Is Furniture Protected under Dwelling Coverage?

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Girl on couch (Photo: @heather_lee_wilson via Twenty20)
Apart from your home and your car, your furniture may be one of your most expensive assets. That means, if it were to become damaged or broken, you probably couldn’t afford to easily replace it out of pocket.
That being said, do you know what coverage your furniture falls under on your homeowners insurance policy? And, more importantly, do you know when your insurer will reimburse you for damaged or broken furniture? Here’s what you need to know.

Is furniture protected under dwelling coverage?

No, furniture does not fall under dwelling coverage because it is not a built-in or structural element of your home like your furnace, cabinets, roof, etc. Your furniture falls under personal property coverage (or Coverage C) of your homeowners insurance policy because it can be carried away from your home without detaching it from your home’s major systems or ripping it out of the wall.

When would my homeowners policy cover damaged broken or damaged furniture?

Your furniture would likely be covered if it was damaged by a covered peril in your homeowners insurance policy. However, most perils are limited to unexpected and unavoidable occurrences, like fire, weather, and criminal activity. For instance, if lightning caused a fire in your home that damaged your furniture, it would likely be covered by your insurance company.
If you plan on making a claim for your personal belongings, it’s important to keep in mind that personal property coverage has policy limits, or a maximum amount that can be paid on personal property claims. These limits are usually between 20% and 50% of the total coverage limits for the policy on a home. So, a home insured for $100,000 could have a personal property coverage limit between $20,000 and $50,000.
That being said, if you were to receive coverage for your furniture, you would either be reimbursed for the actual cash value or the replacement cost. The replacement cost covers brand new furniture (of the same make and model or equivalent), whereas actual cash value factors in the depreciation (or the market value) of your items before they were damaged or broken. Therefore, if you opt for actual cash value coverage, you will likely need to pay for some of the replacement costs out of pocket.
If you’re trying to decide whether or not to make a claim, contact your insurance agent.

When would my homeowners policy not cover broken or damaged furniture?

If your furniture wasn’t broken by a peril listed in your home insurance policy, it won’t be covered.
Remember, it’s a good idea to double-check your policy. Some perils you expect to be covered may not be. For example, floods and earthquakes usually aren’t listed as covered perils in standard policies. Therefore, if you live in areas where these occurrences are known risks, it’s advisable to buy additional flood insurance and earthquake insurance.
As mentioned earlier, standard policies usually only apply to the unexpected and avoidable, which means malfunctions and damage caused by normal wear will not be covered. That means if your favorite couch is over a decade old and it caves in when your uncle sits on it, it will not be covered by your homeowners policy.