Does Your Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Everything You Think It Does?

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Most homeowner’s insurance policies cover certain hazards or perils, but the coverage can vary from state to state or from one region to another. Here’s what a homeowner’s insurance policy usually covers:

  • Fire/smoke
  • Lightning strikes
  • Windstorms
  • Hail
  • Explosion
  • Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Damage caused by the weight of snow, sleet or ice
  • Falling objects
  • Aircraft damage
  • Motor vehicle damage

It’s always best to check with your insurance agent to best determine what your homeowner’s insurance policy includes because not every type of disaster is covered.

For instance, the average homeowner’s insurance policy does not cover floods, earthquakes, sewer backups or damage that occurs from a lack of maintenance. 

Many people think of their "dwelling" as just the portion of their property that they live in; however, dwelling coverage can protect more than that. The dwelling typically consists of the home you live in plus any attached structures. What this means is that as long as it's attached to your house, your garage may also be covered under the dwelling portion of your policy. If any damage comes to it as a result of a covered hazard, the insurance company may cover the costs to repair it or rebuild it.

On the other hand, things you might not have thought were covered—like your deck or your front and back porch—may also be considered a part of your dwelling, if attached, so they may also be covered by the dwelling portion of your policy.

If you have a structure on your property that isn't connected to your home and that doesn't qualify as part of your dwelling — like a guest house, a detached garage or a shed in your back yard — it is likely not included in your dwelling coverage.

In Texas and New Mexico, for instance, a 10 percent extension is included in the price of the insurance to cover other structures that service the house. It is 10 percent of the value of the home and can be increased by most companies if you wish. If the structure is used for business or rental, it is excluded from this coverage. Your insurance provider can give you more details.

As always, take an inventory of your personal belongings to help make sure that the personal property coverage you have is enough to cover all of your belongings. If you own expensive equipment and it's damaged or destroyed by a covered liability, the amount for which your belongings are insured could mean the difference between taking a financial hit and bouncing back quickly. An umbrella policy might be worth considering. Ask your agent.












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