Floods, earthquakes, dogs, diamond rings…what isn’t covered by your homeowner’s policy? We’ll dive into a list of common things that you might expect to be covered but aren’t.

Key takeaways:

What IS covered by your homeowner’s insurance:

  1. Your home & detached structures on your property
  2. Your personal property
  3. Other structures on your property
  4. Liability for injuries to someone else or damage to someone else’s property

What IS NOT covered by your homeowner’s insurance:

  1. Earthquakes
  2. Floods
  3. Damage due to poor maintenance
  4. Sewer backups
  5. Dogs/dog bites
  6. Jewelry, artwork & other expensive items
  7. Trampolines (check your policy for exceptions)

Homeowner’s insurance is meant to protect you in case your home is damaged by certain incidents, from a fire or storm to the theft of your belongings. However, you might not know that a number of common things are not covered by a basic homeowner’s policy.

So, what is and isn’t covered? We offer this simple guide to help clear up any confusion and to ensure you have the right coverage for your needs.

The basics of homeowner’s insurance

A typical homeowner’s policy covers quite a lot, including damage to your home as well as other structures on your property, such as tool sheds, fencing, and detached garages. It also covers your personal property, such as furniture, clothing, appliances, electronics, and computers.  

Homeowner’s insurance also offers liability coverage in case of property damage or injury to someone else on your property. For instance, if someone trips over a hose in your yard and breaks their leg, you could be held liable for medical bills or missed work. Or if your dog chew’s up a friend’s laptop, you could be held liable to repair or replace it. 

Liability insurance will cover you in case of a lawsuit. Keep in mind that there are coverage limits and a maximum your insurance will pay to replace or repair your home/belongings. Most policies also have a deductible, which is an amount you must pay before your benefits kick in and cover those damages. 

7 things not covered by homeowner’s insurance

We’ve covered the coverage. Now, let’s look at the other side of the coin. Certain things are not covered by a typical homeowner’s policy. Be sure to check your policy as every insurance company and state may have different rules. 

7 common things not covered by the typical homeowner’s insurance policy include: 

1. Earthquakes, landslides, sinkholes

Most states will not cover damage caused by earthquakes, landslides, or sinkholes but, you can buy a separate policy to cover earthquake damage. If you live in a state that is prone to earthquakes or sinkholes, you should definitely look into an earthquake policy.

2. Floods

Water damage from burst pipes or some other source inside your home is generally covered. However, flooding due to an overflowed river or hurricane is not covered by most homeowner’s policies. Again, you can buy separate flood insurance if you live in a state or area that is prone to tropical storms/hurricanes or floods, like Florida, and it’s highly recommended.

3. Damage due to poor maintenance

If you fail to have routine maintenance done on your home, don’t expect your insurance to automatically cover the damage. This could apply to a lack of pest control or mold control. However, if mold is the result of a covered incident – such as a burst pipe or leaky air conditioning – the removal may be covered. It’s important to limit the amount of moisture that can get into your house. So be sure to use mold-killing cleaners that have bleach in them. You also want to maintain your roof to ensure there are no leaks. 

4. Sewer backups

These smelly problems are generally not covered by a standard policy. You can usually buy separate coverage for these incidents. 

5. Dogs and dog bites

Some insurance companies will not insure homeowner’s who own certain dog breeds that have a reputation for being aggressive, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Such breeds can include pit bulls and Rottweilers. Other companies will decide on a case-by-case basis. If your dog has bitten someone in the past you may not be offered coverage or will be asked to pay a higher premium.

6. Expensive items

If you have expensive jewelry or artwork, a standard policy may not be enough to cover them. You’ll need to buy a rider or endorsement to get enough coverage to replace them if damaged or stolen. You can purchase riders for expensive items such as jewelry, artwork and antiques, family heirlooms, silverware, furs, and oriental rugs.

7. Trampolines, tree houses, and swimming pools

Many companies do not cover trampolines because the liability is too high. However, there may be exceptions if you purchase the right safety equipment. Be sure to check your individual policy to see the rules and regulations regarding covered injuries. Likewise, some treehouses can be considered high risk. Again, check your policy for the rules. 

A swimming pool (whether in-ground or above ground) is eligible for coverage under a “scheduled structure” or “other structures blanket,” just like a detached shed or outdoor greenhouse. Make sure you understand your liability coverage when it comes to a pool though. A pool can increase your liability risk, which may come with a higher premium. 

You can lower your risks by taking safety basic precautions such as installing a pool gate and/or a fence around your yard. 

Make sure you have the right homeowner’s coverage

The right homeowner’s insurance can save you thousands of dollars and protect you from liability. If you already have a policy, it’s a good idea to review it and make sure you have adequate coverage and any necessary riders such as flood/earthquake policies. This is especially important if you’ve recently done renovations/updates or added something like a pool or an addition to your home. 

Contact us to talk about your insurance needs and request a quote

This blog and website are made available by the publisher for educational and informational purposes only. It is not to be used as a substitute for competent insurance, legal, or tax advice from a licensed professional in your state.