Homeowners insurance coverage can vary greatly from policy to policy. Each insurance company has its own rates, coverage limits, qualifications, and more. For that reason, it is difficult to answer the question, “what does home insurance cover?”
However, you can better understand your policy when you understand the different types of coverage options and covered perils. In this article, we break down homeowners insurance coverage so that you can learn more about your policy. However, we always recommend consulting your agent for specific details, insurance quotes, and any other questions.
Types of Homeowners Insurance Coverage
Far too many homeowners are confused by the type of coverage they have. Some may be surprised to find that they only have structural coverage, while others may discover that they have more coverage than they really need.
Homeowners insurance coverage can be broken down into four main categories: dwelling, personal property, additional structures, and personal liability. Read on to learn more about these types of coverage.
The main purpose of homeowners insurance is to cover the cost to repair or rebuild your home. This type of coverage is known as dwelling coverage. It specifically deals with the structure of the house, so that includes the foundation, walls, roof, etc. That’s not all. Some homeowners insurance covers additional structures attached to the home. For example, damage to your garage or deck may also be covered.
Personal Property Coverage
In addition to dwelling coverage, your home insurance may also offer personal property protection. With this coverage, you can repair or replace personal belongings if they are damaged by covered risks. Your personal property coverage could also be referred to as contents coverage. It may cover the full cost to replace an item, or you might get the actual cash value.
It’s important to know that some insurance companies put limits on personal property protection. However, you can often purchase additional protection to ensure that you have full coverage for your jewelry, luxury clothing items, electronics, and more.
Additional Structure Coverage
While a standard insurance policy covers your home and attached structures, you also have the option to add even more coverage. With additional structure protection, you can get coverage for the cost to repair another structure on your property, even if it is separate from your home. These buildings could include a shed, fence, pergolas, detached garages, and more.
In addition to coverage for property, you can also get liability coverage for personal injuries. It is designed to cover medical bills if you are at fault for someone’s injuries on your property. However, it is only for someone who doesn’t live with you, so it shouldn’t be viewed as a substitute for medical or life insurance.
Perils Covered by Homeowners Insurance
Once you know which items are covered, you can better understand the types of damage that they are protected from. These are often referred to as perils.
So, what does home insurance cover?
In general, the list of protected perils is very long. In fact, many insurance policies cover the most common perils, such as fire, hail, theft, and more. If you want to see the specific perils covered by your insurance, you can find a list on your policy.
Fire & Smoke
Fire damage is one of the perils most people think of when they think of homeowners insurance coverage. With fire damage also comes smoke damage. The majority of home insurance policies cover both situations.
However, they don’t just help you with the cost of repairing or rebuilding your home. Your insurance can also help you to restore belongings affected by smoke. You can even get coverage for additional living expenses if you can’t live in your home while rebuilding.
Weight of Ice or Snow
In New Jersey, homes get their fair share of cold weather precipitation. While snow might look pretty, it can quickly become a problem. If too much ice, snow, or sleet weighs down your roof, you might find yourself dealing with leaks, and in worst-case scenarios, it could cause your roof to collapse. Fortunately, the damage to your home and affected personal property is usually a covered loss.
A lightning strike can not only lead to fire and smoke damage, but it can also destroy electronics and appliances. In most cases, homeowners insurance covers the cost of structural damage caused by lightning. You could also have a policy that extends the coverage to damage caused by a resulting power surge. This extended insurance would provide protection for any electronics destroyed by the lightning strike.
Windstorms & Hail
Windstorms can cause severe destruction to your roof and siding, and hail can be just as devastating. However, a standard insurance policy typically covers these perils. Your insurance company may also cover any rain or snow blown inside your home after storm damage. It’s crucial that you read your policy to check for any exclusions.
When a thief enters your home, they usually don’t do it kindly. An intruder may damage your windows or doors to get inside. Insurance companies often cover this kind of damage. If you don’t have personal property coverage, that is where it would end. Personal property protection covers the cost to replace any stolen belongings.
There are limitations, however. Your insurance may not provide full coverage for certain items, such as luxury clothing and jewelry. They also don’t offer protection for stolen credit cards. You will need to go through the credit card company for reimbursement.
Much like an insurance policy would cover fire, it should also cover an explosion. As long as you didn’t intentionally cause it, you should have coverage regardless of the source of the blast. For example, you might have an aerosol can, propane, grill, or in worse cases, a gas leak. With homeowners insurance, you can cover the cost to repair the resulting damage.
Damage from Vehicles or Aircrafts
Have you ever worried about an aircraft crashing into your home? If so, you can rest easy knowing most insurance providers classify it as a covered peril. You can also get coverage for any vehicles that may crash into your home.
While it might not happen often, other things besides aircraft can fall from the sky. If they happen to land on your home, they could cause severe destruction. Fortunately, most policies will cover these kinds of accidents, even if the object happens to be a meteor.
Your insurance should also cover more common occurrences, such as fallen trees. Most will only cover a tree if it’s healthy and toppled over from strong wind or lightning. If an old or dying tree falls on your property, it’s unlikely to be covered. It is your responsibility to pay for damage caused by your neglect or poor maintenance.
Water damage is one of the big gray areas in homeowners insurance policies. There are several cases where it might be covered, and there are several where it might not. As a general rule, insurance companies pay for any water damage that is sudden and accidental. That could be a burst pipe or backed-up toilet. They won’t cover damage caused by poor home maintenance. If you knew your water heater leaked and didn’t fix it, then the damage it causes is not covered.
That’s not the only exception. The water must not have touched the outside ground. Therefore, any water damage from an outside sewer or drain is not covered. You can, however, invest in additional coverage for these types of situations.
Similarly, you can invest in flood insurance. Flooding from storm surges, oversaturated ground, or hurricanes is never covered. You can typically get special coverage for these situations through the National Flood Insurance Program. Depending on where you live, you may actually be required to have it.
Find out More About Homeowners Insurance Coverage for Repairs
Has your home suffered any of the perils listed above? Do you need to repair or rebuild your house or attached structures? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Tandem Contractors are here to help you with your homeowners insurance claims.
We have plenty of experience working with insurance companies to make sure that you get the fair coverage you need and deserve. Whether you need a roof repaired or a deck replaced, we have you covered. You can choose from our long list of additional services to get your home back to its original condition!