What Your Homeowners Insurance Does and Does Not Cover
Much of the insurance we carry is because we are required to have it and not because we want it. Actually, very few people like to think about the circumstances which would necessitate their insurance policy payout. When these common and unfortunate incidences do occur, insurance makes life a bit more bearable and allows us to return to a comfortable place of normalcy much sooner. Knowing what is covered by your homeowners insurance is essential to avoid compounding the impact of an uncovered tragedy.
What it does cover
If you have a mortgage on your home, you will be required to carry basic homeowners insurance coverage. Even if you rent your home or do not have a mortgage, USA.gov recommends you have an insurance policy to protect you and your family. Standard homeowner policies will cover the most common disasters and accidents.
This coverage is for the structure of your home if it is damaged by storms, lightning strikes, severe wind, fire, and hail. It is important to inspect your home after storms and when winter ends to make sure there is no damage covered by insurance that could lead to needed repairs that your insurance policy will not cover.
Most Homeowners Insurance policies will also protect outbuildings, detached garages, sheds, and other structures like fences. Your policy most likely has a coverage limit that is about 10 percent of the coverage for your home. If you need more protection for your outside structures, make sure to discuss this with your insurance agent and add the necessary coverage to your policy.
Personal belongings and contents
Standard coverage will protect your personal belongings and other contents if they are stolen, lost in a fire, or damaged by some other disaster that is covered by your policy. The amount of coverage for your household furnishings, clothes, jewelry, appliances, electronics, and other personal items is usually in the range of 50 percent to 70 percent of the coverage amount for your home. If you have antiques, high-value electronics, or other collectibles, be sure to add additional coverage to your policy.
Most policies include some protection in the event a guest is injured by a bite from your pet or by some other injury that may occur on your property.
What is not covered
Most people know that flooding and damage from earthquakes are not covered on standard policies. If you live in an area prone to these disasters, it is worth buying the necessary coverage. Some other things not covered include a backed-up sewer, sinkholes, termite damage, acts of terrorism, mold, and nuclear plant accidents. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) , more than three million people in the U.S. live within 10 miles of a nuclear power plant and are not protected in the event of accident by standard homeowners insurance.
If you are unsure about the specifics of your policy or about the amount of coverage you need, contact your insurance agent and discuss your concerns with them. The slight increase in your premium is usually well worth the added peace of mind.