Exclusions In A Homeowners Policy

It is an unfortunate fact of life that bad things can happen to, or in, people’s homes.  In the event of a tragedy, you may not be covered under your homeowners insurance policy due to exclusions.  A lot of people may think they are covered for something when they really are not.

There are limitations and exclusions in home insurance policies you may or may not know about.  Below are ten things you may need to have additional coverage for.

Exclusion #1. Injuries From a Trampoline
Many insurance companies want nothing to do with trampolines and the risk of injuries that can occur from their use.  In 2011 over 83,000 injuries occurred causing tens of thousands to be taken to an emergency room.  But if you are dead set on having a trampoline, then a separate policy may be needed and certain precautions will be required for the policy to stay in force.

Exclusion #2. Injuries or Deaths From Pools
An unhappy average of 3,533 fatal, unintentional, non-boating related drownings occurred each year from 2005 to 2009.  Of those that were between the ages of 1 and 4, most of them were in somebody’s pool.

If you have a pool, or want one, contact your miami home insurance agent regarding the purchase of an umbrella liability policy.  This gives extra coverage should you be sued for damage to people’s property or injuries to other people.  It is also highly recommended to have a strong, sturdy fence around your pool for reasons of insurance liability and safety.

Exclusion #3. Attacks From Dogs
Sometimes man’s best friend is not so friendly… causing insurance companies to be hesitant when it comes to insuring certain breeds.  With 4.5+ million dog bites every year and 885,000 people needing medical attention from those attacks, their hesitancy may be justified.

The list of acceptable dogs may vary by insurance company.  If your dog is not on the list or if your dog of a non-aggressive breed has bitten a person your insurance company may give you a higher premium, exclude your dog from the coverage or require you to carry additional insurance.

Exclusion #4. Earthquakes
This is not a concern in all states, but a standard home insurance policy may have a coverage exclusion from an earthquake.  However, if you feel the need to be covered, look into getting an earthquake policy.

Unfortunately, those policies have a high deductible.  It is based on a percentage of the replacement value of your home and its contents.  For example: if the cost to replace is $300,000 with a 15% deductible ($45,000), the company may want you to pay that in order to get the rebuild started.  The amount may seem high, but it will be better than having to pay the whole thing on your own.

Exclusion #5. Destroyed or Stolen Cash
Some people like to store cash in a specified place in their home.  This may not be the best thing to do.  If you are wondering why, it is because your home insurance policy may not cover you for more than $1,000 of stolen or destroyed cash.  That number may seem low, but proving that you had a higher amount of money in your home could be extremely hard, if not impossible, to prove.  Not everybody likes banks but they might be a safer place for your money.

Exclusion #6. Fine Art, Jewelry, Rare Collections
Items such as baseball cards and family heirlooms have sentimental and/or financial value.  But, if their combined worth exceeds $1,000 – $2,000 they may not be fully covered.  Standard home insurance policies tend to have limits on what they will pay for when it comes to higher valued items.

It may be in your best interest to acquire a policy with your insurance provider that gets into the specifics of what you own and what they are worth.  Before you do that, though, make sure to get an appraisal of your high value items to keep you from accidentally marking an item for less than it is actually worth.

Exclusion #7. Damages, Injuries From Construction Work
A standard policy may not cover incidents caused by construction on your home.  Look into getting a builder’s risk policy which offers protection from damage during construction as well as damage from wind and rain, and possibly theft.

Before hiring anyone, make sure a contractor is licensed for any liability they could cause.  And, get their insurance company to send you a copy of their insurance certificate.  If the contractor causes damage to your home or injury to a person, they pay for it instead of you.  Also, make sure to inform your miami insurance agent what work is being done on your home.  Should there be a lawsuit and the insurance company has no record of new construction, it is likely you will not be able to get any coverage from your insurance.

Exclusion #8. Mold
If covered in your policy, it is common for insurance companies to limit how much they will pay for damage in unseen places caused by mold, fungus or wet rot.  Some companies do not offer any coverage and, for those that do, there are differences in how it is handled.  For example: if mold is the result of a covered peril, like water from a burst pipe, it could be covered under your standard policy.  If you want to make sure that you are fully covered, there may be an endorsement or additional coverage for mold that can be purchased.

Exclusion #9. Floods
Regardless of what causes your house to flood, you cannot expect your home and possessions to be covered unless you have a flood insurance policy because flood is an exclusion in a home insurance policy.  You also cannot depend on government aid if a disaster happens or assume that you have a zero risk of flooding.  Only about 15% of those living in the United States have flood insurance.  If you live in an area that has been declared to be a federal disaster area you could get monetary assistance from the government but it could be a lesser amount than what you need to fix your home.  Most, if not all, people would be better off depending on a flood insurance policy than the U.S. government.

Exclusion #10. Sewer Backup
It may not occur to a lot of people that this is something that could ever happen to anyone but, if it does, it can cause thousands of dollars of damage to furniture, electrical systems and to the house itself.  A flood, for example, could cause a sewer to become backed up.  You might be lucky and the insurance company that you currently use for your home insurance covers this in your policy.  Otherwise, you may need to purchase additional insurance or an endorsement in order to have any financial assistance in cleaning up your house and replacing anything destroyed in the mess.

Knowing what you are and are not covered for is important and interpreting your home insurance policy may not always be easy but we are able to help you with that.  Please feel free to give us a call at 305-270-2100 and we can help you navigate the world of insurance.

At Filer Insurance, Inc., we have been providing Home, Auto and Business Insurance in Miami and South Florida since 1919.  We would very much like to have you as one of our customers. Please give us call or come by our office for a free quote on your insurance.

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