A standard home insurance policy will cover many perils your home may face, but there are some key things that your insurance policy likely does not cover. Knowing what your insurance will and will not cover can save you a lot of trouble if you ever suffer a loss.
In most states, earthquakes, sinkholes, and landslides, along with any other earth movements, are not covered by a standard plan. Separate insurance policies usually exist to cover damage of this type, but unless you live in an area that is prone to earthquakes, it is unlikely you will need it. Californians are the most likely to need earthquake coverage, while Floridians may need sinkhole coverage.
A standard home insurance policy will not cover flooding. Insurance companies usually define flooding as rivers overflowing or significant rain bringing water into your home. If a pipe bursts and floods your basement, you are usually covered, and sometimes water backup is covered, like for sewage problems or overflow. If you live in an area that may be vulnerable to flooding, you need to purchase a separate flood insurance policy.
Neglect or Lack of Maintenance
Your insurance company expects you to take care of your home, so they will not cover a lot of types of damage that are linked to a lack of maintenance. Damage from termites, insects, rodents, birds, mold, smog, industrial smoke, rot, and rust are not typically covered. If, for example, you had your roof repaired after a storm and your roof is now leaking because it was poorly repaired, that is not likely to be covered.
Certain Dog Breeds
If you have a dog that is considered to be an “aggressive” breed, like a Doberman or German Shepherd, some insurance companies will refuse to insure you. If you have a dog that is not considered to be an “aggressive” breed, or your insurance company does not discriminate dog breeds, you are likely to be covered under liability if your dog bites a guest in your home.
If your home has mold damage from flooding, long-term leaks, construction defects, or poor maintenance, your insurance policy is not likely to cover the damages. If the mold damage occurs because of a quickly discovered leak or other circumstances, your insurance company is likely to cover it.
Your policy may cover replacing more basic things in your home, it is unlikely to cover the priceless family heirloom or expensive diamond ring, fur coats, or expensive collectibles. You can usually purchase a separate policy to help cover loss of those kinds of things.
This is a highly unlikely scenario, but in the event of a nuclear accident of some kind, your standard homeowner’s insurance policy is not going to cover it. However, nuclear power companies should have their insurance cover the damages if you suffer loss from something like this.
Wind Damage in Hurricane-Prone Areas
If you live in an area where there is a high risk of hurricanes, you will need to purchase a separate insurance policy to cover wind damage from hurricanes. Insurance companies in 19 states will charge a special deductible for wind damage caused by hurricanes, which can get expensive, but if you live in a high-risk area, it is worthwhile to have this coverage.