Before You Fix Your Home, Check With Your Insurance



In House Stuff | |

Homeowners insurance exists to protect your investment against the unknown. If your sump pump quits in the middle of the wet season, if the fault lines open up and swallow half your property whole or if a wildfire blows right through your neighborhood, you better be sure that insurance will help you recover.

However, likely due to poor experiences with auto and health insurance providers, most homeowners are hesitant to contact their homeowners insurance for help when major renovations are necessary. This is a mistake – homeowners insurance applies much more frequently than you might expect, and by checking with your insurance, you might be able to save yourself significant cash. Here are a few examples of cases when having homeowners insurance will help – and a few other solutions if insurance won’t cover your problem.

Power Outages

Your power turning off unexpectedly can be annoying, it can be frightening – especially on a dark and stormy night – but it can also be expensive. If your power goes out for an extended period, pumps used to keep water out of your basement might stop working, allowing water to seep into the lowest areas of your home. Plus, all the food in your fridge and freezer will slowly warm, spoiling and becoming inedible.

Fortunately, your basic home insurance should cover all that. Though water damage repair due to power outages might vary from policy to policy, you should have at least $500 available to replace fridge and freezer items ruined during a blackout.

Misbehaved Dogs

On one hand, insurance companies appreciate dog owners because pups tend to keep burglars at bay. However, sometimes the best doggos can be inappropriately protective of people and property. Dog bites happen, and if the attack occurs in or around your home, your insurance should provide between $100,000 and $300,000 in liability coverage. This should be more than enough to pay for any medical expenses and keep your beloved pet alive and well-defended.

Raining Objects

It should go without saying that homeowners’ insurance pays for damage done to your home during any kind of weather. Any issue caused by snow, hail, sleet and rain will be repaired or replaced by your insurance company – but what about when other things fall from the sky?

Falling objects, such as satellite dishes, bricks meteorites and other items that strike your roof or exterior walls from above, can easily punch holes in your home and destroy your belongings. Thus, most standard insurance does cover damage to property and possessions due to falling objects.

Homes Away From Home

When damage makes your home uninhabitable, you must find temporary room and board while your property is repaired – and your insurance should pay for that. Called additional living expenses, this coverage applies to hotel and restaurant bills incurred during your home’s reconstruction. The amount you can spend every day is dependent on your plan, and it is often mandatory that your relocation is due to property damage that is otherwise covered by your insurance. Therefore, you can’t charge your insurance for a staycation if you are remodeling your home.

Other Solutions

Though homeowners’ insurance covers many scenarios, it doesn’t cover everything. For example, if you live within 10 miles of a nuclear power plant, your insurance won’t cover nuclear accidents that harm you or your property. Acts of terror and war are also largely uncovered by the typical policy, as are trampolines – which cause more than 100,000 injuries every year, more than double the deaths and injuries of terrorism and war. Slightly more applicable to most homeowners, insurance won’t touch issues concerning malfunctioning appliances or HVAC units. Thus, you should look for other sources of coverage to prevent large, unexpected expenditures.

The best option is to acquire a home warranty. Home warranties are usually structured to fill the gaps that insurance leaves unprotected, like appliances and systems around your home. Does a home warranty cover roof repairs? Some can; in fact, some home warranties even assist with all aspects of your plumbing, pool and spa equipment and more.

When you buy a home, you must have home insurance. However, you should also seek additional protections for your assets in the form of a home warranty policy. Then, you can know for certain that when you need to fix your home, someone will be able to assist you.