6 things your home insurance policy may not cover

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You may need additional coverage for certain items or events.

Key points

  • Your home insurance may not cover certain natural disasters.
  • Expensive items in your home may also not be covered by your policy.

As a homeowner, you are likely to incur various expenses outside of your mortgage payment. These include property taxes, maintenance and the cost of home insurance.

But even if you pay a decent premium for a homeowners insurance policy, you can still foot the property damage bill if circumstances line up that way. Here are six things your home insurance policy may not cover.

1. Flood damage

If a pipe bursts inside your home due to faulty installation, your home insurance policy may cover the associated damage. But if your house is flooded due to a hurricane or storm, your home insurance not pick up the tab for the invoice. Floods of this nature are usually only covered by a separate flood insurance policy. If you live in a flood zone, getting that extra coverage is important.

2. Wear

Over time, appliances and other items in the home can deteriorate to the point that they need to be replaced. This is not something you should expect your home insurance policy to cover. If, for example, your washing machine breaks down after 10 years, you will usually be responsible for covering the cost of buying a new one.

3. Termite damage

Termites can cause a lot of damage to a home, and sometimes it’s hard to tell they’re a problem until it’s too late. Unfortunately, many home insurance policies don’t cover termite damage, so it’s important to stay alert and look for signs of invasion in your home, such as rotting wood.

4. Earthquakes

Most home insurance policies do not cover damage caused by an earthquake. The good news is that if you live in a place prone to earthquakes, like California, you can purchase separate insurance to be covered for these events. But if you don’t have a specific earthquake policy, don’t expect your home insurance to kick in.

5. Expensive artwork or jewelry

Most insurance policies have a limit on how much they will pay to replace specific items that are damaged or destroyed in a covered event, such as a fire. If you have expensive jewelry or artwork, you may need to add an endorsement to your insurance policy to ensure you are reimbursed for their full value if they are damaged or stolen.

Your insurance policy may, for example, reimburse you up to $1,500 for a painting destroyed in a fire. But if this painting is worth $10,000, you will still lose a lot of money.

6. Spoiled food due to power outage

Power outages can occur during storms or when power company equipment fails. Unfortunately, many home insurance policies won’t reimburse you for food spoiled during a power outage. But even if your policy does, remember that you’ll need to meet your policy’s deductible before you receive a check. If that deductible is $500 and you claim $400 in spoiled food, you won’t end up with any money.

Know your coverage

It’s important to read the fine print when buying home insurance so you know what level of coverage to expect. You might need additional insurance outside of your standard homeowners insurance policy, but it may be worth the investment, depending on your personal circumstances.

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Justin D. O'Neill