5 Surprising Things Your Homeowners Insurance Covers

A home is the biggest purchase most people make in a lifetime, and homeowners insurance is essential to protect your biggest asset.

Homeowners insurance covers the cost of fixing or replacing your home when it is damaged by a covered event, such as a fire, or certain types of bad weather. It even covers your personal property and other structures on your property, and provides liability protection for injuries or property damage you or your family may cause.

While coverage can vary based on your specific policy and the state you live in, there are some unexpected things that you may find covered by homeowners insurance.

Keep in mind, even if property damage is covered by your insurance, you’ll still have to pay your out-of-pocket deductible before the insurance kicks in. For example, if you have a $500 deductible, then the first $500 of each claim is your responsibility. Also, before you make any assumptions about your coverage it’s important to review your policy and talk with your insurance provider.

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Home invasion… by unruly bears

If a hungry bear or other wild animal invades looking to raid your fridge, any damage to the home should be covered by your homeowners insurance policy. This doesn’t cover damage done by pets or other animals you own, and the animals typically need to be considered “wild” for your insurance to kick in. Read the fine print because there are likely to be exceptions for destruction at the hands of common household pests, such as rats, squirrels, and insects.

Identity theft

Meteorites and other falling objects

Most homeowners insurance policies cover damage from falling trees or branches under certain circumstances, but protection against falling objects goes far beyond your shrubbery. The damage to your home or personal property caused by meteors, asteroids, and other space junk is typically covered by a homeowners insurance policy.

In the extremely unlikely event of a space rock crashing into your living room, not only will you not be on the hook for the repairs, but you’ll also be the proud owner of a (potentially valuable) meteorite.

A hotel or Airbnb

In the worst-case scenario, damage to your home can be so extensive you won’t be able to live there while it’s being repaired. Under your policy’s loss of use coverage, your insurance may help cover the additional living expenses you incur due to a covered event. This includes the cost of a hotel or Airbnb, and other expenses, such as the costs for pet boarding, moving, and renting storage space. If your food bill increases beyond what you normally spend because you have to eat out more, that could also be covered.

Your child’s college laptop

What isn’t covered by homeowners insurance?

It’s important to do a detailed review of your homeowners insurance policy to understand exactly what is and isn’t covered. There is also a nuance when certain incidents are covered by your insurance. If your pet dog bites a neighbor, a homeowners insurance policy’s liability coverage will protect you. However, some policies may exclude certain breeds of aggressive dogs from liability coverage.

What’s covered by a homeowners insurance policy varies based on a lot of different factors, but generally, your policy won’t cover:

  • Earthquakes
  • floods
  • Normal wear and tear
  • Damage from lack of maintenance
  • Items that exceed your policy insurance limit (artwork, jewelry, collectibles)

For most incidents that aren’t covered under a standard policy, you may be able to pay extra to add riders for specific coverage, such as for floods or earthquakes. If you have an expensive wedding ring or Beanie Baby you want covered, it’s a good idea to bring this up with your insurance provider. You may need a special rider for certain items, which could even require an appraisal to determine their value.

How to find the best home insurance provider

Nationwide Homeowners Insurance

  • cost

    The best way to estimate your costs is to request a quote

  • Maximum coverage

  • App available

  • Policy highlights

    Policy covers home and property damages caused by theft, fire and weather damage. It also covers personal liability, loss of use and unauthorized transactions on your credit card

  • Does not cover

    Water damage, earthquakes, flood insurance, identity theft, high-value items, rebuilding homes after loss (these can all be purchased as add-ons for extra coverage)

Pros

  • Ability to manage online policies
  • Bundle with other types of insurance to receive a discount
  • Get a discount if your home has smoke detectors, fire alarms, burglar alarms or other qualifying protective devices
  • Discount for renovating home’s plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical systems (home renovation credit)
  • Receive a discount if you purchased your home within the past 12 months
  • Gated community discount

Cons

  • Smart home technology discount not available in all 50 states

Lemonade Homeowners Insurance

  • cost

    Starts at $25/month; can vary by state, age of the home and other factors

  • Maximum coverage

  • App available

  • Policy highlights

    Policy covers your home and property for damages caused by wildfires, extreme weather, crime, and vandalism. It also covers liability claims for damage you accidentally cause to others

  • Does not cover

    Power, water, or heat going out, or bug infestation; some events may not be eligible for coverage, depending on the circumstances — see here for more information

Pros

  • Ability to cancel coverage at any time
  • Affordable monthly cost
  • Make claims through the app
  • Ability to easily switch over from a different insurer
  • Can add additional coverage for expensive personal items like jewelry and cameras
  • Ability to make payments through escrow or using a credit card
  • Also covers condos
  • Simple claims may be paid almost instantly

Cons

  • Only available in 24 states
  • Cannot enroll over the phone

Hippo Homeowners Insurance

  • cost

    The best way to estimate your costs is to request a quote

  • Maximum coverage

  • App available

  • Policy highlights

    Policy covers dwelling and related structures, personal property, personal liability, loss of use, ordinance or law coverage, home office equipment damage, water backup, high-value items, coverage for smart home appliances and more

  • Does not cover

    Properties outside of the US

Pros

  • Can receive a quote in as little as 60 seconds
  • Wider array of coverage offered within their standard policy
  • Many technology-focused benefits/add-ons
  • Discounts for activating smart home devices
  • Receive a discount if you purchased your home within the past 12 months and receive a policy renewal discount if there have been no lapses in coverage
  • Discounts on theft protection devices
  • Discount for installing a hail-resistant roof
  • Bundle with other types of insurance to receive a discount

Cons

  • Only available in 40 states

How do you file a home owner’s claim?

To file a homeowners insurance claim, you’ll want to notify your insurance company as soon as possible after the event. You’ll then typically need to provide photos of the damage, receipts and any other documentation or proof that is related to the claim you’re filing. This will help the company assess the damages and eventually approve your claim and pay you back.

Bottom line

Editorial Notes: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s own, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.

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