6 Things that your homeowners insurance might not cover


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UPDATED: 2020-05-08T19:18:48.620Z
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A family of three sitting on the floor in their house with a cardboard roof over their head. The roof signifies homeowners insurance coverage.

Homeowners insurance can be a great resource to protect your finances from large expenses that come if your home is destroyed or if someone experiences an accident and you’re liable for the costs.

Even though home insurance is an important part of asset protection, you should realize that not everything is covered by your policy. There are some items that might require a homeowners insurance rider or that might be excluded from a general policy.

Here’s what you need to know about some of the situations that might not be covered and the homeowners insurance endorsements you might need.

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1. Valuables

In general, your valuables, if they’re stolen or destroyed, are covered by your homeowners insurance policy. However, there’s often a limit on what the insurer will cover. For example, you might need a separate jewelry insurance policy or homeowners insurance rider for especially valuable pieces. Heirloom jewelry or an engagement ring might be valuable enough to require extra coverage.

Other valuables, such as artwork and certain collectibles, might also require separate insurance coverage. Talk to your homeowners insurance agent to determine which items are covered by the regular policy and which require special homeowners insurance endorsements.

2. Home office space

Depending on the policy, coverage related to the business use of your home might be limited. Some insurers will cover losses and liability up to a certain point in your regular policy. However, if you want coverage beyond the minimum, you might need a homeowners insurance rider tailored to your home office space.

If you have a separate structure on your property, such as a workshop you use for your business, or a shed that you’ve converted to office space, it’s especially important to find out whether your home insurance will cover those structures. You might need separate insurance coverage related to the business activities.

3. Natural disasters

It might seem like natural disasters should be covered by your homeowners insurance. However, this isn’t always the case. If you live in an area that’s especially prone to certain natural disasters, you might not have automatic coverage. Some of the situations that could require homeowners insurance endorsements include:

  • Flooding
  • Earthquakes
  • Tornadoes
  • Mudslides
  • Hurricanes

If you live in an area that has an increased chance of earthquakes, you might need separate earthquake insurance. Homes located near high water tables might need flood insurance. Your homeowners insurance company should be able to discuss the natural disasters common to the area and what type of coverage you might need.

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4. Certain pets

Depending on the type of pet you have, and whether it’s a breed that is known for bites, you might need a separate homeowners insurance rider to cover liability stemming from injuries. For example, pit bulls and homeowners insurance have long been related issues. If you have a pit bull, or other bully breed of dog, you might be required to purchase extra coverage.

Other pets, including exotic pets, might also require extra coverage. If you have any type of animal, speak with your insurance company about any riders you might need.

5. Backyard hazards

Another issue that you might run into is what is called a backyard hazard. A good example of this is a trampoline. If you have a trampoline in the backyard, it could lead to more injuries. On top of that, it’s often considered an attractive hazard. Children might be drawn to your yard for the trampoline and you could be held liable for injuries, even if you didn’t give them permission.

There are other backyard hazards that could lead to the need for additional homeowners insurance endorsements. A good example is an in-ground pool. A pool increases the chance that someone could be injured on your property. As a result, you might need a homeowners insurance rider or extra liability coverage.

Finally, a treehouse or clubhouse can also be considered an extra issue. Anything that might add an increase of risk to your property might not be covered in your main homeowners insurance policy.

6. Maintenance

Don’t expect to be able to file a claim to help offset the costs of maintenance or the cost of damage caused by a perceived lack of maintenance. For example, many policies won’t cover issues related to:

  • Insect damage (including termites)
  • Rodent damage
  • Bird damage
  • Mold
  • Rot
  • Rust

You’re expected to pay for home maintenance costs and remain up-to-date on those issues. Replacing major systems, like HVAC or water heaters, might also not be covered. Double-check your coverage to see what might qualify. For example, you might be covered if a fire damages your water heater, but if you need to replace it due to the end of its lifecycle, you’re on your own.

Finally, don’t expect problems like the value of spoiled food to be covered with your general home insurance. If the power goes out and everything in your freezer is ruined, you’re likely stuck with the loss.

Bottom line with homeowners insurance

Don’t assume that just because you have a home insurance policy that everything is taken care of. The reality is that there are some items that your homeowners insurance company might not cover if damage or injury results. Speak with your insurer about any special circumstances or needs that you might have so that you can get the right homeowners insurance endorsements and be fully covered, no matter what happens.

For a ranking of the top homeowners insurance companies in your zip code according to consumer reviews and ratings, visit Clearsurance’s best homeowners insurance page.

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