No homeowner wants to make a homeowners insurance claim only to find that the property damage or loss that occurred is not covered by their insurance policy — or to pay for an expense completely out of pocket only to find later that their homeowners insurance company would have covered the loss.
However, these problems can occur when people believe common homeowners insurance myths. Read on to learn the truth about four common homeowners insurance myths.
1. All Standard Policies Cover All Water Damage Types
Many homeowners do not realize that most standard policies only cover some types of home water damage. Typically, a standard policy only covers water damage that is sudden and accidental, such damage inflicted by a pipe that freezes and bursts or damage that occurs when a hole suddenly develops in a roof and allows water to enter the home.
Water damage that is not typically covered under a standard policy includes damage caused by a sewer backup, a pipe that has been leaking an extended period of time, plumbing system neglect, or a flood. In addition, a standard policy rarely covers the removal of mold or mildew that begins growing in the home due to water infiltration.
However, many insurance companies allow homeowners to purchase special insurance riders that provide additional water damage coverage. For example, a rider that covers the cost of home repairs needed after a sewer line backup can be purchased for about $50 a year.
In addition, if you live in an area of the country prone to floods, you can obtain a separate flood insurance policy to cover the cost of damage inflicted on your home by a local flood.
2. Personal Property is Only Covered When It Is Inside of Your Home
Most standard insurance policies provide personal property coverage that offers replacement of personal belongings that are stolen or damaged by a covered peril while they are inside of your home. However, many homeowners do not realize that most standard policies also provide personal property off-premises coverage.
A policy equipped with off-premises coverage offers reimbursement for the cost of the replacement of personal items stolen from or damaged in a location outside of the home. For example, if your laptop is stolen from a hotel room while you are on vacation, you can file an insurance claim to help fund the cost of a replacement computer.
While standard off-premise coverage policy limits are typically about 10 percent of a policy's personal property limits, many insurance companies will allow you to increase this coverage limit for an additional fee, if desired.
3. Other Structures Coverage Only Protects Garages and Sheds
A standard homeowners insurance policy is equipped with other structures coverage, which allows a homeowner to seek reimbursement for the cost of damage inflicted by covered perils to other structures on their property.
While most homeowners understand that other structures covered include garages and sheds, many do not realize that many policies also cover the cost of damage inflicted to various additional structures on their property.
For example, many insurance companies also consider fences, swimming pools, gazebos, and even driveways other structures that are covered under their standard policies
To determine which structures your policy covers, call your insurance agent or read the other structures portion of your policy declaration.
4. Personal Liability Coverage Only Covers Slip-and-Fall Accidents
All homeowners insurance policies provide personal liability protection. However, many homeowners do not understand just how comprehensive this coverage is.
While you may know that your personal liability coverage would help cover the cost of medical treatment needed by someone who slips and falls inside or outside of your home, you may not realize that this coverage would also help pay for the medical expenses incurred by anyone accidentally bit by a pet dog who lives in your home. In fact, the Insurance Information Institute reports that dog bite incidents make up over one-third of all home insurance liability claims.
In addition, personal liability coverage also includes property damage liability. Property damage liability covers the cost of damage your home occupants accidentally inflict on the property of others.
For example, if your children are playing in your yard and accidentally throw a ball at a neighbor's window and break it, or if you accidentally break an expensive glass vase located in the lobby of a hotel you are staying in while on vacation, you can file an insurance claim to cover the cost of the repair up to your stated policy limit.
Forget these four common homeowners insurance myths that prevent many people from obtaining insurance policies that are best for their families' needs and also lead to many people paying for some expenses out of pocket when they do not realize that they could instead file an insurance claim. Contact the insurance experts at L.A. Insurance for all of your homeowners insurance needs today.