What Does Home Insurance Coverage Include and Exclude?

While home insurance covers a wide variety of perils, items it doesn’t cover include earthquakes, hurricanes, and acts of war. Read this article to learn more about common policy exclusions.
Written by Cheryl Knight
Reviewed by Carrie Adkins
A well-rounded home insurance policy also provides liability insurance to protect you in case others get injured on your property, insures your personal property from loss by covered perils, and pays for living expenses if your home needs repair and you have to stay elsewhere.
But what do home insurance policies not cover?
Read on to learn what's covered by homeowners insurance as well as common home insurance exclusions, presented by
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.
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What is covered by standard homeowners insurance?

Home insurance policies tend to cover a lot of different perils that can damage a home. In addition, many home insurance policies also provide some level of personal property protection, liability insurance, and additional living expenses.

The home itself

The main protection home insurance provides for your house includes the main structure of the house. Some policies include protection for detached structures, such as garages, sheds, or fences. The most common perils that a home insurance policy covers include:
  • Acts of vandalism and theft
  • Acts of terrorism that result in explosions, fire, and smoke
  • Damage from riots and other forms of civil unrest
  • Damage from smoke
  • Explosions
  • Falling objects, including trees, tree branches, or other objects
  • Fires
  • Lighting
  • Spoilage of food as a result of a power outage
  • Volcanic eruptions
  • Wind damage suffered as a result of a hurricane, tornado, and other extreme weather event

Personal property

Many home insurance policies also give some kind of protection to your personal property up to a certain amount, usually about 50% to 70% of the total coverage on your home.

Liability

Liability insurance protects you if someone other than yourself or family members who live in the home get injured while on your property. The insurance does provide protection for you or other family members living in your home if you or your family members damage someone else's house.

Additional living expenses

When your house gets damaged, the additional living expenses part of a home insurance policy pays for any rent or other expenses that you incur living away from home while it is repaired or rebuilt.

Typical exclusions in a home insurance policy

Unfortunately, home insurance does not cover all forms of damage. When purchasing home insurance, make sure to check out all of the exclusions not covered by the insurance. The most common exclusions include:
  • Acts of war: Acts of war represent a big exclusion. This exclusion includes both civil war and declared war.
  • Dog bites: Many insurance companies do not cover dog bites when it comes to the liability part of the coverage they offer.
  • Earthquakes: This exclusion is also referred to as ground movement. If you live in an earthquake-prone area, you should consider
    earthquake insurance
    . Other events not covered on your home insurance include sinkholes and landslides.
  • Flooding: Flooding represents a big exclusion, with many states offering separate
    flood insurance
    , especially in areas prone to flooding.
  • Government action: Government actions includes seizure of property and condemning an unsafe structure, such as your home.
  • Hurricanes: States that experience hurricanes offer separate windstorm insurance. In addition, insurance companies can charge a wind deductible, which means that the company cuts a certain percentage of the value of your home from any claim payment.
  • Maintenance related: Home insurance companies do not cover any damage resulting from allowing your home to fall into disrepair. Insurance companies expect policyholders to make an effort to repair and protect their home and not let it fall into a neglected state.
  • Mold: Mold is most often associated with a buildup of moisture or standing water associated with water leaks. Just like with the maintenance-related exclusion above, home insurance companies expect policyholders to repair any water leaks before the onset of mold and do not cover damage resulting from it.
  • Nuclear hazards: While highly unlikely to happen, home insurance companies do not protect against nuclear hazards, such as a nuclear attack or accident. Fortunately, many nuclear power companies have insurance of their own to cover such incidents.
  • Vermin problems: Home insurance companies do not cover vermin infestation problems and damage. Vermin include pests such as
    termites
    , mice, and
    bugs
    .
Knowing what your home insurance does and doesn't cover allows you to acquire additional insurance if you need it. Luckily, many insurance companies do provide a way to cover any excluded perils, usually at an added cost.
Make sure you understand what your home insurance covers before purchasing your next policy.
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