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What's covered

Most Home Insurance policies pay for damage to the structure and contents of your home caused 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, landslide and earthquake. Special policies are usually available to insure against these excluded losses.

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

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

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 on personal property anywhere. That means personal belongings are protected against theft even when they're not inside the house. Coverage would apply to theft of luggage, computers, golf clubs and other belongings while the insured is traveling.

What's not Covered
Damage caused by earthquake, flooding, landslide and earth movement, normal wear and tear and a nuclear accident is specifically excluded from standard Homeowners Insurance policies.

Theft or damage of furs, jewels, coin and stamp collections and antiques may need additional coverage. Check with your agent or insurance company about purchasing an endorsement or separate polidcy to cover high-value items.

Any damage or loss connected to a home business is not covered by a standard Homeowners policy.   However, coverage for a home-based business is usually available and can be purchased separately.

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

Guaranteed Replacement Cost Policy
Another type of additional coverage is a Guaranteed Replacement Cost Policy. Most homes are insured for the value of the home, which may or may not be enough to cover the cost of rebuilding.

This protection provides coverage for replacement value - what it would cost to replace your home rather than just build another house. This is particularly important if you have a unique or historic home. This type of coverage allows the insured to rebuild, regardless of cost, and include the special wood moldings and other more expensive details.

Optional Coverage Endorsements
Most Homeowners policies contain limitations on certain types of personal property such as expensive 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 supplment your coverage with an endorsement - sometimes called a rider or floater - that will provide the extra coverage you need for an additional premium. Review the 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.