The attitude towards this question depends a lot on when you are asking. If you are flippantly asking in the discovery period BEFORE buying a home, the answer will enlighten you but not probably not dissuade you from buying the property. But if you are asking AFTER a claim has been denied, the answer won't feel so frivolous and you are probably looking for something to smash.
I don’t want to be smashed so here are some things to be aware of that are typically NOT covered by a standard homeowners, condo, or commercial property policy. It is possible your policy DOES include some of these but not everyone needs or wants these so they are commonly exluded. Luckily these coverages are often available under separate stand-alone policies or possibly even business insurance policies.
Certain types of water damage are usually covered under a standard homeowners policy but Flood is not. The insurance definition of Flood includes rising water and overflow of a body of water. The source is outside of the home, usually from weather related events, as opposed to something like a pipe bursting or hot water heater leak, which originates inside the building. Read our recent article about flood insurance for more on this.
This is more of a problem in Florida than in other places and could easily result in a total loss. This coverage can sometimes be added by request to the homeowners policy but lookout for the words "catastrophic ground collapse" on the list of exclusions. Home insurance policies also exclude "land" , aka the dirt that could become missing in a sinkhole.
Also look for the words "earth movement" when reading the exclusions. This one is very common and quite expensive to add back on, as a result most Floridians don't worry too much about this. Now tidal waves, those get people's attention.
Also called "fungus" or growth, limited amounts of coverage are often available for this upon request. It's a common issue in our damp climate so we try to include it as often as we can when quoting home and condo insurance.
5. Property of tenants
If you rent out your house or condo be sure to include the replacement cost of your furniture. If the tenants are going to bring in some of their own stuff, your policy is not meant to cover it. Renters policies are affordable and quick, something every landlord should require
6. Home Office
Data and data storage devices used in business are excluded, including paper records. The homeowners policy assumes the business insurance policy is responsible for that. If you own the business as well, be sure your business policy has this coverage (sometimes called a "floater" or Inland Marine policy).
This refers to two things, the value of the animal and also the liability arising from it. For example, if you lose Fluffy in a house fire the homeowners policy may replace Fluffy's fancy dog bed but won't pay to replace her with Fluffy II (not that anyone could ever replace Fluffy, Fluffy was perfect). Liability can depend on the breed of animal, like pit-bull or mountain lion; if it were to hurt someone it's possible the claim wouldn’t be covered.
Some of these are cheap and easily added to a quote but we all know once you buy the house and get the policy, you may not think about it again for years. We try to include the best reasonably priced options when quoting home, condo, and commercial property insurance but plenty of agents focus more on the overall price of the policy rather than the overall value
If it's been a while since you reviewed your insurance give us a call and we'd be happy to use our experience to help clarify things and work with you to remove some of these pesky exclusions! You don't have to know everything about your insurance policy, let us answer your questions. Quotes and conversations are always free!