Do Floors Fall under Dwelling Coverage?

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Kid on hardwood (Photo: @kayp via Twenty20)
Thanks to gravity, odds are, your floors are going to be subjected to more wear and tear than the majority of elements in your home. If there’s a water leak, it will probably end up on the floor, if a paint can tips, it will probably end up on the floor, the list goes on.
However, if your floors are damaged, do you know what coverage they fall under on your homeowners policy? And, more importantly, do you know when your insurer will pay for repair or replacement … and when they won’t?
If you have a cherished hardwood floor that you clean and buff with the utmost care, you’ll want to know what the recourse will be if it is damaged. Here’s what you need to know.

Do floors fall under dwelling coverage?

Yes, your floors fall under dwelling coverage on your HO policy because they are a built-in or “structural” part of your home.
People often confuse what falls under dwelling coverage and personal property coverage. The rule of thumb is that dwelling coverage protects elements or systems in your home that cannot be carried away from the premises with relative ease, like hardwood floors. Whereas, personal property coverage covers items that can be removed from the home without much trouble, like major appliances.

When will a homeowners insurance policy cover a broken or damaged floor?

Now you know what coverage your floor falls under, it’s time for the important questions, like when you will qualify for a payout.
If your floor was damaged by a covered peril on your homeowners insurance, the cost of repairs or replacement will most likely be reimbursable.
Most dwelling coverage includes these standard perils:
  • Fire and smoke
  • Lightning
  • Power surges
  • Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Weight of snow and ice
  • Wind and hail
  • Vehicle collision
  • Aircraft
  • Falling objects
  • Volcanic eruptions
  • Bursting pipes
  • Explosions
  • Riots
  • Water damage/HVAC malfunction
  • Frozen plumbing, appliances, other
Before assuming you are covered, contact your homeowners insurance company. If your floors qualify for replacement, you will either receive the replacement cost or the actual cash value or “market value.”
Replacement cost: If you have the replacement cost, your policy will pay for the replacement of your floors, even if the market has fluctuated and cost more now than when you purchased them.
Actual cash value: If you have actual cash value coverage, your policy will only reimburse you the market value of your floors just before they were damaged. Floors depreciate in value over time, so if you have actual cash value coverage, you will most likely end up paying some of the replacement cost out of pocket.

When will a homeowners insurance policy not cover a broken or damaged floor?

If your floor is damaged by a peril that isn’t listed on your homeowners policy, it will not be covered. It’s important to note, covered perils are usually limited to unexpected and unavoidable occurrences. That means damage caused by gradual wear and neglect won’t make the cut.
It’s your job to maintain your floors and replace them when they’ve reached the end of their useful life. It’s important to study your policy to make sure you have adequate coverage. As mentioned earlier, your policy will only reimburse you for damage caused by covered perils; however, some perils you may expect to be covered might not be.
For instance, earthquakes and floods (although unexpected an unavoidable) aren’t usually covered perils in standard homeowners insurance policies.
If you’re worried you don’t have an adequate amount of insurance, talk to your insurance agent about additional coverage.