From closing, you have complete coverage of your home through your homeowner’s insurance… Or so you think. When people purchase homeowner’s insurance policies, they assume that when disaster strikes their insurance policy will cover the expenses. But every policy has limitations that the homeowner may be unaware of.
In a recent study, 19% of homeowners believed that flooding was included in their policy. Many also assumed damage from earthquakes was covered. With these common misconceptions, here are 6 other things homeowner’s insurance won’t cover.
- Mold. The United States is known to have over 1,000 species of mold. Not all of them are covered by homeowner’s insurance. Mold has been deemed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention as a health risk that can cause aggravate allergies and caused breathing difficulties. Even with this information, standard homeowner’s insurance policies either limit coverage for mold damage or outright exclude it. The misconception stems from the assumption that since insurance policies cover water damage, they must also cover mold damage. The best cure for mold is to prevent it from growing in the first place. Any area affected by water damage or a water spill should be dried entirely within a 24 to 48 hours, to mitigate any additional damages.
- Sewer backup. With an abundance of rapidly aging homes in the United States comes an abundance of aging sewer lines. Homes connected to these aging pipes and sewer lines are more likely to experience backups. Additionally, pipelines that handle storm water and raw sewage become overwhelmed during storms which can also lead to sewer backups in your home. Backups can cause damage to walls, floors, furniture, and electrical systems as well as other personal property. Check your homeowner’s insurance coverage for sewer back-up coverage and speak with your insurance agent regarding rates and availability for additional coverage.
- Sinkholes. Large pores and cracks in bedrock caused by groundwater gradually dissolving the ground beneath the surface can cause massive cavities in the earth’s surface known as sinkholes. Sinkholes are most common in Florida, Texas, Alabama, Missouri, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Tennessee. However, they occur most frequently in Florida because of the limestone rock the state is built on. Most insurance policies do not cover any “earth movement” events such as earthquakes and sinkholes. However, you can request optional sinkhole coverage and should if you live in an area prone to them.
- Termites. These small, simple creatures cause $5 billion in damage to the U.S. each year. Termites can quietly infest your home where the soil meets your foundation. Over time, termites can damage or destroy support beams and other wood features in your home. Homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover termite damage. Homeowners can avoid structural damage with early intervention and preventative measures such as hiring a licensed pest control company to spray the perimeter of your home frequently.
- Nuclear plant accidents. With over 3 million Americans living within 10 miles of an active nuclear power plant, an accident leaving your home inhabitable would not be covered by standard homeowner’s insurance. Although your homeowners’ insurance policy will not cover the consequence of the reactors accident, the 1957 Price-Anderson Act compensates families for reasonable living expenses but not mortgage or normal food bills. The Act covers claims for bodily injury, sickness, disease resulting in death, and property damage and loss.
- Acts of Terrorism. Attacks using nuclear, biological, chemical or radioactive weapons are considered an “act of war” and are uninsurable. Standard homeowner’s insurance policies will not reference ‘acts of terrorism’. Most homeowner’s insurance policies do cover damages due to explosion, fire and smoke which would be the most common forms of damage in the event the event of a terrorist attack.
If you believe you have an insurance claim that may include one of these common denied claims, or if you are trying to file a homeowner’s insurance claim and are unsure of the process, our licensed public adjusters would like to help. Advocate Claims public adjusters are educated in the practice of insurance and can answer any questions you may have about your coverage. Call 954-369-0573 to speak with a licensed public adjuster about your homeowner’s insurance claim.