy
Natural or Man-Made Disasters
Sometimes damage occurs to a property because of a natural event that insurance companies refer to as an act of God. This damage is not likely to be covered. Certain man-made disasters might also cause destruction that is not covered under the umbrella of your policy. Check your policy carefully to understand which natural and man-made events are and are not covered.
Flooding can cause major costly damage, and this is not covered by most homeowner’s policies. If your home is in an area that is susceptible to flooding, you will probably need to get extra coverage for expenses related to flooding. Also, be aware that flooding can be caused by other disasters like hurricanes.
An earthquake is another natural disaster that doesn’t fall under most coverage. If you live in an area where earthquakes are common, you will want to consider an additional policy for earthquake damage.
Acts of War
If your property is damaged because of a war, it will probably not be covered under your homeowner’s policy. This is not something you currently have to worry about and is not likely to be a cause for concern in the future. However, you should be aware of this fact.
In the unlikely event that there is a nuclear disaster that is destructive to your home, your homeowner’s policy will not cover it. A nuclear event could involve you and your family having to leave your home and may also include medical needs. This is probably not a reasonable consideration unless you live close to a nuclear power plant. Even then, it is probably not a realistic concern.
A home or property damaged because of a terrorist attack is not covered by a traditional home insurance policy. Thankfully, this is not a common occurrence.
Sewer Line Ruptures
When a sewer line outside your home is ruptured, it often requires an expensive cleanup that your insurance company will not pay for. Your town or county may take care of the damage, or you may be responsible if it specifically affects your property.
Sinkholes are common in some parts of the United States and can cause major destruction. If you are living in an area where sinkholes commonly occur, it is smart to get an additional policy for this coverage or to add coverage to your existing policy.
Damage Due to Neglect
If the insurance company believes that the damage in your claim was caused by neglect on your part or if you have not properly and reasonably protected your home from the danger, the insurance policy may not provide coverage. There are several examples of damage that the insurance company might view as preventable.
Insect damage, most commonly from an infestation of termites, is often not covered as part of your home insurance policy. If you suspect you have insects in your house, you should contact an exterminator right away. Damage caused by insects is a problem that can start small and grow bigger very quickly. Sometimes the damage can be extreme even before the homeowner is aware that it exists.
Mice or rats can chew your property and cause the structure of your home to deteriorate. It’s important to get a rodent problem taken care of as soon as you notice it to keep mice, rats, and other nuisances from building nests and reproducing on your property. It’s also important to keep paper and other debris off your floors, even in the garage or attic. Mice and rats will use this trash to make their nests. Also, keep pet food secure to prevent rats and mice from deciding that your property is a good place to find food.
Mold is a very serious problem, and it can get expensive very quickly when it is not eliminated right away. Besides damaging your property, mold can compromise the health of your family and even lead to serious illness. You should take action at the first sign of mold growing in your home, especially dangerous black mold. You should not stay in an area affected by mold, and you should keep your family and pets away from it as well.
Rust is another problem that gets bigger and more expensive when it is not immediately addressed. Any areas of your home prone to rusting should be covered or protected in some way. The insurance company will typically see it as your responsibility to provide this protection.
When temperatures in an area go below freezing, water in the pipes can freeze and burst. When pipes burst, water can flow through your home and cause significant damage to your property and the structure of your house.
Recreational Structure Injuries
You should reveal to your insurance company if you have any recreational structures or items on your property. This includes play equipment and items used for physical activity. Sometimes injuries that occur while using these items are not covered by your homeowner’s insurance. In some cases, not telling your insurance company about these items can actually negate your policy.
If you have a treehouse on your property and someone falls and hurts themselves while using it, your insurance may not cover the medical bills incurred. You could be responsible for expenses related to that injury and even additional expenses if the person sues you.
Trampolines are another structure that is often not covered by home insurance policies. Having a trampoline on your property may even affect your ability to qualify for homeowner’s insurance or for reasonable premiums. It’s especially important not to hide a trampoline from your insurance company because it could create serious problems and cause other claims not to be paid.
Swimming pools can be very dangerous, especially for young children in your neighborhood or visiting your home. Your insurance company will need to know that you have a swimming pool, and you will have to show that the pool is adequately secured. You will need a minimum of a locked fence around the pool area. You will also want to consider alarms that go off if something falls into the pool and a secure fence around the property where the pool is contained.
Other Specifics Not Covered
Some other specific losses may not be covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy. You should be aware of these items to be sure that you know when to file a claim for certain damages and when you will have to cover those expenses on your own.
Food Spoiled from a Power Outage
If the power goes out in your home, your homeowner’s policy will not cover food that has spoiled in your freezer or refrigerator. To protect against these losses, invest in a backup generator if you consistently keep large quantities of food that will spoil without refrigeration.
If you intentionally cause damage to your home, the insurance company will expect you to pay for the repairs. This applies if you are drunk or out of control and break something in your home, if you intentionally set a fire, or if you damage your own property in some other away.
Keep in mind that if you try to file a claim for damage that you caused, the insurance company may see that as insurance fraud. This is a very serious matter that could result in criminal charges. An example of this is when someone burns down their own property to collect the payment from the insurance company. This is illegal.
Upgrades Required by Code
Sometimes property is damaged and needs to be repaired, but laws about the type of materials used or systems have been updated since the home was built. An example of this is when an electrical system is damaged and the wiring needed to replace it will only be up to current codes if it is of a higher quality than the house previously had.
In this case, the insurance company may pay enough to cover the old-style wiring but will not provide enough compensation to pay for the quality of wiring that is now required. The difference will have to be paid by the homeowner.
Expenses occurred when someone steals your identity are not typically covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy. Identity theft can be very expensive when the money stolen cannot be forgiven by credit companies and banks. Also, identity theft can ruin your credit for many years. There is identity theft insurance available, and it is a smart choice for many people.
Items That Are Sometimes Protected
Some items are covered by some policies but not covered by others. You will need to consult your specific policy to be sure whether certain events and losses will be covered under your insurance plan.
Personal Property Stolen From Your Car
If your car is parked in your driveway or another place on your property, items stolen from it are sometimes covered by your homeowner’s insurance. Other times, they are not covered. This may also depend on the crime rate in your neighborhood. Protecting items in your car can be subject to additional coverage.
Your homeowner’s policy will cover the items in your home up to a certain amount. If you have a collection that is especially valuable, you will need to be sure that you have coverage that will adequately provide compensation if that collection is stolen or destroyed. This may include rare baseball cards, fine art, or a collection of valuable antiques.
Jewelry is another item that is likely to require an additional insurance policy or more coverage on your specific policy. Most home insurance policies will protect your belongings up to a certain amount. If you own very expensive jewelry, the amount on your policy for losses may not be enough. You can get insurance specifically for these valuable items.
You will also want to consider additional protection for these high-value items. Consider keeping your expensive jewelry in a fire-proof safe or a safe deposit box at a bank. This will ensure that your property is protected from theft and disasters.
The coverage provided by a homeowner’s policy can vary dramatically by insurance companies and specific plans. What is covered in one geographic area may not be covered in another, and higher premiums may be required to cover certain events or damages. Often, additional coverage or separate policies are available to protect against these concerns, but you will need to make your insurance company aware of these needs for quotes on special insurance.
It is helpful to have a team of knowledgeable experts on your side when you review and compare homeowner’s policies. You will need someone who can explain the policy terms to you and answer questions about what will and will not be covered. You also need to know which additional policies are available and what the cost for them will be. For professional help in these areas, contact Absolute Choice Insurance.