Home Insurance

Homeowners Insurance – Know Your Coverage

With the recent outbreak of severe weather across the U.S., many homeowners are wondering what their insurance policies cover and what they don’t.  Don’t be caught unaware when disaster strikes, know what your coverages are and be prepared.

Common Coverages

There are a few common things that almost all homeowners insurance covers.  For example, fire, theft and vandalism are all usually covered under your policy up to a certain amount.  Check on your paperwork to see what your limits are.

Of course, fire will only be covered if it was accidental and if you had working smoke detectors in the home and other safety implementations that your insurance believed you to have.  If you tell your insurance company that you have a fire extinguisher under the sink, but a cooking fire consumes your entire kitchen because you didn’t really have an extinguisher, you may be looking at a reason to deny your claim.

Likewise, theft and vandalism are only covered if you have taken reasonable precautions to prevent such events from happening.  Your homeowners insurance company will likely ask you a series of questions when you get the policy to determine what your reasonable precautions against loss are.

Extra Coverages

Some policies also cover damage to another persons body while on your property.  For example dog owners are protected in the event that their pet attacks someone and if a door-to-door salesman falls on your property and is injured, that will be covered too.

In some places you can also buy additional coverages for floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and other natural disasters.  These types of coverage are invaluable in areas where such problems are common or highly likely to occur.

What Isn’t Covered

Now that you have an idea of the types of things that are covered, you should know what things aren’t covered.  Typically, anything that can be defined as an “act of God” is not covered.  For example, a tree falls on your car and it is totaled.  That may be considered an act of God and would therefor not be covered.  If this happens, check with your insurance company to see if they would cover the damage.

Other things that aren’t typically covered include changes made to the home without a permit or notification to your insurance company that result in some type of danger.  For example, installing a pellet stove without a permit and not notifying your insurance company could cause your entire policy to be null and void.  Always do home improvements in accordance with the law and get the proper permits and notifications taken care of to ensure your homeowners insurance compliance.

Knowing what your insurance does and doesn’t cover will help you in times of emergency.  While you look through your documents for your own personal coverages, take a moment to also review your deductibles and limits to see if any changes need to be made to your policy.  Being prepared is the best way to handle any potential emergency that may arise.