What exactly is covered by a standard home insurance policy? For example, you may be surprised that flood coverage is not in a typical insurance policy. Don’t assume everything in your home is covered from every peril. Possessions like jewelry, art and firearms may be subject to limits and require a rider for you to have adequate coverage. You should always talk to an insurance agent to determine what riders are available and applicable to your specific coverage needs.
Home Insurance Covers More than You May Think
While not everything you may need is in a standard homeowners insurance policy, you may be surprised to find out some of the things that it addresses. Many losses you may never have contemplated have coverage. We will cover these benefits in two parts. In part one we explore five surprising things covered by standard home insurance.
Should your house be destroyed or severely damaged, but laws have changed since construction, your insurance policy may cover the additional cost required to bring the home up to code. For example, if your home was built before sprinklers were required, when you rebuild, the cost of installing sprinklers will be covered by your policy. California, Maryland, and Washington D.C. sprinkler requirements changed as of 2011 – review details here.
Pairs and Sets
Imagine this scenario: your house has matched and unique lighting fixtures throughout, and a natural disaster destroys some — but not all — of these fixtures. Obviously, you would want to maintain the matching sets. With standard coverage, if something is part of a set or a pair, the entire group of items is covered for replacement.
Since basic insurance covers the cost of major appliances, it can be extended to the food inside your refrigerator. In other words, the refrigerator and its contents are typically covered. If your refrigerator fails, or you experience an extended loss of power, you can submit a claim that includes the cost of replacing the food. Often, there is a limit on the amount of compensation you can receive, which is typically around $500. If you have multiple refrigerators or a stand-alone freezer with a significant amount of costly items, you may want to consider purchasing additional coverage beyond your standard policy.
A standard home insurance policy includes coverage for possessions (however, they may be subject to limits — talk to your insurance agent). These possessions will include jewelry, art, and other valuables. Be sure to document all valuables so you can be adequately reimbursed if those items are lost or destroyed. You may also consider notifying your insurance agent if you have a special collection or extremely valuable items, as there may be a money limit on how much your standard policy will cover. Depending on your specific circumstance, it may be worthwhile to invest in an additional policy.
Dependents Living at School
Did you know your policy likely extends to your child’s apartment or dorm at college? Parents, you should check your homeowners or renters insurance policy and speak to your agent. If your child rents an off-campus apartment or house, you may need to purchase additional insurance. However, if your child is under 26 years old, enrolled in classes and living in on-campus housing, their personal property may be covered by your current homeowners or renters insurance policy.
Be sure to check out part two of this series!
Help be more prepared for disasters by reviewing ALE Solutions’ temporary housing options.
Photo credits: ©iStock.com/aremalang, olesiabikei, JimmiLarsen