Inspect your policy carefully for hidden liabilities
Damage caused by flooding is excluded under standard homeowners insurance policies, according to the institute’s primer on what disasters are covered by insurance. That’s why it’s prudent to obtain flood insurance, either from a private insurer or through the U.S. government’s National Flood Insurance Program.
2. Business Run Out of Your Home
If you run a business out of your home, you may not be covered if you were to lose your inventory due to fire or flood. If you have clients visiting, you may not be covered for slip and fall accidents on your property.
3. Sewer Backups
Sewer backups can be pretty messy, and they’re not covered either by homeowners insurance policies or flood coverage, according to the institute. Instead, you’ll need to purchase additional sewer coverage.
4. Maintenance Damage
Maintenance damage. Homeowner’s policies don’t cover damage caused to your home by your neglect of basic maintenance, according to the institute. Similarly, you’re not covered if your house becomes infested by termites and other pests, or develops mold.
5. Backyard Trampolines and Pools
Sure, they’re fun. But according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, both trampolines and pools are dangerous enough that some companies may not insure your property if you have them, or else may exclude liability for any injuries related to them. They also may even cancel your policy if you don’t inform them when you get a trampoline or a pool or don’t follow the policy’s safety guidelines.
6. Dog Attacks
If your family pet bites a visitor, you’re typically covered for legal liability up to your policy’s liability limit — usually $100,000 — according to the institute. The average dog bite claim is around $39,000, so you should be OK. But it’s a bigger problem if you own a breed with a reputation for being aggressive because some insurance companies won’t cover you at all.
Ideally, you should have your home inspected for termites once a year. Have a professional exterminator check for other critters as well. Squirrels, mice, and other vermin can cause serious problems that probably aren’t covered by your policy.
8. Really Expensive Jewelry
Typically, homeowners’ policies set a limit on how much bling they’ll cover — usually around $1,500, according to the institute’s article on jewelry and other valuables. If you’ve got a lot of costly rings or necklaces, you’ll want to consider getting a floater policy, which covers any sort of loss, including dropping your ring down a drain. That’ll require you to get the items appraised professionally.