Preparing the Northwest

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Insurance Facts for Homeowners

What's covered

Most home insurance policies pay for damage to the structure and contents of your home by a covered peril. A covered peril is a sudden and accidental event that causes damage or loss. Covered perils may vary by policy type and company, so make sure your policy covers the perils that are common to your area. A general homeowners policy is not intended to cover situations that are too unpredictable to insure against, such as flood and earthquake. Special policies are usually available to insure against these uncovered perils.

Standard Homeowners Insurance provides coverage for damage caused by the following perils:

  • Fire
  • Lightning
  • Hail
  • Explosions
  • Theft
  • Freezing weather
  • Wind
  • Vandalism

Trees and plants are not covered against windstorm damage.  However, Homeowners Insurance will cover damage to an insured structure caused by a tree that fell during a windstorm and will pay to remove the tree.

Generally, Homeowners Insurance includes coverage for personal property anywhere in the world. That means personal belongings are protected against theft even when they're not inside the house. Coverage would apply to theft of luggage, golf clubs and other belongings you are traveling, less your deductible.

Be sure to read through your insurance policy to understand your coverage.  A detailed list of what is covered appears under the heading Perils Insured Against.  Contact your insurance company or agent with any questions you have.

Homeowner Liability Insurance

This part of your policy protects you from losses resulting from bodily injury or property damage that you or family members cause to others. It also pays for damage caused by pets. As with Auto Insurance, your Homeowners' Liability Coverage will pay a judgment or settlement arising from accidental acts by you or a member of your family.

The cost of your defense is paid by the insurance company and is not deducted from your limit of coverage.  Homeowners Insurance policies provide a minimum of $100,000 liability coverage, but higher limits are available. Most insurers offer Homeowners Liability Coverage up to $500,000 per incident.

What's not Covered

Damage caused by flooding, tsunami, mudflow or earth movement such as earthquake and landslide.  Damage from a nuclear accident also is not covered.  Any damage or loss connected to a home business won't be covered by a standard Homeowners policy.   However, insurance coverage for a home-based business is available and can be purchased separately.  Coverage for theft of, or damage to, furs, jewelry, coin or stamp collections, and/or antiques is usually limited to $1000 or $2000.  You can add special coverage to replace these high value items by contacting your agent or insurance company. 

Be sure to read through your insurance policy to understand your coverage and policy exclusions.  A detailed list of what is not covered appears under the heading Exclusions.  Contact your insurance company or agent with any questions you have.

Optional Coverage Endorsements

Most Homeowners policies contain limitations on certain types of personal property such as jewelry, silver, furs, antiques, firearms, fine arts and other items of special value. If your needs are greater than what the standard policy will allow, you may be able to supplement your coverage with an endorsement, sometimes called a rider or floater, that will provide the extra coverage you need for an additional premium.  Review your contract for specific limitations or ask your agent or insurance company representatives to explain the limits to you. You can find this information in Section 1 of your policy, Personal Property, Special Limits of Liability.