What Might Your Homeowners Insurance NOT Cover?

Dated: October 5 2021

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What Might Your Homeowners Insurance NOT Cover?

Here is a rundown of a few perils or occurrences that can happen to your home that your basic homeowners insurance policy will most likely not cover. It's important to know what is covered, and what you may need to purchase additional coverage for.

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. 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. Do your homwork before bringing in a new "furry" family member.

7. 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 jewelry rider or floater policy, which covers any sort of loss, including dropping your ring down a drain. That will require you to get the items appraised professionally.

8. Your Stuff in Someone Else's Property or Basement/Garage

If you've got a friend or neighbor who allows you to store some of your possessions in his or her property/basement/garage, 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.

Please let us know if we can assist by referring you to some top ranking, local, insurance agents. We are alwasy happy to help!

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Sweet Magnolia Homes

Sweet Magnolia Homes brings a local knowledge to the markets we serve that has been obtained from years of living and working in Atlanta and the surrounding suburbs. This means our agents are intima....

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