What types of disasters are covered by my homeowners insurance?

What types of disasters are covered by my homeowners insurance?

Standard homeowners policies generally cover a wide range of potential disasters, from tornadoes and windstorms, to fire and lightning strikes, to winter storm damage caused by weight of ice and snow. Most homeowners policies cover all the disasters listed below. Some policies provide coverage only for the first 10 listed. It is important to check check your insurance policy for the specific perils covered.

WHAT TYPE OF DISASTERS ARE COVERED?

  Dwelling & personal property Dwelling Personal property  Dwelling & personal property
Perils Basic
HO-1*+
Broad
HO-2*
Special
HO-3*
Special
HO-3
Renters
HO-4
Condo/
Co-op HO-6
Modified
Coverage HO-8
1. Fire or lightning x x x x x x x
2. Windstorm or hail x x x x x x x
3. Explosion x x x x x x x
4. Riot or civil commotion x x x x x x x
5. Damage caused by aircraft x x x x x x x
6. Damage caused by vehicles x x x x x x x
7. Smoke x x x x x x x
8. Vandalism or malicious mischief x x x x x x x
9. Theft x x x x x x x
10. Volcanic eruption x x x x x x x
11. Falling object   x x x x x  
12. Weight of ice, snow or sleet   x x x x x  
13.  Accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam from within a plumbing, heating, air conditioning, or automatic fire-protective sprinkler system, or from a household appliance.   x x x x x  
14. Sudden and accidental tearing apart, cracking, burning, or bulging of a steam or hot water heating system, an air conditioning or automatic fire-protective system.   x x x x x  
15. Freezing of a plumbing, heating, air conditioning or automatic, fire-protective sprinkler system, or of a household appliance.   x x x x x  
16. Sudden and accidental damage from artificially generated electrical current (does not include loss  to a tube, transistor or similar electronic component)   x x x x x  
17. All perils except flood, earthquake, war, nuclear accident, landslide, mudslide, sinkhole and others specified in your policy. Check your policy for a complete list of perils excluded.     x        

* HO-1, HO-2 and HO-3 refer to standard Homeowners Policies.       
       
+HO-1 has been discontinued in most states.

Disasters That Are Not Covered

1. Floods

Flood damage is excluded under standard homeowners and renters insurance policies. Flood coverage, however, is available in the form of a separate policy both from the National Flood Insurance Program - NFIP ( 888-379-9531) and from a few private insurers.

You can get replacement cost coverage for the structure of your home, but only actual cash value coverage is available for your possessions. There may also be limits on coverage for furniture and other possessions stored in your basement.

Flood insurance is available for renters as well as homeowners. You will need flood insurance if you live in a designated flood zone. But also consider buying it if your house could be flooded by melting snow, an overflowing creek or water running down a steep hill. Don’t wait until the evening news announces a flood season warning to buy a policy. There is a 30-day waiting period before federal flood coverage takes effect.

2. Earthquakes

Earthquake coverage can be a separate policy or an endorsement to your homeowners or renters policy. It available from most insurance companies. In California, it is also available from the California Earthquake Authority. In earthquake prone states like California, the policy comes with a high deductible.

3. Maintenance damage

It is your responsibility to take reasonable precautions to protect your home from damage. Your insurance policy will not cover damage due to lack of maintenance, mold, termite infestation and infestation from other pests.

4. SEWER BACK-UP

Sewer backups or the inability of sump pumps to handle runoff water from major downpours are not covered under a typical homeowners insurance policy, nor are they covered by flood insurance. Those types of coverage must be purchased either as a separate product or as an endorsement to a homeowners policy.”
 
Sewer backup coverage is available from most insurers for a nominal cost—usually an additional annual premium of $40-$50.
 
Many homeowners may not realize that they are responsible for the maintenance and repair of their house or sewer lateral—the pipeline between the city sanitary sewer main, usually located in the street—and the building. The sewer lateral is owned and maintained by the property owner including any part that extends into the street or public right of way.