Are Disasters Like Hurricanes Covered By Home Insurance?

It Seems Like Disasters Are Becoming More Common.

Which perils otherwise known as disasters are covered by Homeowners Insurance?

Standard home insurance policies typically cover a range of ever present disasters like tornadoes, hurricanes, fire, lightningHurricanes and Homeowners Insurance strikes and winter storm damage caused by weight of ice and snow. Most homeowners policies cover all the disasters listed below.

Some Homeowners Insurance provide coverage for the first ten in the list. It is important to review your home insurance for the specific disasters.

WHAT TYPE OF PERILS ARE YOU INSURED FOR?

Dwelling & Personal Property

  1. Fire or lightning
  2. Windstorm or hail
  3. Explosion
  4. Riot or civil commotion
  5. Damage caused by aircraft
  6. Damage caused by vehicles
  7. Smoke
  8. Vandalism or malicious mischief
  9. Theft
  10. Volcanic eruption
  11. Falling object
  12. Weight of ice, snow or sleet
  13. Accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam from within a plumbing, heating, air conditioning, or automatic fire-protective sprinkler system, or from a household appliance.
  14. Sudden and accidental tearing apart, cracking, burning, or bulging of a steam or hot water heating system, an air conditioning or automatic fire-protective system.
  15. Freezing of a plumbing, heating, air conditioning or automatic, fire-protective sprinkler system, or of a household appliance.
  16. Sudden and accidental damage from artificially generated electrical current (does not include loss to a tube, transistor or similar electronic component)
  17. MOST LIKELY EXCLUDED- flood, earthquake, war, nuclear accident, landslide, mudslide, sinkhole and others specified in your policy. Check your policy for a complete list of perils excluded.

So What Is Probably Not Covered As A Disasters

Floods: Flood damage is excluded under standard homeowners and renters insurance policies. Flood coverage, however, is available in the form of a separate policy both from the National Flood Insurance Program – NFIP ( 888-379-9531) and from a few private insurers.

You can get replacement cost coverage for the structure of your home, but only actual cash value coverage is available for your possessions. There may also be limits on coverage for furniture and other possessions stored in your basement.

Flood insurance is available for renters as well as homeowners. You will need flood insurance if you live in a designated flood zone. But also consider buying it if your house could be flooded by melting snow, an overflowing creek or water running down a steep hill. Don’t wait until the evening news announces a flood season warning to buy a policy. There is a 30-day waiting period before federal flood coverage takes effect.

Earthquakes: Earthquake coverage can be a separate policy or an endorsement to your homeowners or renters policy. It available from most insurance companies. In California, it is also available from the California Earthquake Authority. In earthquake prone states like California, the policy comes with a high deductible.

Maintenance damage: It is your responsibility to take reasonable precautions to protect your home from damage. Your insurance policy will not cover damage due to lack of maintenance, mold, termite infestation and infestation from other pests.

SEWER BACK-UP: Sewer backups or the inability of sump pumps to handle runoff water from major downpours are not covered under a typical homeowners insurance policy, nor are they covered by flood insurance. Those types of coverage must be purchased either as a separate product or as an endorsement to a homeowners policy.”

Sewer backup coverage is available from most insurers for a nominal cost—usually an additional annual premium of $40-$50.

Many homeowners may not realize that they are responsible for the maintenance and repair of their house or sewer lateral—the pipeline between the city sanitary sewer main, usually located in the street—and the building. The sewer lateral is owned and maintained by the property owner including any part that extends into the street or public right of way.

Water Exclusions On Most Homeowner Policies

Did you know about these Typical WATER Exclusions in most Homeowner Insurance Policies?

  • (1) Flood, surface water, waves, tidal water, overflow of a body of water, or spray from any of these, whether or not driven by wind;
  • (2) Water which backs up through sewers or drains or which overflows from a sump; (ask about an endorsement that can be added)
  • (3) Water below the surface of the ground, including water which exerts pressure on or seeps or leaks through a building, sidewalk, driveway, foundation, swimming pool or other structure.

If you study your homeowners policy you will find the following comforting words. Direct loss by fire, explosion or theft resulting from water damage is covered.**  Yeah!!!

Do not blame your agent for the way the Homeowners policy is written. The Us Government is in full cooperation on the issue of excluding Flood Coverage on Homeowners Policies. A great site to learn more is https://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/

The point is people may not realize what is and is not covered when it comes to water and I believe it is better to research if your policy has an endorsement for some of the water issues or if you do not have the coverage. You, the insured, are ultimately responsible to read your policy (but how many take the time until it is too late?)

Exclusions are usually found on around page 115 or so. If you download your policy as a PDF you will easily find any search term by Control F within the PDF of your Homeowners Policy. Knowledge is power so keep your policies on your computer.

Ask your agent about a Flood Policy from  FEMA if you worry that some of the above exclusions could cause serious financial hardship.

For more insight into Homeowner Policy Exclusions follow our other blog titles to come.

Author- Diane Goselin- Massachusetts Licensed Insurance Agent

Whose Stuff Is Not Covered Under Home Insurance Policy

Beware of coverage loopholes like whose property is NOT covered under your Homeowners Policy.

Are Domestic Partners and their “stuff” Covered under a Homeowners Policy? Let’s look at who is considered an insured on your homeowners Insurance Policy? Picture of Whose Stuff Is Not Covered Under Home Insurance Policy If a couple has been living together at least a year then one of our companies allows the Domestic Partner Endorsement on for free but your agent has to be aware of this to even let you know about it. You should let your agent know if you have a domestic partner. It is your responsibility to read your policy and know who is considered an insured.

If you are living with a significant other then ask if there is an endorsement called Domestic Partner Endorsement. You would not want your significant other’s cloths, furniture, jewelry (careful about how much jewelry is covered without scheduling it!), computer, TV etc not to be covered if there was theft, fire and other perils…would you?

It is very clear in homeowners policy language whose stuff is covered.

From A Mass Homeowners Policy:

DEFINITIONS
A. In this policy, “you” and “your” refer to the “named insured” shown in the Declarations and the spouse if a resident of the same household. “We”, “us” and “our” refer to the Company providing this insurance.

5. “Insured” means:
a. You and residents of your household who are:

  • (1) Your relatives; or
  • (2) Other persons under the age of 21 and in the care of any person named above;

b. A student enrolled in school full time, as defined by the school, who was a resident of your household before moving out to attend school, provided the student is under the age of:

  • (1) 24 and your relative; or
  • (2) 21 and in your care or the care of a person described in a.(1) above; or

C. Coverage C – Personal Property

1. Covered Property
We cover personal property owned or used by an “insured” while it is anywhere in the world. After a loss and at your request, we will cover personal property owned by:

  • a. Others while the property is on the part of the “residence premises” occupied by an “insured”; or
  • b. A guest or a “residence employee”, while the property is in any residence occupied by an “insured”.

Every company may be different so read your policy.

The easiest way to look up what you want to know is get your policy in PDF format on your computer and search the document by control F. Then type in the word you are wanting to know more about or the coverage you want to know about.

Call us at Universal Insurance Agency and let us help with your coverage on Home, Auto and Business.

By Diane Goselin
Mass Licensed Insurance Agent
www.UniversalInsAgency.com