Insurance is your financial safety net against life’s unpredictable moments. But for that safety net to work right, you need to know where it ends! It’s easy to make insurance mistakes thinking you’re covered when you aren’t. Many homeowners don’t know what home insurance doesn’t cover and when they may need supplemental coverage.
If you own a home and aren’t 100 percent sure what your insurance covers, read on to learn more about common damages that homeowner’s insurance typically won’t cover.
Typical Damage Your Home’s Insurance Won’t Cover
One of the most common surprises for homeowners is learning that their standard homeowner’s insurance doesn’t protect them in the event of a flood. Flood damage can happen in several different cases:
- Extreme rainfall
- Dam/Levee breaks
- Sump pump failure
- Sewer backups
- Heavy storms
Flood damage can be devastating – and sudden. Just a few inches of water in a home can cause thousands in damage. Repairs can take weeks or months and often involves replacing drywall, flooring and significant property loss.
If you took a loan for your home, most lenders require flood insurance or riders when the property is in an area that’s at risk for flood damage. However, that doesn’t mean you should skip it if you aren’t required to have it!
Flood zones are a great indicator for identifying at-risk homes, but almost any home is susceptible to water damage. Homes in extremely developed areas have a unique risk due to the lack of natural vegetation to absorb moisture and the abundance of direct paths for floodwater to reach their homes. Areas prone to wildfires are likely vulnerable, as fires similarly clear away vegetation that helps reduce flood threats.
Earthquakes & Related Disasters
An earthquake can be a terrifying thing to experience – especially when they happen in places they aren’t expected. While some areas are highly prone to earthquakes, others can experience them just the same. However, because their likelihood is most common in certain areas, basic homeowner policies won’t typically cover them.
Damage from earthquakes ranges dramatically depending on the magnitude. Small quakes may not cause any damage at all, while large ones can topple homes and destroy nearly everything at the epicenter.
In addition to seismic damage, earthquakes often lead to indirect damages as well. Flooding, fires, and sinkholes are all potential risks following earthquakes. Your standard homeowner policy may cover damage like a separate fire if it was caused by an earthquake, but you should clarify with your insurance provider if you aren’t sure!
Negligence or Typical Home Wear & Tear
The purpose of homeowner’s insurance isn’t to protect you from the costs of owning a home. It’s to cover you in cases of unexpected and uncontrollable damage. Being a homeowner means a lot of typical maintenance to keep things in working order and to avoid injury to you or others on your property.
If you don’t take care of your property, you’ll be on the hook for any costs to repair problems that spiral out of control. A great example of the difference would be these two scenarios:
If you’re at work in the winter and your power shuts off, leading to a frozen pipe that bursts and floods your home, you would be covered if this water damage is part of your policy. However, if you have a leaky pipe that you ignore for months that eventually causes a flood, your negligence in dealing with it exacerbated the problem and therefore it wouldn’t likely be covered.
While every claim is unique, the general idea is that claims are only valid for issues you couldn’t reasonably prevent. This includes filing claims in a reasonable timeframe! If you wait months after major damage to file your claim, your insurance provider may argue that the delay caused additional damage that was your responsibility to prevent.
Likewise, basic wear and tear in your home will never be covered. Paint in old homes will eventually peel or wear away, carpets will become worn and wood floors will scratch. These are the responsibility of the homeowner to prevent or replace as necessary.
One interesting part of homeowner policies is that they won’t cover issues related to government acts. This can cover things that are direct results of negligence (like a condemned home) or uncontrollable acts like eminent domain or even acts of war.
Fortunately, these are rare events. Your chances of the government claiming eminent domain on your property, for instance, are astronomically low. However, it’s still good to know where your insurance policy ends! Knowing what home insurance doesn’t cover can help you know when to look for additional coverage or what you’re responsible for as a homeowner.
Contact Iott Insurance for a Quote Today
Iott Insurance has been a part of southeast Michigan for over 50 years. We can help you plan your insurance needs and find you the right policies or plans to protect you.
Or you can visit one of our three offices in southeast Michigan:
Blissfield, MI – (517) 628-4574
Lambertville, MI – (734) 807-3825
Petersburg, MI – (734) 215-9884
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