1. Mold and water damage
A spike in mold-related claims at the turn of the century led most insurers to strike the coverage entirely from their homeowner’s policies.

Since 2000, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of mold-related claims submitted to insurance companies. The peak came around 2002 when Ed McMahon filed a $20 million lawsuit against his insurance company for mold-related damages. After that, many insurance companies stopped providing coverage or limited it to a minimal amount.

2. Sewer backup
The only thing worse than having a bathroom or basement overflowing with sewage is that you may have to pay the entire bill yourself.

Sewage backups are a standard exclusion on many homeowners insurance policies. Without purchasing the additional rider (usually less than $100), there is a perfect chance you will have to pay for the cleanup yourself.
We will often see homeowners try to get their cities to pay for the damages, but without being able to prove negligence, it is a tricky thing to do.

3. Natural disasters
Depending on where you live, your insurance policy may exclude coverage for certain natural disasters, including wildfires, earthquakes, wind, and floods.

If you live in an area likely to be involved in a natural disaster, your insurance company may be reluctant to provide coverage for the incident. For example, almost every homeowner’s insurance policy excludes any coverage for earthquakes, floods, or landslides. That coverage must be purchased through a specialty insurance company or the government.

Also, if your home is located in a very remote area far away from any fire station or you live in a coastal area, then your insurance policy may not provide damage from fire or wind.

4. Neglect
Home damage over a long period, like a  slow water leak or a termite infestation, may leave you with a massive headache and an enormous repair bill.

Homeowners insurance policies are written to cover “sudden and unexpected losses” that happen to your home. Insurance companies expect you to care for your home and deal with maintenance issues. This means problems like slow water leaks or infestations are usually excluded from your insurance policy because they develop over a long period and should have been detected by the homeowner.

Bruce Johnson, author of “50 Simple Ways to Save Your House,” recommends conducting regular home inspections to detect potential problems. Tour the exterior of your home to look for cracks, decay, or water damage. Check the roof’s condition and inspect the basement or crawl space for other hidden problems, including rodent droppings, termites, or leaks.

5. Trampolines
Some hazards, like a swimming pool or swing set, may cause an increase in your premiums, while other hazards, like trampolines, maybe outright excluded from your policy.

According to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System, there are approximately 98,000 trampoline-related injuries every year, with fractures and dislocations accounting for 48% of those injuries.
With that in mind, many insurance companies now exclude trampolines-related injuries. Some insurance companies will cancel your insurance policy if they find out you have purchased one.

So, if you have purchased a trampoline, be sure to speak with our office to find out how it will affect your liability coverage and insurance policy.

6. Dogs
Dog bites account for over one-third of all homeowners insurance claims, with average damages totaling over $10,000.

With total damages exceeding $310 million a year, it is easy to see why insurance companies are very keen to insure residences with dogs. Whether or not your insurance company will surcharge for owning a dog or provide coverage depends upon the breed of dog you own.

Troublesome breeds like pit bulls, German shepherds, Rottweilers, and huskies may make finding an insurance policy that will provide liability coverage very difficult. Providing proof of dog training and a proper fenced-in enclosure will help prove to insurance companies you are taking the necessary steps to protect yourself and others, and they may be willing to discount your premiums for doing so.

7. Intentional damage
If your rebellious teenager or estranged spouse intentionally damages your home, there is a good chance you will be paying for the damages yourself.

Intentional damages caused by an insured person – you, your spouse, dependents, or any relatives living in the home – aren’t typically covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy. Estranged spouses are a very gray area for insurance companies. While they may not live at the residence, they may still be listed on the deed or have an insurable interest in the home, giving insurance companies a right to deny any claim from their destruction.

If you have any questions on the claims scenarios above and want to determine how your insurance policy will respond, please don’t hesitate to contact our office.