Important Things to Know About Home Insurance Coverage for Other Structures — RISMedia

Your home insurance policy covers more than just your house. This also applies to other structures that are on your property but not attached to your home. Exactly what is covered and how much coverage you get will depend on your insurance policy and your situation.

What are “Other Structures?”
The term “other structures” includes items that are not attached to your home, such as a fence, shed, detached garage, and your mailbox. Some details differ from one insurance company to another.

For example, some insurers only include buildings, such as a detached garage or shed, in their “other construction” coverage. A fence, mailbox, or in-ground pool may fall under another part of the insurance policy. In other cases, an insurance company includes all structures that are physically separate from a house in its “other structures” coverage.

What risks are covered?
Your “other structures” coverage will compensate you for loss caused by a peril covered by the rest of your policy, such as fire, storm damage, theft and vandalism. If a structure is damaged by an excluded peril, such as a flood, your insurance company will not pay for repairs or replacement.

In some cases, the way you use the structure may limit your coverage. For example, if you are running a business out of your garage and it is damaged, or if the tools or equipment you store there are damaged or stolen, the loss may not be covered. You may need a separate commercial insurance policy. Sometimes a standard home insurance policy covers business-related property, but the coverage limit is relatively low.

What coverage do you have?
Typically, the amount of coverage for other structures is a percentage of the dwelling’s coverage limit. For example, if you have $500,000 coverage for your home, your coverage limit for other structures would likely be $50,000. If this amount is not high enough, you may be able to increase your coverage limit and pay higher premiums.

Some insurance policies reimburse the replacement cost, which is the amount it will cost to rebuild a covered structure if it is destroyed. Other policies pay the actual cash value, which takes depreciation into account. Sometimes a policy provides replacement cost coverage for buildings and actual cash value coverage for structures that are not buildings. If a structure is destroyed and you have real value coverage, you may have to pay a significant amount out of pocket to rebuild it.

Review your insurance coverage
Understanding what your home insurance policy does and does not cover and how much coverage you have is essential. If you are unsure, review your policy. If you think you need additional coverage or have questions, contact your insurance company or agent.

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Justin D. O'Neill