Homeowners insurance is something that all homeowners need, but not something that everyone necessarily knows the ins and outs of.
“Your house is more than just a roof over your head,” said
Homeowners insurance covers losses or damages to a dwelling and the belongings inside, as well as other structures on the property that are not attached to the home (e.g., a fence, car port or tool shed). It also provides liability coverage in the event visitors suffer injuries within the home or on the property, and it could extend to events off the premises as well.
It’s important to note, though, that not all homeowners policies are the same and not every loss will be covered.
If you do need to file a claim, you’ll likely pay a deductible ranging anywhere from
Homeowners insurance policies can include the following types of coverage options:
- Dwelling Protection: May help pay for the cost to repair or rebuild the physical structure of your home if it’s damage by a covered peril
- Other structures: Covers structures that are not attached to your home, such as a detached garage, fence, tool shed, gazebo, driveway or swimming pool
- Personal Property: This includes the contents of your home, like furniture, clothing, electronics and appliances (although possessions that are expensive, valuable and/or difficult to replace such as jewelry or fine art may require a more extensive coverage endorsement)
- Additional Living Expenses: Reimburse the cost of living expenses you incur – like hotel accommodations and meals – if your home becomes uninhabitable following a covered loss to help maintain a comparable standard of living while your home is being repaired.
- Personal Liability Protection: Provides financial support if you are sued for the damages up to the policy limit, such as medical bills or repairs
- Guest Medical Protection: Applies to the costs associated with injuries sustained by guests, regardless of who is at fault
- Extended Replacement Cost: Provides additional coverage of the dwelling’s policy limits to rebuild your home after a covered loss
- Identity Theft Protection: Pays for expenses you incur as a result of criminal identity theft
- Home Systems Protection: Covers a wide range of critical home systems and personal property in the event that they need to be repaired or replaced
- Home Cyber Protection: Protects families from losses such as compromised data on personal computers, mobile devices and other connected home technology, as well as damage to software and operating systems
What Does My Homeowners Insurance Cover? It can be difficult to generalize what a typical homeowners insurance policy covers – coverage can vary from state to state and is based on the type of policy you choose. However, homeowners insurance policies will only cover perils that are specifically listed as covered events in the policy. This is why it is so important to read your policy in-depth and talk to your insurance agent to make sure you have the coverage you need so you know ahead of time what will or won’t be covered. Commonly covered perils include:
- Fire and smoke damage
- Weather-related damage, such as wind or hail damage
- Water damage from internal sources, not from weather-related flooding
- Theft of personal property
- Damage caused by snow or ice on the roof
- Damage from civil disturbances, such as riots
- Damage caused by motor vehicles or aircraft
What is Not Covered by
- Landslides and mudslides
- Damage caused by homeowners neglect
Thankfully, if you live in an area prone to flooding or earthquake, you can purchase a separate insurance policy to help protect your home – your insurance agent should be able to help you secure the proper type of coverage. Proper home maintenance can help to prevent damage from neglect, and can also help harden your home for disasters such as wildfires.
The most important thing you can do to protect your home is to be informed about your homeowners insurance policy.
Frequently Asked Questions about
Does homeowners insurance cover floods?
A typical homeowners insurance policy does not cover flood damage, but your agent can help you too purchase a separate flood insurance policy to protect your home.
Does homeowners insurance cover earthquakes?
Homeowners insurance does not typically cover damage from any land movement, including earthquakes, landslides or mudslides. Your insurance agent can help you secure coverage through a separately purchased earthquake insurance policy.
Does homeowners insurance cover fences?
The detached structures on your property, such as fences, are not covered a typical homeowners insurance policy, but can be covered through purchasing an additional optional coverage for other structures (this would also include structures like your garage, a tool shed or a swimming pool).
Does homeowners insurance cover animal damage?
Your homeowners insurance policy may cover some types of animal damage. For example, if a deer runs into your porch, it would be covered under dwelling protection. If raccoons wreak havoc in your garage, structural damage should be covered under coverage for other structures. However, damage caused by insects or rodents – such as rats, mice or squirrels – is not covered under a typical homeowners insurance policy. Often, rodent damage can be prevented through routine maintenance such as closing your chimney flue.
If the damage is caused by a household pet, your homeowners insurance will not cover it.
Does homeowners insurance cover roof damage?
Your homeowners insurance policy covers roof damage caused by a covered peril. For example, if a windstorm knocks a tree into your roof, it is likely covered under your dwelling protection. Roof leaks caused by covered perils are also covered.
However, roof leaks or damage resulting from a lack of maintenance or from wear-and-tear are not covered by a standard homeowners policy. It’s important to conduct regular roof inspections and routine maintenance to your roof, and to learn about the roof’s history and condition upon purchasing a home.