The basic structure of a homeowners policy looks like this:
- Coverage A: Dwelling - protects the structure of your home and other structures
attached to it. The basic homeowners insurance policy pays you in case of any damage
due to fire, and severe storms. Tornados and hurricanes may be covered.
- Coverage B: Other Structures - provides protection for structures or dwellings
on your property but not attached to your residence (unattached garage, storage,
shed, fencing, boundary etc.)
- Coverage C: Unscheduled Personal Property - covers damage to your personal effects
owned or used by you inside or outside the home.
- Coverage D: Loss of Use - reimburses you for expenses you may incur if your home
becomes uninhabitable due to a loss covered by the insurance policy.
- Coverage E: Personal Liability - provides coverage if another person brings a
claim or lawsuit against you for bodily injury and/or property damage resulting
from negligence on your property.
- Coverage F: Medical Payments - provides coverage for medical payments if a third
party is injured by or on your personal property. Very important in the overview
is what is NOT covered or what is often limited by contract. Mold and some related
water damage. This is very often specifically limited. Mold damage can be very expensive
to repair since it can grow undetected for quite a while before you know you have
a problem. Read your policy carefully, especially if you live here in California
as well as Texas, Florida, Nevada and Arizona to name just a few problem states.
War, nuclear accidents and terrorism. A local riot would likely be covered but being
attacked by terrorist or armies would not. Similarly, if your home is irradiated
by a nearby power plant you're not covered. Natural disasters If your home burns
down in a wildfire and you live in a remote cabin or your home is rattled apart
by an earthquake, inundated by a flood you may not be covered. Similarly, if you're
the victim of a landslide, however, you're pretty much on your own. That kind of
earth movement usually isn't covered, so it pays to get a geologist's report before
buying any home near a cliff or on a hill. Both earthquake and flood insurance are
available as stand alone coverage. Neglect If a tree topples over in a windstorm
and crushes your house, you're covered. If your home collapses because of a termite
infestation, you're probably not. Dogs High risk pets like a Pit Bull, Rottweiler
or wolf hybrid may result in your insurance getting very expensive -- if you can
persuade your insurer to cover you at all. Intentional damage Intentional damage
by an insured person -- or by the person's spouse, children or relatives living
in the house -- typically isn't covered. Estranged spouses often come into a gray
area. Although they may not live in the home, they may be listed on the policy or
the property deed and be considered to have an insurable interest in the home. Computer
equipment Most computer equipment is covered but only to a specific limit. If you
have a computer for you, your spouse and each of the three kids you should check
you policy and consider adding additional coverage above the standard limits. Luxury
items and collectibles (coins, guns, artwork, jewelry etc) Just like computer equipment,
most of these items have specific limitation. You can add a rider called Scheduled
Personal Property for additional coverage.
(RentMyGarage recommends the lessor and renter check with their respective insurance
companies for coverage details.)