October 26, 2020

7 Surprising Things That Can Sometimes Be Excluded From Home Insurance Policies

When you buy a home, one of the first things you normally do is to sign up for home insurance to make sure the most valuable investment you ever make is protected against any eventuality. Are you aware though that most home insurance policies have a fairly long list of exceptions and exclusions, i.e. things that are not covered? Below are a  few examples that might come as a shock to you.

Dangerous dogs

In 2017 dog bites and other dog-related injuries accounted for about 33 percent of all homeowners liability claims. And the bad news is that you might not be covered for all dog-related injuries. Many policies specifically exclude aggressive or dangerous dogs such as wolf hybrids, Rottweilers, or Pitbull terriers. If the dog has a known history of being aggressive, chances are even less that the insurer will take responsibility for its actions. So if you own a Rottweiler that killed an intruder last year, and you were thinking of inviting your mother in law over to play with it, you should perhaps first read the fine print of your home insurance policy.

Failing to be a handyman

You might be surprised to hear that your home insurer expects you to properly maintain your home. In fact, if you neglect basic maintenance, and that results in damage to the property, most home insurance policies won’t cover the resulting costs. An example is when the roof leaks, you ignore that, and the water subsequently damages the ceiling, the walls, and the furniture.

Plagues and pests

If your home becomes uninhabitable because of a bedbug plague, most insurance firms won’t cover the damages. The argument is the same as with lack of maintenance above: you could (and should) have prevented it. A similar argument is used in the case of damage caused by insects, mice, and rats.

Backed-up sewers

Your sewerage system gets blocked and it backs up. It’s a mess. At least your home insurance will take care of everything, right? Not so. According to the Insurance Information Institute, backed-up sewers are typically not covered by either flood coverage or home insurance policies. The only way you can get cover for this eventuality is by purchasing separate sewer coverage.

Storing an unemployed friend’s furniture in your basement

Your best friend loses his job and goes to live with his mother in law. He needs storage for his furniture, you have an empty basement, and you help him out. A month later your house burns down and so does all his furniture. According to United Policyholders, a consumer advocacy group based in California, your home insurance policy will typically not cover his belongings. So expect your former friend to sue you personally.

Earth movement

Home insurance policies normally do not cover damages caused by earth movements such as mud-flows, sinkholes, and earthquakes. Although your standard home insurance might not cover these kinds of damages, it’s not difficult to get added coverage. In the case of sinkholes or earthquakes, you would typically not even need a separate policy, you can simply have these added to your current home insurance policy and pay more.

Luxury items

You inherit your dad’s collection of Van Gogh paintings and proudly display them in your living room. Of course, your home insurance will protect you if they are stolen, right? Not necessarily. Home insurance policies often exclude a wide range of expensive items. You might need to sign up for separate coverage for your Van Gogh paintings. And while you are doing that, also include the $5 million gold and diamond necklace your wife inherited from her mother.

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