What Homeowners Insurance Does NOT Cover: Understand These Exclusions

Your house is many things to you: a home, a legacy and an investment. You need to protect it, and that means maintaining homeowners insurance. However, it’s important to understand that the standard homeowners policy insurance does not cover everything that could happen. There are exclusions.

Here are some of the common exclusions that you may see in a homeowners insurance policy.

Earthquakes

Standard homeowners owners insurance policies do not cover damage caused by earthquakes.

If you live in an area that is prone to earthquakes, you may want to consider buying earthquake insurance. Earthquake insurance provides coverage for structural damage caused by an earthquake as well as belongings damaged in an earthquake. In some cases, the damage to your house may mean you need to stay in a hotel or put your stuff in storage. Earthquake insurance may cover these additional living expenses.

If a fire occurs after an earthquake, fire damage will typically be covered under a homeowners insurance policy, not an earthquake insurance policy. 

Flooding

Water damage can get complicated in insurance claims. This is because water damage can come from different sources, and these sources may be treated differently in your policy.

A typical homeowners insurance policy provides coverage for internal water damage – that is, water damage occurring from within the house. If a water pipe in your house bursts, for example, the resulting damage may be covered under a typical homeowners insurance policy.

However, water damage caused by external events is typically excluded. This means that sewage backup and related issues may require additional coverage. It also means that your homeowners insurance policy does not cover flooding. For this, you need flood insurance. You can purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program or through a private insurer.

Normal Maintenance

Homeowners are expected to maintain their property. Homeowners insurance won’t cover this.

In other words, don’t expect your insurance to cover the costs of your kitchen remodeling. And if your appliances get old and need to be replaced, your insurance won’t cover that, either.

Not maintaining your home properly can also lead to exclusions. For example, if water damage is the result of poor maintenance, it may be excluded from coverage. 

Liability Exclusions

Homeowners insurance policies typically include liability coverage. This means that if a guest is injured on your property and sues you, your homeowners insurance policy can provide coverage for the lawsuit against you. A homeowners insurance policy can also provide liability coverage related to injuries caused by your pets.

However, there are exclusions. Liability insurance will not provide coverage for injuries to people in your household. Additionally, criminal acts will likely be excluded. This means that if you assault a guest, you should not expect your homeowners insurance policy to cover you.

Certain breeds of dog may also be excluded from coverage. If your dog is on the list of excluded breeds, lawsuits for bites will not be covered. Other types of animals may be excluded as well.

Getting the Right Coverage

Homeowners insurance provides important protection, but the standard policy won’t cover everything. Understand the risks in your area and make sure you have the appropriate coverage. In some cases, this may require adding endorsements to your policy to provide additional coverage. In other cases, it may mean purchasing additional policies. A licensed insurance agent can help you navigate your choices.

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