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Your current home insurance policy might not cover everything

November 25, 2014

Most homeowners, especially new homeowners, purchase home insurance policies they feel covers their needs and then don't think more about their coverage unless something goes wrong. But what happens if something goes wrong you didn't plan on, or you aren't covered for? To many homeowners' surprise, not everything is covered by a standard home insurance policy.

The following items are commonly assumed to be included in policies but rarely are. Check the list below, and take a look at your policy as well. You don't want to be caught off guard when you need the coverage.

  • Mold: Mold can be a huge problem for your home and health, as it continues to grow once it finds its way into your home. If it is inside your walls or above your ceiling, it could be causing damage and you wouldn't even realize it. Be mindful of mold. Different insurance carriers handle mold in various ways. While some have limits on the damage the policy will cover, others might not cover it at all. Do your homework and inspect home for mold, but also check your policy and see if it's worth getting additional quotes that will protect you and your home against mold.
  • Is your home covered for disasters?
  • Flooding: More people are surprised about the fact that their policies don't cover flooding than any other type of disaster. In fact, homeowners typically have to purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program. Depending on where you live, you may not think flood insurance is necessary, but looking into costs is never a bad idea. This is especially true as winter is settling in, bringing all that snow with it. If your roofing or foundation aren't up to standard and the snow melts into your roof or basement, you might wish you had some assistance on your side.
  • Earthquakes: Again, depending on your location, this may be a concern of yours. If you live in a high-risk area, then you're probably aware that your home insurance doesn't cover earthquakes, but you might not. It is worth checking your policy to make sure you are protected for the next time the ground shakes.
  • Pests: Rats, termites and other critters can make a mess of your home. And this doesn't mean they might just find the garbage and make your home gross and smelly. They can also get in your walls or chew through your electrical wires that enter your house, or termites could put a hole in your roof. Most home insurance policies don't cover against damage caused by rodents or any other animal. In addition to checking your policy if you are concerned, call an exterminator and have pests removed at the earliest indication they are there.
  • Simultaneous events:  There are situations where events happen at the same time, and often one is the fault of another. But sometimes coincidences just happen. For instance, if you have two disasters happen and one is covered and the other is not, your carrier might lump it all into the disaster that isn't covered. While this is difficult to plan for, it is worth looking into your policy and knowing the details. You want to be covered for as much as you can.

Some of these situations might seem unrealistic, but it never hurts to understand what you are covered against. Just because flooding isn't common in your home doesn't mean it won't happen. Cover your basis, compare home insurance quotes and have a home insurance policy in place that will protect you when you really need it. After all, that is the point.