Are Fences Protected under Dwelling Coverage?

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Fence (Photo: @smgu3 via Twenty20)
Society has made you yearn for a white picket fence your entire life. But whether you have the quintessential white fence or a wood, chain link, or vinyl fence, you’ll want to make sure it’s properly insured.
That being said, do you know what part of your homeowners insurance policy your fence falls under? And, more importantly, do you know in what circumstances your policy will pay for a broken or damaged fence? Here’s what you need to know about protecting your fence.

Do fences fall under dwelling coverage?

No, fences are not covered in dwelling coverage. Your dwelling is considered your primary residence or anything directly attached to your residence, like porches, patios, and decks.
Your fence is separated from your main dwelling by a clear space, which means it falls under other structures coverage or Coverage B.
Your homeowners policy will only cover existing fences. Therefore, if you put in a new fence, you will need to call your insurance company to have your coverage adjusted. Adding significant updates to your property increases its value. If you do not notify your insurance company about a new fence and it becomes damaged, you will be on the hook for the repair or replacement cost.

When will my homeowners insurance cover a broken or damaged fence?

Your fence will most likely be covered if it is damaged by a covered peril. However, covered perils are usually limited to unexpected and unavoidable occurrences. Here are some common covered perils:
  • Aircraft damage
  • Damage from weighty ice or snow
  • Explosions
  • Fallen objects
  • Fire damage
  • Hail damage
  • Hurricanes
  • Lightning strikes
  • Motor vehicle damage
  • Smoke damage
  • Theft and vandalism
  • Tornadoes
If your fence is damaged by one of the perils listed above, it’s important to note that the “other structures” section of a homeowner’s insurance policy is typically worth 10% of the policy’s limits. For example, a home insured with a total limit of $100,000 would have an other structures coverage limit of $10,000. This limit, however, may not be sufficient for a homeowner’s coverage needs, especially if one of your “other structures” is an in-ground pool. That is why it’s important to double-check the details of your policy to ensure you have the adequate amount of coverage.

When will my homeowners insurance not cover a broken or damaged fence?

If your fence is damaged by a peril that isn’t listed on your home insurance policy, it will not be covered. It’s important to double-check your policy because perils you may think are covered might not be. For example, floods and earthquakes are usually left out of standard homeowners insurance policies; however, they could pose a threat to your fence if you live in a place where these occurrences are known risk factors. Therefore, it is advisable that you get additional flood and earthquake insurance.
Your HO policy also won’t cover damage that happened due to normal wear or neglect. That means, if your dog has taken a liking to digging under your fence and it results in damages to the wood, repair and replacement will not be covered by your policy.