What Does Home Insurance Coverage Include and Exclude?

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Properly insuring your home protects you against damage due to weather, fire, and other perils. 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, and pays for living expenses if your home needs repair and you have to stay elsewhere. But what do home insurance policies not cover?
The article below provides key details on what a home insurance policy commonly includes and excludes as a part of its coverage, with Part 1 explaining what standard insurance covers and Part 2 talking about some of the common exclusions.

What is covered by standard homeowner’s 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 section below talks about what a home insurance policy normally includes in more detail:
  • The home: The main protection home insurance provides for your house includes the main structure of the house. And, 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.

Common exclusions

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 and can cause damage unique to the specific pest.
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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