What Might Your Homeowners Insurance NOT Cover?

There are things that can happen to their homes that their homeowners insurance policies don’t cover. Fire is the basic coverage provided by an insurance policy, while other common perils are water damage, theft, wind and liability. Earthquake and flood usually require a separate policy. In some states you can add earthquake coverage as an endorsement. It is important to discuss the risk you face and purchase the proper coverage. Just so you’ll be forewarned, here are eight other perils, besides damage from an invading squirrel, for which you probably aren’t insured.

1. Floods

Damage caused by flooding is excluded under standard homeowners insurance policies, according to the institute’s primer on what disasters are covered by insurance. That’s why it’s prudent to obtain flood insurance, either from a private insurer or through the U.S. government’s National Flood Insurance Program.

2. Earthquakes

When a 5.8 magnitude earthquake in Virginia shook the U.S. east coast in 2011, it caused as much as $300 million in losses and varying degrees of damage to 600 residences. Many of the owners may have been chagrined to discover that their homeowners insurance didn’t cover the cost of repairing the harm to their houses. Coverage for earthquakes, which can damage foundations and collapse walls, requires a separate policy, though a standard homeowners policy generally will cover damage from fires caused by quakes, according to the institute.

3. Sewer Backups

Sewer backups can be pretty messy, and they’re not covered either by homeowners insurance policies or flood coverage, according to the institute. Instead, you’ll need to purchase additional sewer coverage.

4. Maintenance Damage

Maintenance damage. Homeowners policies don’t cover damage caused to your home by your neglect of basic maintenance, according to the institute. Similarly, you’re not covered if your house becomes infested by termites and other pests, or develops mold.

5. Backyard Trampolines and Pools

Sure, they’re fun. But according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, both trampolines and pools are dangerous enough that some companies may not insure your property if you have them, or else may exclude liability for any injuries related to them. They also may even cancel your policy if you don’t inform them when you get a trampoline or a pool, or don’t follow the policy’s safety guidelines.

6. Dog Attacks

If your family pet bites a visitor, you’re typically covered for legal liability up to your policy’s liability limit — usually $100,000 — according to the institute. The average dog bite claim is around $39,000, so you should be OK. But it’s a bigger problem if you own a breed with a reputation for being aggressive, because some insurance companies won’t cover you at all.

7. Really Expensive Jewelry

Typically, homeowners’ policies set a limit on how much bling they’ll cover — usually around $1,500, according to the institute’s article on jewelry and other valuables. If you’ve got a lot of costly rings or necklaces, you’ll want to consider getting a floater policy, which covers any sort of loss, including dropping your ring down a drain. That’ll require you to get the items appraised professionally.

8. Your Stuff in Someone Else’s Basement

If you’ve got a friend or neighbor who allows you to store some of your possessions in his or her basement, you could lose out in the event of a disaster, according to Amy Bach, executive director of United Policyholders, a California-based consumer advocacy group. That person’s insurer isn’t going to cover your losses, since you’re not the homeowner. “You’d have to try to collect money from your friend,” Bach says.

Published by AmandaMccarty

I have been in the real estate business in the Southwest Florida market for many successful years and will be here for many more! This longevity and confidence comes from my real estate services to a great many buyers and sellers, and their recommendations to others that result in repeat and referral business that keeps me productive and successful. As a full service Fort Myers real estate professional, I work with buyers, sellers and investors in real estate transactions spanning all of the price ranges and property types. Residential Single Family – My residential single family services connect buyers with sellers every day, and I do it with professionalism and a total dedication to my clients. This property type is the majority of my market transactions, but by far not the only one in which I have expertise. Condominiums – While condominiums are residential, they’re a very different market focus, and I am an expert in evaluating condos and helping buyers and sellers to cope with the special financing and homeowner concerns for this property type. Multi–family – Investors are great clients for me. Multi–family properties are a very unique market. The detailed return on investment and valuation calculations investors need to evaluate properties for rental are second nature to me. Commercial – Whether it’s a shopping mall, a small office building or a restaurant space, I'm your commercial property specialist. Contact me for your commercial property needs in the Fort Myers real estate markets. Vacant Land – Land is a very special property class. It’s relatively easy to show a gourmet cook a wonderful commercial kitchen in a home and see their eyes light up. It’s more of a challenge to help a buyer or seller to realize the potential in a piece of land. I'm the best at it in the Fort Myers real estate markets. Call me at 239-682-5442 or email me to start a discussion of your needs. Or, fill out this quick form and tell me about your property interests and an overview of your needs.

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