Property insurance pays to replace or repair property damaged by an insured peril. It also pays to replace personal possessions lost due to fire, theft, vandalism, or other causes listed in the policy’s coverage section. Property insurance does not pay to repair your property, or to replace your personal possessions if they are damaged by what the policy calls intentional acts— acts that you did on purpose such as burning down your house or smashing your car windows and then leaving them open so that vandals can break in and trash your stuff.
When you’re out of town, it’s very easy to forget that there are valuables in your home. But if someone breaks in and steals all of your stuff, would you still be covered? For example, what if you forgot to lock up a copy of your favorite comic book collection or some rare baseball cards that were given to you as a gift from a loved one.
Snow shoveling (if you are insured on the condo level)
If you are responsible for shoveling snow from a shared walkway or entrance, you are probably not covered. This is because people have a legal obligation to shovel their own walkway. Make sure you’re clear about your obligations with condo board members if there is any confusion and make sure to have an agreement in writing. You will still be protected against damage caused by others using your property.
As far as I know, garbage disposals are not typically covered under a homeowner’s property insurance policy. This is because garbage disposals are easily susceptible to malfunctions, which often result in messy cleanups and/or broken appliances (the disposal itself). If you have a repair or replacement in store for your garbage disposal, contact your home insurance provider before proceeding with repairs. However, if you just want to purchase a new one then you can go ahead and proceed without prior approval from your insurer.
Taxes/HOA dues/Pest Control
These are all separately billed items, and your homeowner’s policy won’t cover them. If you own a condo or co-op, there are some additional rules that govern what is and isn’t covered—but for more info on those exceptions, call an insurance agent.
Property insurers have different limits and exclusions. Therefore, it is crucial to understand what you are and are not insured for. Some of those things might surprise you! Before buying any coverage, do some research on what’s excluded from your policy. Once you own a home, consider increasing that limit in case something expensive breaks down or needs to be replaced quickly. If possible, keep a small fund set aside for unexpected repairs like that.
Appliances, washer, dryer, dishwasher, refrigerator, air conditioner, furnace
Homeowners insurance will generally cover damage caused to your appliances, if they’re under a certain age and you have purchased extra protection for them. For example, if you’ve paid $100 extra to add coverage on a dishwasher that costs $600, but it is destroyed in a fire, then you will be able to make a claim against your insurer.
Fences – Decks & porches – patios – pools – spas – hot tubs
It’s important to understand that certain things like fences, decks, and patios are sometimes considered extras and won’t be covered unless they are added to a policy as an endorsement. If you want these types of structures to be covered, talk with your agent about adding them.
Plants/flowers/shrubs/trees/lawn care items
If a plant, flower, shrub, tree or lawn care item such as a mower, blower or weed eater (specifically used for residential purposes) is damaged/destroyed beyond repair during an insured loss (due to windstorm or other insured event), but you have homeowners coverage, there is a specific dollar limit that applies. If it’s greater than your deductible, then you’re good.
Stored watercraft and trailers
A homeowner’s policy won’t cover these.) Your valuables if they’re stolen or damaged Off-premises claims (if you damage something on someone else’s property, such as their car, you need to file a claim with that business. The company will turn around and raise rates on its customers.