15 Crazy Events You Didn’t Know Your Home Insurance Covered
If you own a home, you probably purchased home insurance. However, you probably did not read the policy particularly carefully. “Most people think when they call an insurance agent and ask for homeowners insurance that all policies are the same,” explained Michelle O’Connor, owner of O’Connor Insurance Associates Inc. “They are not. Regardless of what state you are in, there are different policies.”
That said, some things do remain consistent, across the board. Check out these surprising things your home insurance does cover, plus two it does not.
1. Some natural disasters
Your home insurance will cover natural disasters like a volcano eruption, but not all of them. “Flood insurance is a separate type of coverage that has to be purchased separately,” explained O’Connor. The National Flood Insurance Program does cover those disasters, and your insurance agent can likely sell you the policy.
Next: This issue that occurs during disasters does get coverage, however.
2. Spoiled food
Don’t cry over spilled milk! Your insurance company will cover up to about $500 of food that spoils as a result of a power outage. That comes standard with your policy, but you can also purchase additional disaster coverage, if you want.
Next: The following issue sounds gross, but at least it gets covered.
3. Falling detritus
Did you ever wonder where the waste goes when you flush an airplane toilet? The bad news? The “blue ice” or frozen toilet waste sometimes falls from airplanes and could damage houses. The good news? Your insurance policy covers that, too.
Next: Your final “home” also receives coverage.
4. Damaged headstones
When you go to your final resting place, your home insurance covers that too. If headstones get damaged by vandals tipping them over, the primary caretaker’s policy will pay to replace or repair them. Natural shifting and wear and tear do not fall under the same parameters, however.
Next: If your house becomes the site of a horror flick, you might want this information.
5. Murder site cleanup
If a murder, suicide, or a death happens in your home, many insurance policies will pay for cleanup. In general, the amount of cleaning your policy covers might surprise you. Before you shell out for these types of expenses, give your agent a call.
Next: Alanis Morissette would enjoy hearing about the following.
6. Rain on your wedding day
Rain on your wedding day might not technically qualify as ironic, but it does qualify for insurance coverage. Your home insurance also covers you if you hold an event in your home or yard that gets affected by a natural disaster. Say a big storm rains out your wedding — your policy will cover some relocation costs.
Next: Hopefully, you will never have to use this part of your policy.
7. Some legal bills
O.J. Simpson’s home insurance covered his $2 million legal bill for his civil trial in the case of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman’s deaths. Bill Clinton also used his coverage as part of the Paula Jones’ sexual harassment suit. That type of umbrella coverage usually takes care of defamation and wrongful death cases, so if you get involved in those, use it.
Next: If you encounter this type of obstacle, insurance can kick in.
8. Wild animal stampedes
Damage caused by wild animals typically also falls under home insurance. While most of us will never put an animal inside, they can gain access as part of some natural disasters. If it happens to you, you can use your policy to cover broken items.
Next: If you must change something about your home, you might use insurance for it.
9. Mandatory upgrades
If you must bring your property up to code due to ordinance law, your home insurance will pay for it. “If a house burned down and a new law requires homes to have sprinklers as in the state of Pennsylvania, upon rebuilding, the sprinklers would have to be installed,” explained O’Connor. “This coverage provides the money to do that.”
Next: If your furry friend misbehaves, the following rule might help you out.
10. Dog bites
Michael Barry of the Insurance Information Institute explained most states provide a basic home insurance policy that provides dog-bite protection. Those payments can really add up, too. An Insurance Information Institute study found the average cost of dog-bite claims came in at $26,166 in 2010, up from $24,840 in 2009.
Next: Your home insurance can also kick in outside of it.
11. Personal injury
Even though you may have an accident far away from home, your home insurance policy can cover it. And the scope of that coverage ranges widely. “For example, we collected against a woman’s homeowners policy when she drove her bicycle into our client and seriously injured her,” said personal injury attorney Thomas J. Simeone. “Also, we made a homeowners claim against a man who was on a business trip and picked up and accidentally dropped a co-worker, causing her to break a bone.”
Next: If you must stay at a hotel following a natural disaster, save your receipts.
12. Hotels and restaurants (in some cases)
Damage and undue hardship as a result of some natural disasters can fall under your home insurance, as well. For example, if your home becomes uninhabitable after a storm, the insurer will pay for hotel and restaurant bills. It will also cover things like burst pipes and roof damage.
Next: Your kids may not live at home anymore, but that does not mean they go uninsured.
13. College students’ property
If your child goes away to college, their stuff remains protected under your home insurance policy, even if they live in a dorm. They must list your house as their primary address for that to take effect, however. Once they get a permanent address of their own, their coverage ends.
Next: The following issue does not receive home insurance coverage, unfortunately.
14. Not your climate control
If your heater or air conditioning unit breaks down because of old age, we have bad news for you. Your home insurance policies do not provide any coverage, in that case. However, if they break because of certain natural disasters or stressors, you might get some money back. Always check before making any repairs.
Next: Some natural disasters receive coverage, but others do not.
15. And not nuclear attacks either
Homeowners insurance does not cover damage related to nuclear, biological, chemical, or radiological attacks, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Acts of war can also fall into a gray area, so you will want to call your provider. Whatever happens to your home or property, always check with your agent before paying out. You could save big bucks.
Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!