How well do you know your home insurance policy? Are you best buddies, or casual acquaintances that only talk when they need something from each other? The reason that we ask is that it’s important that you’re familiar with your policy. See, there are these things called exclusions, meaning things that aren’t covered by the policy. We encourage you to reach best-buddy status with your policy so that you aren’t surprised by any losses that aren’t covered. It’s better to know what isn’t covered before one of those not-covered things strikes.
We’ve come up with a list of ten things that aren’t usually covered in your home insurance policy. You might be surprised at some of them!
1. Water damage
There are a couple common water-related exclusions that are worth noting.
Flooding. Flooding is not covered by most insurance policies. To be protected from flood damage, the costs of which can be astronomical, you’d have to purchase a separate flood insurance policy. This will protect you from damages or losses that might happen from flooding.
Surface water. Atlanta gets a lot of rain, especially during the summer months. We often get torrential downpours that can cause water to seep into homes, which is why it’s important to know how to prevent flood damage. Unfortunately, water damage due to heavy rain is not covered. Again, you’d need to purchase a flood policy.
2. Sewage backup
We don’t want to think about what would happen if our plumbing systems failed spectacularly and caused sewage backup into our homes, but it does happen. And this is something else that’s not typically covered in home insurance policies. You can add coverage for sewage backup and sump pump failure to your policy with an endorsement (which is basically a section that amends your policy.)
Your boat is not included in your homeowner’s policy, and theft of your watercraft is not covered if the thievery happened off of your residential property. You need to buy a separate boatowners policy to make sure that your watercraft is properly protected.
Personal liability and medical payments from your home insurance don’t apply to the use of any vehicle with more than 50 horsepower, so keep that in mind if you’re considering insuring your boat.
Mold damage is usually not covered in your typical homeowner’s policy if it’s a result of a maintenance issue, like condensation or a leak. Make sure to stay vigilant for water damage and catch any problems early.
Earthquakes and landslides are common exclusions, so if you live in an area that’s prone to earthquakes or landslides, you’ll have to buy a separate earthquake policy. Earthquake policies cover your home and its contents, but you’ll want to make sure that you have enough coverage to rebuild your home, taking construction costs into account.
A typical homeowners policy won’t cover sinkholes, but you can purchase insurance for them if you live in an area where sinkholes are likely. Sinkholes in Georgia aren’t unheard of, though we may not get as many of them as some other states.
7. Sound-system theft (cars)
If you have a fancy sound-system in your car, your home insurance won’t cover it if it gets stolen, and neither will your auto insurance (keep in mind that this includes iPods.) You’d need to get specific insurance for your sound system.
8. Intentional physical or bodily damage
Your insurance won’t cover damage that was done on purpose. Insurance is for things that are out of our control.
9. Vacant property
This is an important one. If you have to move out of your home for a time while you have renovations or repairs done, or if you’re not living in a second home that you own, you may have to purchase extra coverage to make sure your home is protected. Your homeowner’s policy might have an exclusion for leaving your property unattended (not lived in), so be sure to check your policy before moving out to have those renos done.
It’s not that your homeowner’s policy doesn’t cover these things. It’s just that you might not have enough coverage in your policy to cover the entire cost of your valuables. You may need to look into getting an additional endorsement or rider for your insurance policy to make sure you have enough coverage for your jewelry.
The only way to know exactly what your policy does and does not cover is to do a thorough policy review. You need to read through it and ask questions. Take the time to become best buddies with your policy – you need to figure out what risks you’re covered for and which ones you’re not. And you need to make sure that you add any coverages that you need to take care of the exclusions you find. Remember, peace of mind is priceless.
If you want a hand in reviewing your home insurance policy to figure out what kind of coverage you have, we’d be more than happy to help you! We can also get you a free quote for your home insurance and auto insurance, and we’ll help you identify your risks and add any coverages that you feel you need. Just give us a call or fill out our quote form and we’ll be in touch!