Home Insurance Exclusions: 10 Things Home Insurance Won’t Cover
Every homeowner needs to know the ins and outs of their home insurance policy, but sometimes knowing what isn’t covered can be just as important as knowing what is. Here are 10 home insurance exclusions that every homeowner should be aware of.
1. Mold Damage
Most home insurance companies exclude mold damage from their policies. Unlike a fire or tornado, insurers see mold damage as a problem that grows over time, and homeowners are expected to take preventive measures to prevent mold spores from spreading throughout the home. If left unchecked, mold can cause structural damage to the home and serious health issues for residents.
2. Floods, Earthquakes, Landslides
As many homeowners found out in Hurricane Katrina, flood insurance is not covered under a standard home insurance policy. For protection against flood damage, you’ll need to purchase a separate flood insurance policy.
Earthquake and landslide damage are also notable home insurance exclusions. You will need separate coverage for damage caused by these perils.
3. Aggressive Dog Breeds
If your pet is a poodle or a Chihuahua, your home insurance company probably won’t bat an eye. However, owning a pit bull, Rottweiler, or other dangerous breeds may make it difficult—in some cases, impossible—to find home insurance coverage. Depending on your location, insurer, and other factors, home insurance exclusions may apply to the following dog breeds:
- Pit bulls
- Staffordshire Terriers
- Doberman Pinschers
- Presa Canarios
If you own a “blacklisted” breed, you may be charged more for coverage or denied a policy altogether; you can ask your insurer to exclude your dog, in which case you’ll be financially responsible for any damage it causes.
Insurers expect homeowners to care for their homes and repair minor problems. This includes sealing cracks, minimizing water damage, fixing damaged pipes, scheduling regular inspections, and more.
For example, if a storm causes your tree to fall onto your home, you’re probably covered. However, if your tree collapses onto your home because of a termite infection that went unchecked, you may be responsible for the resulting damage.
5. Sewage Backup
Infamous home insurance exclusions include sewer damage. For instance, if a toilet overflows and you have to hire a professional crew to mop up the mess, you’ll probably be left footing the bill. Sewage backup usually isn’t covered by home insurance unless you’ve purchased a separate rider.
6. Luxury Items
If you keep precious items in your home, you probably need to purchase additional theft liability coverage. According to the Insurance Information Institute, most standard home insurance policies only cover up to $1,500 for damage or theft. Items that may require additional coverage include:
- High-end electronics
Contact your home insurance agent if you have items that require additional coverage.
7. Power Outages
The most common and expensive damage occurs when power is restored, and a surge of electricity floods the home’s circuits. These electricity blasts can cause computers to lose information, electronic devices to overheat, and large appliances to malfunction. In addition to using surge protectors, home insurance companies expect homeowners to unplug all sensitive electronic appliances and leave them unplugged until power is restored.
8. Intentional Damage by a Resident
Intentional damage caused by a resident of the home is not covered by home insurance. For instance, if your teenage daughter purposely sets fire to your home after a heated argument, you’re on your own to cover the losses.
9. War, Terrorism, Nuclear Attacks
If your home is destroyed in a riot, you’re probably covered for the damages. But if a foreign army, terrorist attack, or nuclear meltdown damages or destroys your home, your home insurance policy won’t cover you.
Insurance companies consider trampolines to be an extreme risk to personal safety—and a lawsuit waiting to happen if a neighbor is injured while jumping on your trampoline. That’s why many home insurance companies refuse to extend coverage to trampolines, and your current insurer may threaten to cancel your policy if you purchase one.