Is It Covered?
Dan Levenson October 29, 2021
When you buy homeowner’s insurance, your biggest question should always be “what does it cover?” After all, nobody needs their insurance until they REALLY need their insurance. At that point, there’s no time to make necessary changes. You’re not even allowed because a claim already happened! You can only adapt for the future. So, taking the time now, with a licensed insurance agent, to figure out what you need and under which circumstances coverage will apply can save you a lot of confusion and suffering.
Before we dive into claims scenarios, let’s talk about the major parts of the homeowner’s policy.
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Dwelling coverage provides coverage up to a certain amount to replace as much as the entire home if a catastrophe occurs. The coverage amount should be based on what it would take to rebuild the entire structure from the ground up using materials of the same like, kind, or quality. Therefore, over-insuring your home will not result in better material or bigger square footage, just a higher annual premium. However, under-insuring your home could leave you short in the event of a large loss. Dwelling coverage also includes detached structures, such as sheds. This coverage is almost always set at 10% (but can be increased) of what the house itself is insured for.
Personal Property Coverage:
Home is where the heart is, but when you’ve seen some or all your worldly possessions stolen or destroyed, you just want everything to go back to the way it was. Consider all your appliances, clothes, furniture, electronics, jewelry, etc. It adds up! Personal property coverage is based on what you feel your possessions are worth, however in a standard homeowner’s policy that amount usually cannot be less than 70-75% of the dwelling coverage. A good rule to remember is to keep all receipts for the items you know need to be replaced. If you don’t have receipts, dated pictures showing the items in the home can usually act as proof as well.
Loss of Use Coverage:
Loss of use coverage is either a set dollar amount or an unlimited amount for a set period of time that will provide money for housing, clothing, essentials, food, etc. if there is a claim that displaces you from your home.
Liability can protect you financially from lawsuits or other people’s medical bills if someone is hurt in your home. As a homeowner, you may be responsible for unfortunate consequences, even if they are accidents. An injured party guest hurt or a pedestrian who trips on your part of the sidewalk can result in a claim Liability coverage is a set limit for which an insurance company will pay if you are held responsible for someone else’s medical bills or if you are being sued.
Medical Payments to Others:
Medical payments to others is a smaller limit of liability, payable for smaller medical claims, typically $1,000 – $10,000. This coverage applies to smaller injuries without regard to fault. Injuries that exceed this limit may be covered under the liability part of your policy, but typically only if you are at fault for their injury.,.
These are the five biggest elements of a homeowner’s policy where the majority of claims will fall under.
Let’s look at some interesting, real-life examples of claims to see how coverage would extend:
- You have some acquaintances over for a backyard BBQ. Someone trips over a garden hose/sprinkler/something and falls, spraining their wrist badly. Because they hurt themselves at your home, they want you to pay for their medical bills.
IS IT COVERED?
Yes, your homeowner’s insurance will provide coverage for this acquaintance’s x-rays, treatments, and other medical bills related to this incident. If it exceeds the threshold set for medical payments to others, it may still be covered under the larger liability coverage.
- Your teenager puts a ceramic plate on the stove burner, thinking it will simply keep the plate warm. The plate overheats and explodes, sending broken pieces all over the kitchen floor. They melt the linoleum and the floor is now damaged.
IS IT COVERED?
No, unfortunately, this is not going to be covered. The broken plate, the food cleanup, and any damage done to the kitchen will have to be handled out of pocket by you. Why? Because insurance does not provide coverage for things done intentionally and without using common sense. While your teenager might never have thought the plate would explode, they still intentionally created an unsafe condition. Insurance is for unforeseen catastrophes, not incidents such as this.
- The neighborhood kids decide to egg, spray paint, and toilet paper your house on mischief night. Something about you not giving out full-sized candy bars last year… The egg and toilet paper can be cleaned up, But the spray paint is permanent damaged.
IS IT COVERED?
Yes, this falls under vandalism (spray paint) and malicious mischief (eggs/toilet paper). What’s the difference? Malicious mischief is, in simple, the intent to cause trouble or an inconvenience without doing lasting harm. Eggs can be power washed off and toilet paper can be taken down. However, spray paint falls under vandalism because its damage is longer lasting. It might not come off easily or completely, resulting in the house needing to be repainted. Either way, a standard homeowner’s policy will respond to this claim.
Claims happen all the time. But the more you understand your policy and your coverage, the better you can tailor your policy to fit your needs. And that’s important to us at InsureYourHome.com. We help others with their insurance whether we’re the agent or not. Why? Because we’re not looking at you as a customer we’re trying to get something from. You’re a human being with a family, a life, and responsibilities. One of our responsibilities is to make sure you have the peace of mind to take care of the more important stuff. And the best way to do that is with the assistance of a licensed insurance agent. If you want your policy reviewed and explained to you, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 888-242-4675!
**this blog is for educational purposes only and coverage depends on the actual policy wording**