Standard homeowners policies cover damage or destruction of your home and its contents. They also offer personal liability coverage to protect you financially if someone is injured or their possessions are damaged or destroyed while on your property.
While homeowners insurance is very broad protection, it doesn’t cover everything. Let’s look at some losses that are usually excluded from coverage.
Exclusions you may have in your policy
An exclusion is a specific type of loss that is not covered by an insurance policy. You will not be reimbursed for any excluded losses. You will have to pay for the loss out of your own pocket, and these expenses will not count against your deductible.
Sometimes you can insure things that are excluded from your homeowners policy under another type of insurance. Your Bravera Insurance Advisor or Account Manager can help you identify those options.
A homeowners policy typically covers damage caused by explosions, fires, lightning, hail, tornadoes, extreme cold and theft. However, certain disasters and incidents are frequently excluded. The most common of these are listed below.
Floods — All “flooding” is not the same. Water damage caused by burst pipes inside your home is typically covered by homeowners insurance, but water that rises from the ground is not. This includes water that enters your home from swollen creeks, rivers and other bodies of water, as well as drain and sewer backups.
For water damage arising from noncovered events, you would need separate coverage. Sewer, drain and sump pump coverage could be included in optional endorsements that can be added very affordably to your homeowners insurance.
For floodwaters, special policies written through the National Flood Insurance Program (administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency) can protect against losses due to flooding. These policies are separate from your homeowners policy, however, Bravera Insurance does provide these types of policies. If you have any questions or are interested in adding a Flood policy to your insurance portfolio, please give us a call to discuss your needs and options. As Flood policies have a 30 day wait period before they are effective, it is better to reach out as soon as possible if you would like any additional information.
Ground movement — You will need to purchase a special policy to cover losses caused by landslides, mudflows or sinkholes. These are almost always listed as exclusions on homeowners policies.
Windstorms and hail — Losses caused by these events are extremely common in the Midwest and can often have a different deductible from losses caused by other covered perils. If you live in an area prone to these types of disasters, it is important to talk to your Bravera Insurance Advisor or Account Manager to be sure you understand what is covered and verify you have enough coverage in place.
Mold — Mold damage is usually not covered by homeowners insurance. For coverage to apply, policies usually require the onset of mold to be sudden, accidental or caused by an incident already covered by another policy, such as flood or burst pipe insurance.
If you have a water damage event, you are expected to take immediate action to prevent mold growth. This includes using fans, sopping up standing water and taking other measures.
Wear and tear — You are expected to perform regular maintenance on your home. An insurance claim will be denied if the loss or liability is due to general wear and tear, or you have failed to perform basic repairs. For example, ceiling damage caused by a 20-year-old roof that leaks will not be covered, nor will water damage caused by a leaking pipe you failed to replace.
Infestations — It is also your responsibility to prevent or address any damage caused by infestations such as bedbugs, termites or mice. The only possible exception would be if an infestation led to additional property damage covered by the main policy. For example, if an electrical fire were sparked by wires that were chewed through, that might be covered.
"Acts of God" — Insurance companies often exclude events they define as an “act of God”. This term is used to describe unforeseeable, unpreventable events. Ask your Bravera Insurance Advisor or Account Manager to clarify what is included under this term to represent exclusions in your policy. Typical examples include losses that result from pandemics, wars, nuclear exposures, acts of terrorism or government actions.
Specific dog breeds — It is not uncommon for insurance companies to completely deny liability coverage for injury or damage caused by specific breeds of dogs based on their aggressive nature. These breeds will be listed by name in the exclusion clause. Other insurance companies may allow coverage for a higher premium or require approval based on proof of the dog’s positive behavior history or completed training.
Vacant or unoccupied homes — Whether your home is completely vacant, or you are simply not residing in it for an extended period of time, a loss that happens during one of these periods could be excluded. This is because the initial policy is written assuming someone will be living in the home, which can reduce risks overall or lead to quicker identification of an issue that could trigger a loss.
If you plan to be away from home for more than a month, check with your Bravera Insurance Advisor or Account Manager to see if you should purchase vacant or unoccupied home coverage.
High-risk activities — Liability coverage included with typical homeowners policies is intended to cover typical risks, such as trips and falls, that happen on your property. Losses that result from more dangerous activities may be excluded. Your Bravera Insurance Advisor or Account Manager can explain these specific exclusions, such as injuries that happen on trampolines or risks associated with pools or ponds.
Intentional or criminal acts — Any property damage you intentionally cause will be excluded, and you could be charged with insurance fraud if you attempt to file a related claim. Liability coverage will also be excluded if the incident is due to dishonest, intentionally harmful or illegal behavior on your part.
While your homeowners insurance offers a substantial financial cushion should you have a costly loss, it is wise to check all the exclusions. You may need to purchase additional protection for events that fall outside the standard coverage. Reach out to your Bravera Insurance Advisor or Account Manager to discuss how you can protect yourself from unexpected losses.