Skip to main content

Homeowners Insurance: What It Covers, and What It Does Not

homeowners insuranceWhen you’re shopping for a homeowners insurance policy, you may believe it’s simply a matter of comparing prices and choosing a deductible that works for you. This is probably because you’re under the impression that all homeowners insurance policies are about the same; if anything happens to your home – anything at all – you will receive a check for repairs or to replace the home.

Unfortunately, this is an untrue assumption. All homeowners insurance policies are not the same, and which ones will not. You should choose an insurance policy based on the likelihood of certain types of damage. For example, someone residing in Kansas would not need coverage in the event of a tsunami, but if your house is located on the beach that suddenly becomes a very real concern!

Typically, homeowners insurance policies cover damage to your property and possessions due to:

  • fire
  • certain types of storms
  • theft
  • vandalism

If your home is damaged or destroyed in one of these events, your insurance policy most likely provides for shelter costs. This means that during the time you’re displaced from your home, your costs of staying elsewhere are covered (subject to certain limits).

Homeowners insurance also usually covers liability for accidents on your property. If someone is hurt in your home, your legal responsibility to that person is covered by insurance.

Often, homeowners insurance policies carry certain exclusions, which specify damage to your home will not be covered due to certain events such as:

  • earth movements- earthquake, landslides, or sinkholes
  • war
  • nuclear hazard
  • power failure
  • faulty zoning
  • bad workmanship
  • defective maintenance
  • government action

Coverage in the event of flooding can be tricky. In general, most polices cover water damage originating from inside the home, such as a broken pipe. But often homeowners insurance policies do not cover flooding that results from outside forces, such as a swollen river nearby.

No two homeowners insurance policies are exactly alike, and which ones are not. If you feel you need additional insurance coverage for specific events, such as earthquake or flood insurance, then ask your insurance agent about purchasing a supplemental policy.