Unsuspecting homeowners around the country buy homeowner’s insurance expecting protection against the plethora of unfortunate events that could befall them, only to realize afterward that their policy doesn't cover a particular problem. Credio has compiled a list of 25 things not covered by your insurance to help you best prepare for potential difficulties, either by taking preventative measures or by purchasing supplemental insurance.
#25. Identity Theft
Identity theft is common in the United States, and the cleanup costs for identity theft are often high. If your identity is stolen, your homeowner's insurance policy will not cover the cost to set the record straight. Always use best practices for document storage and disposal, and use strong, unique passwords online to keep your information safe.
#24. Damage Due to Neglect
Normal wear and tear is the responsibility of the homeowner to repair. If you let a problem linger and it leads to more extensive damage, you are on the hook for repair and replacement costs — your insurance company generally won’t chip in to help.
#23. Dog Attacks
Dog owners around the world love their furry companions, but sometimes a loving pet can become a dangerous predator, causing harm to guests or owners. Property damage and injury caused by pets is typically not covered by homeowner’s insurance.
#22. Food Losses Due to Power Outage
Severe weather and construction accidents regularly cause power outages around the country. Though power is typically restored in time to keep your refrigerated and frozen foods from going bad, food losses and associated costs are not covered by homeowner's insurance.
#21. Car Break In
If your car is parked in your driveway, on the street in front of your house or off of an alley behind your home, it is vulnerable to theft and break-in, a quandary not covered by your homeowner's insurance.
#20. Boat Theft
Boating is a great pastime, and many boat owners keep their prized vessels at their homes when not in use. If you have a boat on your property, ensure it is very secure — if someone takes off with your boat, the loss is typically not covered by homeowner's insurance.
Stamp, coin and other collections are typically excluded from homeowner's insurance policies. If you have a valuable collection at home, it is best to keep it in a locked, fireproof safe to ensure that it is not stolen or destroyed in an accident.
#18. Fine Art
Fine art typically requires a second policy or an add-on to your existing homeowner's insurance. Artwork under $1,000 may be covered, but always check your policy to understand exactly which pieces are protected in the event of a loss. If you own any valuable artwork, you should have it professionally appraised and listed separately as an add-on to your insurance policy.
Storing your valuable jewelry in a locked jewelry box is a good practice, but in the case of fire or theft, jewelry typically is not covered by homeowner's insurance like other possessions. Instead, jewelry and precious metals must be listed and insured separately through an add-on policy on top of your regular coverage.
#16. Business Structures
If your property has business structures apart from your home, such as a shed or detached garage used as office space, you typically need to add secondary insurance to protect the structure.
#15. Acts of War
Acts of war on American soil are very rare. However, if a foreign nation attacks the United States, the resulting damage to residential homes is typically excluded from homeowner's insurance policies.
#14. Acts of Terrorism
Thankfully terrorist attacks in the United States remain rare, but if your home sustains damage as a result of an act of terrorism, it will not be covered by your homeowner's insurance.
#13. Nuclear Accidents
Luckily there has never been a nuclear accident causing damage in the United States, but if Chernobyl had been in your backyard, you'd be left with a worthless home and no compensation.
#12. Personal Injury
Some homeowner insurance policies cover injuries that take place on the property, but not all policies are created equally. Your policy may not have this feature, so check with your agent to see if it needs to be added. If someone slips on the ice on your sidewalk and gets hurt, you don’t want to be stuck paying the hospital bill out of pocket.
#11. Treehouse Injuries
Treehouses are a fun getaway for kids, but they typically come with ladders and heights, both of which can lead to injury. Most insurance policies exclude treehouse-related injuries and claims.
#10. Swimming Pool Injuries
Swimming pools are a fun way to enjoy a warm day, but they are also a serious safety hazard, particularly when young children are nearby. If someone slips and falls on your pool deck, you might be stuck with a big bill, as your insurance company is unlikely to cover the expense.
Mold can cause damage to homes and present serious health risks. A small leak or moist room can become infested quickly and, according to House Logic, professional mold removal and repair typically costs between $500 and $6,000, but can easily reach into the tens of thousands for severe growth.
#8. Broken Pipes
In cold climates, pipes that have not been winterized can freeze and burst, causing a constant flow of water until the pipe is shut off. A burst pipe can damage flooring and anything below. If you live somewhere that has regular freezing temperatures, make sure your home is properly winterized to avoid a big expense. Some home insurance plans cover the expenses depending on the circumstances, but in the cases of poor drainage or negligence, you're liable to pay the costs on your own.
#7. Sewer Backups
Like floods, sewer backups can cause extensive water damage to homes and are not typically covered by home insurance. If a sewer line from your home is damaged by tree roots or construction, you can expect a nasty backup. Repairing carpeting and hardwood floors from water damage is expensive and, according to the Insurance Information Institute, sewer backup coverage can be added to your current policy for $40 and $50 per year.
Termites prefer warm, moist climates, and several hundred species of termites cause damage to buildings, crops, and forests every year. Some homeowner's policies specifically exclude termite and insect damage. According to Ransford Environmental Solutions, a pest control company in Massachusetts, termite damage costs $3,000 on average to repair.
Sinkholes are common in wet, soft ground in states like Florida and Louisiana. Sinkholes have damaged and sometimes completely destroyed homes. According to the United States Geological Survey, sinkholes cause an average of $300 million in damage every year.
#4. Wind Storms
A major wind storm blew through the Pacific Northwest in 1962, causing 46 fatalities and widespread property damage. While most houses can withstand strong winds, if your insurance company calls those winds “an act of God,” your policy likely will not cover it.
#3. Trampoline Injuries
While trampolines can be fun, they are also a source of many broken bones and other serious injuries. If someone is jumping on your trampoline and falls, you may be liable for their injuries. And, like swimming pools, your insurance policy likely excludes any trampoline-related claims.
Rivers, lakes and ocean levels are constantly fluctuating, and if your home is near a body of water or flood plain, you may need flood insurance.
Due to the nature of flood risk, the United States government is the primary backer of flood insurance policies. Water that comes from the sky is considered weather damage, but water from anywhere else is flooding, and not covered by most insurance policies.
Earthquakes are common all over the country, and the West Coast is famously susceptible to major earthquakes. If you live in an area like Los Angeles or Portland where earthquakes are expected, you might not have any coverage for when “the big one” strikes. According to FEMA, California alone suffers $4.4 billion in earthquake-related losses each year. Earthquake insurance will cover your portion of the bill.
Detailed information on home insurance plans offered in your area can be found on Credio's Home Insurance topic.