Homeowners insurance is one of the most widely utilized and important types of property and casualty insurance. After automobile insurance, homeowner’s insurance is the most commonly purchased type of property and casualty insurance purchased in the United States. Property and casualty insurance is coverage that is designed to protect you and your property. In this case, it provides protection you, your home, and personal property contained in your residence. With that said, there are common exclusions associated with homeowner’s insurance.

Floods and Flooding

Many homeowners are under the reasonably understandable belief that flood damage is covered by homeowner’s insurance. The reality is that homeowner’s insurance nearly always excludes coverage for flooding and flood damage.

Generally speaking, homeowners obtain flood insurance via the National Flood Insurance Program. Some people do obtain coverage by working directly with private insurance companies. If you’ve experienced uninsured flood loss at your home due to a weather event, FEMA may also be involved in assisting you in obtaining flood insurance for the future.

Earthquakes

More often than not, standard homeowner’s insurance policy doesn’t include coverage for earthquakes. A typical homeowner’s insurance policy similarly doesn’t provide coverage for sinkholes either.

There are two options available to a homeowner (or business owner) who is inclined to get earthquake insurance. First, a person can get a special rider attached to a homeowner’s insurance policy that covers earthquake damage. Second, an individual might procure a specific policy that provides coverage in the event of an earthquake.

Maintenance-Related Exclusions

You need to make a reasonable effort to take proper care of your home. You need to undertake proper maintenance of your residence and items in it. A commonplace exclusion of coverage occurs when an insurance company makes the determination that damage to a residence or property in it occurred because the premises did not obtain reasonably appropriate maintenance. 

If you face a situation in which you are denied coverage based on a contention that the damage resulted primarily from a failure to undertake proper maintenance, the insurance policy will set out an appeal process through which you’d have the chance to press your case a bit further within the insurance company. 

Biohazard Remediation

A homeowner’s insurance policy may or may not provide coverage for biohazard remediation. A policy may specifically exclude biohazard remediation coverage, a policy may explicitly include biohazard remediation coverage (which is not highly likely as a matter of course), or biohazard remediation costs may be excluded for another reason. For example, if biohazard remediation is necessary because of flooding due to a storm, the flood exclusion itself may prevent compensation for the costs of biohazard remediation.

If you are ever in need of biohazard remediation, you need to make certain a professional biohazard cleaning company takes insurance. You also need to confirm that a company will assist you in pursuing a claim. For example, you need to confirm that a biohazard cleaning company will provide the documentation you need to pursue a claim for compensation with your homeowner’s insurance company. 

Jewelry

Although a homeowner’s insurance policy is likely to cover jewelry, you will need to maintain an up to date itemization of particularly expensive items. In some cases, you will need to provide that inventory to your homeowner’s insurance company or to the company itself. You are also wise to video or photograph particularly expensive pieces of jewelry. You also need to pay attention to any cap or limit contained in an insurance policy as far as coverage for jewelry is concerned. If you obtain some type of new item of expensive jewelry, you need to make sure your insurer is informed of the acquisition and that your existing policy will cover that item.

Electronics

The same general guidelines presented a moment ago in regard to jewelry pertain to home electronics as well. You need to make sure that any cap on coverage for electronics isn’t below the value of items that you intend to be covered by a particular homeowner’s insurance policy.

Riders to a Homeowner’s Insurance Policy

If there is something specific you want covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy, you may be able to obtain what is known as a rider. A rider is an addendum to a basic homeowner’s insurance policy that broadens the coverage of the agreement. For example, an insurance company might consider adding a rider to cover biohazard remediation, should that ever become needed in your home. 

In the final analysis, when you are in the market for homeowner’s insurance, you need to make sure you closely read the policy. You need to be 100 percent certain you fully understand what is and is not covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy so that you don’t experience a surprise at some time in the future. If you have general questions about a homeowner’s insurance policy, or concerns about an insurance company, the California Department of Insurance may be able to assist you. 

Author

Emily Kil

Co-Owner of Eco Bear Biohazard Cleaning Company

Together with her husband, Emily Kil is co-owner of Eco Bear, a leading biohazard remediation company in Southern California. An experienced entrepreneur, Emily assisted in founding Eco Bear as a means of combining her business experience with her desire to provide assistance to people facing challenging circumstances. Emily regularly writes about her first-hand experiences providing services such as biohazard cleanup, suicide cleanup, crime scene cleanup, unattended death cleanup, infectious disease disinfection and other types of difficult remediations in homes and businesses.